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Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn #6)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  4,253 ratings  ·  146 reviews
It was a bizarre pose for beautiful model Sonia Gluck--and her last. For in the draperies of her couch lay a fatal dagger, and behind her murder lies all the intrigue and acid-etched temperament of an artist's colony. Called in to investigate, Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds his own passions unexpectedly stirred by the fiesty painter Agatha Troy--brilliant ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 15th 2005 by Black Dog Publishing (first published 1938)
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I have a love hate relationship with Ngaio Marsh. I find her writing is often a mixture of snobbery (it's not her characters – Marsh herself comes across as believing the aristocracy should have special privileges. Mixed up in a murder mystery – faugh, how common) & there is often a touch of 'cultural cringe' (believing NZ culture is inferior to other cultures, usually the UK or the States)

This particular book also tested my desire to read uncensored work!

Page 17 Miss Katti Bostock, the well
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 1998.

Like Vintage Murder, this seems to me to be one of the very best of Ngaio Marsh's detective novels. By the time this book came out, the characters in her series (Alleyn, Fox, Bathgate and so on) were well-established, old friends. In Artists in Crime, another important series character is introduced, the painter Agatha Troy.

As so often happens in Ngaio Marsh's stories, one of the series characters interacts with one of the new characters before
I was quite hopeful about Artists in Crime bringing Alleyn to life for me a bit more, since this is where he meets his love interest. In a way, the whole set-up of this relationship is reminding me a lot of Lord Peter, especially since Alleyn's mother has a title and so on. It's not exactly parallel, but close enough to annoy me a little.

Still, it does introduce a bit more of a human side to Alleyn. Bathgate's role is thankfully reduced, though the annoying creature does contrive to be present.
From my blog:

I had completely forgotten about Inspector Roderick (Rory) Alleyn until my friend Lisa reminded me. Dame Ngaio Marsh wrote over 30 books with British detective Alleyn as the superstar.

I'm not one to necessarily read a series in order (which surprises me since I like order). Years ago I read Death in a White Tie written in the late 1930's and liked Marsh's style but then forgot about her. Last year I enjoyed the book Last Ditch written in the
Inspector Alleyn is called in to investigate the murder, and finds among the suspects the artist he fell for on a recent cruise. They act tortured and repressed at each other in between scenes of Alleyn & co measuring marks on windowsills and the like. As always with Marsh, a large portion of this book is given over to seemingly endless natterings between characters about who was ~psychologically~ capable of murder. Eventually the murder is solved, but I'd lost all interest in the case by th ...more
Artists in Crime was the 6th series of Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The crime took place in a class ran by Ms. Agatha Troy, a woman who became the love interest of D.I Alleyn. It was an art class. Sophia Gluck, a model, was asked to pose with a very uncomfortable position. After Troy drawed her position with chalk, one of her students thrust a knife in where her heart supposed to be. They wanted to paint her as a murder victim. They left the class without finishing the painting. They cam ...more
This murder mystery as an audiobook was a very, very pleasant surprise. The recording runs to over 3 hours long and I could only hear it over drives, traffic jams, and the gluggy moments before falling asleep, so I did wonder whether it would be possible to keep track of the plot points and the characters over all the breaks in the middle. Probably some curious combination of the brain, the actual story itself and the excellent reading - over 4 days and a lot of exhaustion, I could nicely follow ...more
Nancy Butts
Returned to England after a year's journey to New Zealand and Quebec whilst he recovered from surgery [it must have been a big deal, but it doesn't seem to slow him down any], Alleyn is visiting his mother, Lady Alleyn, at the family manse in Buckinghamshire not twenty miles from London when he is once again called in from vacation to solve a murder. It just so happens that the murder occurs at the house of an artist named Agatha Troy whom Alleyn met on shipboard in Suva, Fiji, then shared time ...more
I listed to the audiobook version of this story, and it was a fairly good captivating mystery about a group of wanna-be authors in a fancy estate that get involved in a whodunnit type of murder. A bit like Agatha Christie, but in my opinion not necessarily as good as her stories. I was a bit surprised at the end when finding out who the killer was, I didn't see it coming the whole time, but it also wasn't the most amazing reveal either. To be honest the reason I listened to the story in the firs ...more
Another very well written murder mystery, beautifully executed -- I really enjoy Marsh's characters. This time we met Alleyn's mother and Troy who quickly established herself as the love interest -- despite a few other possibilities. Apparently being in New Zealand has done wonders for him.

