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 i...moreNumber 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 wife, the man who was in love with her, the drunken ex-actor/door manager etc.
Marsh split her time between England and New Zealand, and her love of the latter country is evident, especially at the end - the New Zealand tourist board should dig out these books again and make sure they're prize of place!(less)
Originally published in 1945, this (at the time) could be considered a very relevant and "modern" book.
In New Zealand, investigating potential anti-wa...moreOriginally published in 1945, this (at the time) could be considered a very relevant and "modern" book.
In New Zealand, investigating potential anti-war sympathies and trade secrets, Alleyn is called onto a sheep farm. The owner's wife died in suspicious circumstances 18 months before (she ended up in a wool bale) and some of the people on site remain designing items for the war effort.Some of those designs had also been leaked.
Lots of twists and turns, some suspects spotted earlier than others. Lots of talking in the first half, but that's one of the ways to get the info to the reader and a lot less dry than other routes.
Brought off Audible and not read by James Saxon (for once). However the female reader was suitable enough (less)
I will admit that I started listening to this on the way to the airport for my holiday, nodded off, half listed to it, and have then spent the next mo...moreI will admit that I started listening to this on the way to the airport for my holiday, nodded off, half listed to it, and have then spent the next month or so getting round to completing listening to it.
That perhaps gives a poor reflection on the book (it should give more of a reflection on that fact I can fall asleep on a 3 hour coach journey to Gatwick). The story is spooky and mysterious and the narrator (Paul Ansdell) ably contributes to the ambiance and is written in the fine tradition of gothic horror novels.
Mrs Alice Drablow lived and died at Eel Marsh house, and Arthur Kipps is sent to the house to represent his firm at her funeral, and afterwards clear up her papers. At the funeral, he spots a woman dressed in black, with a wasted face behind her veil, and soon becomes aware of a malaise that inhabits the house. Searching through the papers, he pieces together a sad story, and he begins hearing and seeing things, and it soon pushes him to the edge of sanity. The Woman in Black has a reputation and it comes to haunt Kripps when he least expects it(less)
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly worl...moreIt is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It started off ok-ish, with someone who clearly knows her Pride and Prejudice and tries to set this off as a sequel. It's not long however before there are differences. Colonel Fitzwilliam has changed character - something that James clearly has twigged and tries to explain away with the death of older brothers and forcing Fitzwilliam into the inheriting his father's title and responsibilities.
Darcy becomes the primary character of the book, and many of the sillier characters of the original - Mrs Bennet and Mr Collins - are resigned to virtual non existence. I dont know if this is because James could not find a way of introducing them into the story or if she was not up to writing so stupid a set of characters. Likewise Lydia - despite being married to one of the main characters in the book - hardly says a word and is rapidly dispatched away from Pemberley as quickly as the story allows.
The story quickly becomes a standard P. D. James "whodunnit" and could have been fitted into almost any set of character names. It didnt need to be a "P&P sequel" at all.
Where there was dialogue I found little of it to be light, witty and flirtatious, and some of it to be long and boring - especially at the end when there is a rehash of the Darcy and Elizabeth "when we fell in love" discussion which was done so much better, lighter and shorter by Austen. (less)
Ricky Alleyn, son of Troy and Roderick Alleyn, is taking an island break in an attempt to write a book.
The niece of the local riding school owner die...moreRicky Alleyn, son of Troy and Roderick Alleyn, is taking an island break in an attempt to write a book.
The niece of the local riding school owner dies after making a difficult jump and is found later in a ditch. Meanwhile one or more people are involved in drug running between France and England.
Not long after Rory arrives in town, Ricky disappears.
Lateish story (I think written in the mid 70s), where the story line is grittier than Marsh's contemporaries(no cream teas here, heroin addiction and drug running is the name of the game, as is Hellfire and brimstone preachers)(less)
With Alleyn in New Zealand on an extradition case over Christmas, Troy is staying with a client as she paints his picture.
There's a christmas pagent a...moreWith Alleyn in New Zealand on an extradition case over Christmas, Troy is staying with a client as she paints his picture.
There's a christmas pagent and afterwards the main participant disappears. Considering that many of the staff are ex-offenders (murderers) and the missing man known to be disliked by the staff, it's not long before people are worried. Alleyn returns earlier than expected and soon gets involved.
