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Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn #5)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,187 ratings  ·  80 reviews

Death served well-chilled

The leading lady of a theater company touring New Zealand was stunningly beautiful. No one-including her lover-understood why she married the company's pudgy producer. But did she rig a huge jeroboam of champagne to kill her husband during a cast party?

Did her sweetheart? Or was another villain waiting in the wings? On a holiday down under, Inspect

Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Jove (first published 1937)
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Vintage Murder is one of four Ngaio Marsh murder mysteries set in New Zealand, although there is little to show that. A Maori doctor and a couple of local policemen have walk-on parts, and there is a very nice account of a picnic trip Commander Dalgliesh takes into the countryside as part of his holiday. Other than that, the characters are all members of an English acting company touring New Zealand. The story might as well be set in Bournemouth.

The pleasure in this story is Ngaio Marsh’s descr
Mar 08, 2011 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of good writing, classic detective fiction, anglophiles
Recommended to Sara by: Me - I used to read her years ago, had forgotten how good she is!
A nicely plotted murder, with a satisfying number of red herrings and some fun theatrical characters!
The thing about Marsh is, she really could write. And she knew her theater inside out, and liked the right stuff.

For instance, this quote: "when he spoke, one forgot his age, for his voice was quite beautiful: deep, and exquisitely modulated. He was one of that company of old actors that are only found in the West End of London. They still believe in using their voices as instruments, they spea
This book involves two things particularly close to the heart of Ngaio Marsh, New Zealand and the theatre. Perhaps that is why Vintage Murder seems to have extra depth and was such a pleasure to read. The mystery itself and the plot were nothing terribly special but the setting and the characters were a joy.
As with the other books, this is a nice little mystery with a carefully set up puzzle. It relies on all sorts of coincidence and such, but at least we're seeing more of Alleyn as a person, and the omnipresent Nigel Bathgate has not contrived to get himself into Alleyn's pocket for his holiday.

From what I gather, the setting here is close to Marsh's heart in two ways: it's set in New Zealand, and in the context of a theatrical company. That gives it some good moments of description: there's one i
Nancy Ellis
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed several of the Roderick Alleyn mysteries, so I was quite disappointed with this one. It's extremely slow and dull, with totally boring characters. )Granted, Alleyn is on holiday, but that doesn't mean the book has to be boring.) I realize it was written in completely different times, and the style is not quite what we're used to in books now, but this didn't even measure up to her other books. That won't keep me, though, from continuing to read her books!
How had I missed Ngaio Marsh for so long? It must have been the silent 'g' that hinted at a dry British superiority that in fact could not be further from the truth. This is a hip, funny, clever mystery that takes place in a theater, a setting Marsh knew and brings fully to life. Vintage Murder unfolds in New Zealand. Wikipedia informed me that Marsh was born there so I was intrigued to read the only one of her mysteries set there.

Vintage Murder was written in 1937 and in many instances shows h
Nancy Butts
Book 5 in the series, and the first of four set in New Zealand. Alleyn has had some unspecified operation and is taking a long leave to convalesce. [We also learn that in 1937 he is 42 years old, which would make him the same age as Marsh herself, most likely, and put him in his 80s in the final books!] While traveling by train with a English comedy troupe on tour, Alleyn is involved in a murder by champagne! What I liked best about this book were the descriptions of New Zealand and of the Maori ...more
Shannon Teper
Vintage Murder was a satisfying who-done-it with an interesting setting (a touring theatre company goes to New Zealand), an unusual method of murder (a gigantic bottle of champagne is rigged to crash down upon the victim's head), and a variety of interesting suspects with enough plausible motives to keep one guessing. To keep up with the characters and their movements, I frequently consulted the handy character list and map of the crime scene at the front of the book, which caused a lot of page ...more
Alleyn is slightly out of place in this novel as he vacations in New Zealand, but finds himself again investigating a murder. While interesting for its setting, the story's parallels to the second Alleyn novel (Enter a Murderer) make this not quite as exciting as it could have been. (And, must Alleyn really have yet another moment of being attracted to a slightly shady female suspect? I really can't wait for Agatha Troy to show up, at the rate we're going here...)
Bev Taylor
written over 70 years ago. no, the vintage does not refer to this but a jeraboum of champagne used as a murder weapon (what a waste of bubbles!)

chief inspector alleyn is on extended leave in n.z. and whilst on a train meets a travelling theatre group and they invite him to the theatre for a showing. here, a surprise birthday party for the owner's wife ends in his own death when a stage prop mal functions

to be honest i found this too old school for me - probably been spoilt by the present day t
Enjoyable outing with Alleyn in this fifth entry in the series.

Alleyn is in New Zealand, where he is on holiday recuperating from surgery (injured on the job?? I'll have to go back and look at #4!). On the boat from England, and then on the train in N.Z., he travelled along side a group of actors, including Miss Susan Max. The manager of the group is murdered after a performance one evening while Alleyn is there (amongst others) to celebrate the birthday of the leading lady (who is also the man
1937, #5 Roderick Alleyn, CID, on holiday in New Zealand; cosy police procedural, theatrical, classic. Good book, poor narration.

A nice little man dies a horrible death as he attempts a surprise gift for his beloved wife, lead actress in his touring company of Artistes. Death in the theater, as only Dame Ngaio can do it, plus some lovely comments on life in NZ. Her obvious affection for NZ, and her simultaneous enjoyment of artistic types and annoyance with them, all shine through, in this tight
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 1998.