The fact that the mystery dragged towards the end was the only reason this got a four -- Marsh makes the procedural approach work brilliantly, and it is really a joy to read, but the repetition did get a bit
Marsh does a wonderful job, as always, of giving motives to each of her rather quirky suspects, and parceling out the clues but in a way that they are easily missed, allowing her to lead us down the wrong path right until the twist at the end. For me though, the highlight here was the interactions between Troy and Alleyn, the tension, the misunderstandings, and Alleyn's trying to keep his feelings seperate from the case. Troy is, after all, a suspect. The blooming romance is a good edition, it d ...more
Since I've nearly exhausted Agatha Christie's oeuvre, I decided to try branching out into Ngaio Marsh's. This book was compelling and had many of the elements I most love from Christie's mysteries including a quirky cast of characters with complicated relationships and secret pasts, living in the English countryside in the era and social class of manservants and parlor maids. Like Christie's plot lines, most of the book is spent detailing the Scotland Yard interviews with duplicitous suspects an ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Amber marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Benedict Cumberbatch narrating 30+ voices? This I want to hear! The story sounds good too :-)
A very solid three stars. The flow of the narrative is quite stop and go which makes the way the plot moves on a bit chaotic in my book. Never the less, the plot is interesting, the reveal not so far from left field, the hints are there. I liked the introduction of Roderick's 'love interest' who is so far a strong character in her own right. It reminded me of Sayer's introduction of Harriet Vane. Which is by far one of my favorite introduction of a 'partner' for a lead character. Looking forward ...more
Christy Christoffersen
I really enjoyed the audio version of this book. I have to admit, I only bought it because it was read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Three hours of that voice, I didn't think about what he would even be reading. However, ashamedly admitting to that, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. There were so many twists and turns and surprises that I quickly became engrossed in the story and it didn't matter as much who read it but at the same time, it made the story come to life. Benedict is a master at creating ...more
On the plus side, the dialogue was very good, the crime and setting were interesting, and I liked Alleyn and Troy. On the minus side, a little too much police procedural: endless interviewing of witnesses, endless measuring and note-taking. Judgment reserved for now: will read another (Last Ditch, which I already have) and see how I feel.
Janis Lai
I don't usually like abridged books, just because you lose so much of the details, the little thoughts of each characters and such. But hey, Benedict Cumberbatch is narrating this one, I don't think I can resist.

The whole story is short, only around 3 hours. I was really confused about all the characters at the beginning, probably because I seldom listen to audiobooks and it does take awhile to get used to. I find myself going backwards and re-listen to certain parts a lot, just because I someti
Agatha Troy is a famous artist that hosts students at her estate. When their model ends up the victim of murder, Roderick Alleyn is assigned the case. Alleyn has just returned from a cruise around the world where he met Troy. Alleyn must keep his feelings for Troy under wraps as he investigates the crime for which she is a suspect. I enjoyed reading this golden age mystery. The mystery was a good one, the characters were interesting, and the resolution made sense without being too easily solved ...more
Katherine Rowland
Marsh seems to have hit her stride with the character of Roderick Alleyn here, though he is still a bit wooden. The love interest between Alleyn and Troy is intriguing, though frustratingly vague and aloof.

The main drawback to this book is that the characters never seem to come to life...and they are so unpleasant that the reader doesn't necessarily want them to come to life. I struggled unsuccessfully to find a sympathetic character in the novel. In addition, this novel was not deftly plotted:
It took me a bit to get into this book; it has been a while since I read an Agatha Christie book, and the comparison to her style of writing is quite accurate. It has the feel of playing the game Clue, step by step, great detail, you find "in the ballroom, with the knife, by the butler", or something like that. I have to also admit, it took me awhile to realize that many words that seemed unknown or weirde to me were actually the author's phonetic spelling of what would sound like a cockney or o ...more
Picked up as the author is one of those frequently recommended to lovers of Christie and... I didn't finish this one. I found it painfully dull. I didn't care about any of the characters and after awhile I realized that there were still several characters that I had to keep flipping back to the beginning to remember which is which - at which point I realized I might as well put the book down, because if that's how little I'm invested in the book, there's no point in wasting effort continuing. I ...more
I read this one years ago, and I just started listening to a version on tape, narrated by the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch, whose voicing of the "next" in the series (Death in a White Tie) I really enjoyed. (He acts out all the different characters in wonderfully diverse voices.)