Not perhaps the best one of Marsh's - the "oncers" are a little too over wrought and some of the other characters under developed. Once again, Troy is in the forefront during the first half of the book, but is soon faded to background once Alleyn turns up. (less)
Rory Alleyn, giving a lecture, recounts a particularly interesting case involving his wife, art fraud, and a criminal team upon a boat.
Alleyn's wife T...moreRory Alleyn, giving a lecture, recounts a particularly interesting case involving his wife, art fraud, and a criminal team upon a boat.
Alleyn's wife Troy, having just had an exhibit installed, is about to return to London when she sees a last minute cancellation on a 5 day boat trip around "Constable Country". Knowing that her husband is in America on a lecture tour, and that she would be returning to an empty flat after an exhausting time preparing for the show, she takes the trip on the spur of the moment.
There she meets people of several different nationalities, including the English born doctor (of an Ethiopian father), an Australian priest, a rather annoying and intense English woman and an American brother and sister.
Troy finds out that her cabin was to be taken by a Greek man who has subsequently found dead in London.
Troy writes several letters to her husband, giving her impressions of not only the passengers but some of the peculiar events that happen to her in the first few days. Alleyn is back on the plane home by the time the first body is found.
Troy is (conveniently) shipped off to a local hotel as the book's focus shifts to her husband and his investigation of racism, art forgery, murder and crime syndicates.
This was an audiobook from Audible. and read by James Saxon (who has read other books, including others by Marsh). He is very capable in doing multiple accents and this certainly aids the "listening experience". (A brief look implies that he died in 2003).
The multiple timelines was a little difficult to settle to (Alleyn giving a talk about a time he was in America giving a talk whilst his wife was getting involved in an art crime), but on the whole, it was a diverting and pleasant time spent.
This book covers a true life Victorian death under suspect circumstances and the Author's attempt to discover the true murderer.
In 1875, the wealthy w...moreThis book covers a true life Victorian death under suspect circumstances and the Author's attempt to discover the true murderer.
In 1875, the wealthy widow Florence Ricardo marries ambitious barrister Charles Bravo. Less than six months later he was dead, as a result of poisoning by antimony.
Florence's first marriage was to a heavy drinker who was such a vile character that she left him and returned to her family, only to be put under terrible pressure to return to the marriage for the sake of appearences. He drinks himself to death and she retires to Malvern to recover under the direction of Dr James Gully. Older than her, they however have an intense affair which scandalises society. He aborts the baby that she ends up carrying.
She marries Charles Bravo as a way of restoring her social position. It was not a good marriage - she was headstrong, wishing to control her own substantial finances, and be in control of her own body (and knowing that the abortion had already weakened her system). He was a bully and typical Victorian male - seeing his wife, and her money and body as simple possessions that he could do with what he wanted. He drank heavily, sexually abused her (both raping and sodomising her), and demanding "conjical relations" whether or not she was phyiscally or emotionally ready for it after the failure of two subsequent miscarriages.
The inquest determined that Antimoney (a remedy still used today to make people sick when they've drunk alcohol) was used to kill Bravo, essentially in such a large quantity that it burned his insides. It was never determined who killed him, mainly because there were too many suspects. Ruddick attempts to pull things together, including the original inquest transcripts, letters to/from some of the suspects and their families, and testimony from their descendants. He presents what he believes is those responsible for the murder (and their motives) and it's up to you to decide whether he's correct.(less)
Many people believe that Dr Jekyll is "pure good" and Hyde is "pure bad" but in reading the book, you realise...moreListened to as part of Craftlit podcast.
Many people believe that Dr Jekyll is "pure good" and Hyde is "pure bad" but in reading the book, you realise that it's not as clear cut as all that.
This is the story, told not from Jekyll's side, but from those who come into irregular contact with both Jekyll and Hyde, and see the effect that the latter in particular has on society, leading up to him murdering an old man in the street.
It's a short book, and it's only late on that you get to hear (via a confession letter) what has been going on. Jekyll has been experimenting and was aware enough of his transformation into Hyde, to the point he did his best to seperate out both sides of his life, and protect the good from the bad. It soon became apparent however, that Hyde wasnt going to be kept under wraps and Jekyll realises that at some point he was going to be subsumed by Hyde's more powerful and delinquent personality(less)