This is one of Ngaio Marsh's best crime novels, and was the fifth to feature Roderick Alleyn as the detective. He is travelling in New Zealand on holiday, and meets up with a touring theatre company from England. At a birthday party in honour of the leading lady, her husband is killed when a surprise he had planned goes horribly wrong: a jeroboam of champagne which should have lowered from above the stage to land in a nest of ferns in front of h
A solid, early Inspector Alleyn mystery. The inspector is on holiday in New Zealand, and finds himself traveling by train with an English theater troupe, and decamps for a few days in the town in which they are to give their first antipodal performances. When one of the two owners of the company is killed, the inspector, despite his desire to stay out of it, finds himself helping the local police solve the murder.

Great stuff. Alleyn is as always the consumate gentleman detective, and I so like h
2.5 stars

Vintage Murder was told in third person although it focused heavily on Roderick Alleyn, who was on holiday after a major operation. The setting was New Zealand but the majority of the casts were English except for the detectives investigating the case and Doctor Te Pokiha. The scenery description was good and you could feel the authenticity. Also, the slang and phraseology used by the people of New Zealand were frequently shown here. After all, the author was a native New Zealander. It
Kiera Healy
This is the best Marsh that I've read so far, although it's still not without problems. In this one, Inspector Alleyn is on holiday (so thankfully rid of the annoying Nigel Bathgate) in Marsh's native New Zealand. There are a lot of nice touches that stem from Marsh's love of her country: the dialogue is peppered with "good-oh" and "dinkum", there's a sly comment or two about how New Zealanders hate being mistaken for Aussies, and there's quite a bit about Maori culture, which I appreciated. Tha ...more
Classic smooth clue driven mystery. The engaging and all too human Inspector Alleyn falls in with a perhaps too stereotypically eccentric and divided troupe of actors. One gets the impression from these novels that casual murder carried out with insidious cunning was an ever present danger of life in England and her colonies between the wars, and only the lucky coincidence of a visiting inspector of New Scotland Yard prevented evil from getting away. In this case, Alleyn caught the baddie and Ma ...more
I'm not sure whether this is excitement at the discovery of a mystery that has all the elements I enjoy in a Golden Age whodunnit, or gratitude to Marsh for writing about New Zealand in a way, that if self-conscious, is understandably so, and reminds me of an era I never knew, but is engrained in me as much as any part of New Zealand is -- which sounds affected and makes no sense, but there you are. There's just something about reading Ngaio Marsh talk about New Zealand that makes me nostalgic f ...more
This was above average Marsh. Inspector Alleyn is on vacation, following a sick leave from Scotland Yard, it's hinted that he had a surgery of some sort. New Zealand is the place, Marsh knows it pretty well since it's her country where a Theater Company on tour finds itself with a huge problem. The Company's manager dies after getting bashed on the head with a vintage champagne bottle. Alleyn tries to play it safe and not interfere with the local investigation but once a detective always a detec ...more
P.d.r. Lindsay
I love the old school, the original writers of whodunits. Ngaio Marsh is an excellent wordsmith, creates tricky whodunit plots and Roderick (Rory) Alleyn is a delightful character.

'Vintage murder' is one of her early novels and is a charming read. Sex is very properly not mentioned, gentlemen tip their hats to ladies, and cads and bounders abound. It's a stylish novel of its time yet enjoyable today.

On holiday in New Zealand Rory meets up with a theatre group from the UK doing a tour of New Zea
Number 5 in the Alleyn series, and it's pre-Troy. Alleyn takes a long holiday to New Zealand, falls in with a touring acting company and gets pulled into investigating the murder of one of the Company's owners.

The book sets up characters that are repeated in later books (e.g. the Noble Aboriginal Doctor). As usual the investigations take part over the following 48 hours after the death of the main character and there is a lot of interviewing of the secondary characters, including the dead man's
Katie Hilton
Vintage Alleyn, visiting New Zealand, witnesses a murder after a theater performance. Marsh is at her best, dealing with some of her favorite themes. This book precedes "Artists in Crime," in which Alleyn meets and falls in love with his future wife, as he is leaving New Zealand to return to England. A good read.
Another offering from Ngaio Marsh with her leading character, Chief Detective Roderick Alleyn. Set in New Zealand in an indeterminate time, a murder committed with a jeroboam of champagne is the case to be solved among a company of English actors touring New Zealand.
Elizabeth Manwell
Not the best of Marsh's novels, some of which are exquisite. But Alleyn never disappoints, and Marsh's insider's knowledge of the theatre make this a pleasure for those interested in looking behind the scenes, while enjoying a good yarn.
#5 in the New Scotland Yard Inspector Roderick Alleyn mystery series. Alleyn is traveling in New Zealand starting a vacation and becomes involved in murder in a traveling actors performing company similar to his earlier ENTER A MURDERER case in London. Alleyn finds himself working with the local New Zealand police to help solve the murder as well as discovering the Maori culture and New Zealand's scenery.

It is a good mystery which stretched out the investigative process of talking to all the peo
Mary Lauer
We get to learn more of Alleyn. Can't wait for Troy's introduction in #6! also, love the New Zealand stuff.
Kate  K. F.
This is an early Alleyn mystery which is clear in the style of writing and some of the interactions. One thing that makes it stand out for me is how this book shows a lot of Marsh's love for New Zealand and the theatrical world through Alleyn's eyes. Marsh spent most of her life working in the theater in New Zealand and in this short mystery captures the feeling of a small troupe and the beauty of New Zealand. I wouldn't use this book to begin reading Marsh's works but it is a pleasure to read h ...more
Wonderful style, interesting characters and an engrossing murder, set in New Zealand!
Another of my sick bed reads. I enjoy these mysteries.
Content - A classic whodunit complete with an enormous cast of characters, gobs of suspects, iron clad alibis and some nice red herrings.

Mechanics - the dialogue is improving.

Squeaky Clean? - Swearing. LOTS of swearing.
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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)
  • Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6)
  • 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) Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6) Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn, #25)

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