But the first chapter of this one, where we meet Agatha Troy for the first time I am finding pretty darn annoying. She is so full of herself, and I suspect she may be full of Ngaio Marsh as well. The way she lovingly d
I read this book a year or two ago. Ngaio Marsh was an author from New Zealand who also lived in England. The book was written in the 1930s and features Inspector Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard. The story is set in the English countryside. Agatha Troy is an acclaimed artist who also teaches art classes at her home and studio. She begins a new class with an assortment of students, but on the first day out, their
nude model is killed while being re-positioned in her pose - someone placed a knife
I read this on a friend's rec after I finished reading all the Vane/Whimsey books of Sayers's because of the similarities between that couple and the couple in these books, Roderick and Agatha. Roderick Alleyn is actually a real detective from Scotland Yard in these books, and I must say that makes it a bit easier to understand why he gets to investigate the murders a little more than Lord Peter. The woman he pretty much falls in love with from sight is
Agatha Troy, an artist on the same cruise
May 22, 2010 Rose rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: classic mystery fans who like charming detective protagonists
Recommended to Rose by: my twin sister
Shelves: crime, mystery, classics
Dame Ngaio Marsh certainly crafted a rich and appealing mystery (circa 1938) within "Artists in Crime". The story finds the lead detective, Roderick Alleyn, investigating the case of a murdered nude model, Sonia Gluck. The list of suspects revolves around eight individuals within an art school, including the owner - Agatha Troy, to whom Alleyn has developed a keen relationship with. All of them have their respective dislike of Miss Gluck, but the larger question is who perpetuated the method of ...more
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better than the last one i read, but i am still rather baffled about marsh's status as one of the best golden age mystery writers. in my mind she is kind of like magnolia's cupcakes in new york. someone who has only ever had mass-produced supermarket cupcakes would probably think magnolia was the queen of all queens. but to someone who lives in new york (a haven for cupcake lovers*) and who has spent the greater part of her time there eating a wide swathe through its bakeries (= me), magnolia wo ...more
ARTISTS IN CRIME (Pol. Proc-Ins. Roderick Alleyn-England-1938) - G+
Marsh, Ngaio - 6th in series
Jove Mystery , 1980, US Paperback

First Sentence: Alleyn leant over the deck-rail, looking at the wet brown wharf and the upturned faces of the people.

*** Inspector Roderick Alleyn, while traveling aboard ship from Australia meets well-known artist Agatha Troy. Back in England and visiting his mother, he is called back to duty early to investigate the murder of an artist. It's an investigation about whi
Ngaio Marsh had a background in theater and used it often in her mysteries. But this one, set among artists, is one of her best. Maybe the addition of the romance makes it special, or maybe theater people are more like artists (and vice versa) than anyone suspects? Love Marsh's writing and these are excellent mysteries as well. Now I remember that I have to reread A Clutch of Constables, with Troy as Alleyn's wife touring the canals of East Anglia.
I've read one other of Ngaio Marsh's books. I like them, they are dated in a way, but still it's amusing to read all the cheerio and all that rot manner of speaking....I'm not sure what I would think if either of my sons referred to me as little Mum as a form of was a good mystery, and being an artist, I enjoyed the art theme of this book. Garcia was a creep and someone should have thrown some mud at Valmai, she was just way too precious.
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Jan2008 1 7 Jan 01, 2008 09:27AM  
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Dame Ngaio Marsh, born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. There is some uncertainty over her birth date as her father neglected to register her birth until 1900, but she was born in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Of all the "Great Ladies" of the English mystery's golden age, including Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh
More about Ngaio Marsh...

Other Books in the Series

Roderick Alleyn (1 - 10 of 44 books)
  • A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1)
  • Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn, #2)
  • The Nursing Home Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #3)
  • Death in Ecstasy (Roderick Alleyn, #4)
  • Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
  • Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7)
  • Overture to Death (Roderick Alleyn, #8)
  • Death at the Bar (Roderick Alleyn, #9)
  • Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
  • Death and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)
A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1) Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7) Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10) Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn, #25) Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn, #2)

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