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The Nursing Home Murder

(Roderick Alleyn #3)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,086 ratings  ·  187 reviews
When Britain's Home Secretary complained of abdominal pains, it seemed like a simple case of appendicitis. But minutes after his operation, the ill-fated politician lay dead on the table. When Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to dissect the situation, he finds many a likely suspect, including a vengeful surgeon, a lovelorn nurse, an unhappy wife, and a cab ...more
Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published (first published 1935)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I found this definition with one quick Google, on several sites: "Scally is a derogatory term used in the Northwest of England especially around…moreI found this definition with one quick Google, on several sites: "Scally is a derogatory term used in the Northwest of England especially around Liverpool. Roughly synonymous with Chav or Ned.The term is associated with youth with a particular style of dress. The term denotes "a roguish, boisterous, disruptive or irresponsible male", and is derived from "Scallywag", meaning "a disreputable person".

It is true that before the NHS, orderlies and under-nurses were percieved to have come from the dregs of society, the sort of person who couldn't get anything else. I've read some British nursing memoirs and the training available to under-nurses and such was pretty darn basic, which may have something to do with that perception.(less)
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3.62  · 
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carol.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for people who want Christie Lite ™
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
Things I've Learned From British Mysteries

1. When a detective says, "oh, one other small thing...," it isn't.

2. Brush up on your vocabulary when asking the pathologist for favors:

"Alleyn went out, changed his mind and stuck his head round the door.
'If I send you a pill or two, will you have them dissected for me?'
'Analysed?'
'If you'd rather. Good-bye.'

3. When dealing with nobility, it is best to mind your manners:

"'I asked you to come and see me,' she began very quietly, 'because I believe my hu
...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
3.5★

I'm starting to see a pattern - I prefer Marsh's crime novels when they have a theatrical setting.

But this title has a very authentic feel. It was co-written with Marsh's gynaecologist, Henry Jellet (he gets an author credit on my edition.) You can almost smell the antiseptic. So the hospital setting felt fine.

Even the political world felt real. It is when Marsh strays into the world of "Bolshies" (with the quite annoyingly perky Nigel & Angela) that things come a little unstuck, with ca
...more
Adrian
Hmm, now I’ve given this book 3 stars, is it 20% less good than the first 2 books, well no, but it is not a 4 star book in my opinion. I mean, I still enjoyed it, and I'm liking Alleyn and Fox, but felt this novel was a little weaker than the first two. I said I wasn't going to read number 3 straight away as I didn't want to overdose on Alleyn just to play catch up, but I was enjoying these so much I went ahead. So is my 3 stars a result of this overdose or not. I shall seriously take a break th ...more
Susan
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third novel featuring Roderick Alleyn and was first published in 1935. Home Secretary, Sir Derek O’Callaghan is very involved in introducing a Bill to deal with anarchists and has received several threats to his life. During the beginning of this novel, we are aware that Sir Derek has been having serious abdominal pains and has ignored suggestions he seek medical help until after the Bill has been successful. Sir Derek’s wife, the icy cool Cicely, does not press him to accept help, b ...more
Nikki
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
This is my third Ngaio Marsh novel and I still have somewhat mixed feelings. I'm not into her detective character at all -- there's been too little personality and depth, just a lot of surface shine -- and the structure is now formulaic. Set-up for a murder with many potential motives -> murder which is very awkward for lots of people -> Alleyn investigates without explaining much to anyone -> Alleyn has a reconstruction done -> this flushes out the murderer, who incriminates himself ...more
Ivonne Rovira
May 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Alleyn fans only
Recommended to Ivonne by: Uncle Silas
I’ve read nearly two dozen of Ngaio Marsh’s wonderful novels featuring Roderick Alleyn, a detective inspector and the younger son of a baronet, but somehow I managed to skip The Nursing Home Murder, the third novel in the series. Thanks to Uncle Silas for pointing that out, and I’ve now remedied the situation.

In this novel, first released in 1935, Sir Derek O’Callaghan, the English Home Secretary, is rushed to the hospital for unbearable abominable pains only to die soon after his operation. Soo
...more
Mir
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A singularly cold and dull mystery finished off with a ridiculous solution.
Judy
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading through the Inspector Alleyn mysteries in order with the Reading the Detectives group at Goodreads. This third mystery is the best yet, with Alleyn really starting to come into his own as a character. He is still witty and sometimes silly, but there are a few more hints of hidden depths.

The title could be a bit misleading to contemporary readers, suggesting the book is set in a care home. In fact, though, the setting is a private hospital, well before the arrival of the NHS. A top p
...more
Kathy
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just the third in the Roderick Alleyn series, this book supplies us with a very interesting set of circumstances and characters featuring the Home Secretary, Prime Minister, Bolsheviks, and some helpful friends of Alleyn's in his rather complete way of investigating anyone and everyone before reaching his conclusion of who killed the Home Secretary. His co-worker Fox plays a small role in this case. In a nutshell, the Home Secretary has been suffering stomach pain he tries to ignore but then req ...more
Susan
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third novel featuring Roderick Alleyn and was first published in 1935. Home Secretary, Sir Derek O’Callaghan is very involved in introducing a Bill to deal with anarchists and has received several threats to his life. During the beginning of this novel, we are aware that Sir Derek has been having serious abdominal pains and has ignored suggestions he seek medical help until after the Bill has been successful. Sir Derek’s wife, the icy cool Cicely, does not press him to accept help, b ...more
Roger Pettit
Ngaio Marsh, a New Zealander, was one of a group of women writers who dominated what is sometimes known as the Golden Age of British detective fiction that occurred in the 1930s and the 1940s. The others were Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham. Marsh does not have Christie's fiendish ingenuity when it comes to plotting (a characteristic which, in my view, is what sets Christie apart from other writers of her era and since, and which has resulted in her continued pre-eminence ...more
Abbey
1935, written with help on background by Henry Jellett.
#3 Inspector Roderick Alleyn, Scotland Yard, London;
famous - and hated - politician goes into private hospital for appendicitis operation and dies under peculiar circumstances; classic cosy thriller, three-and-one-half-stars, not her very best but still entertaining.

Sir Derek O'Callaghan, Home Secretary, is in the process of introducing a stringent anti-Bolshivism bill in Parliament when he becomes very ill and is rushed to the private ho
...more
John
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hyoscine a strange drug and curiously I looked it up. I liked Alleyn and Fox and the plot was good but I preferred Dead Water and one set around Shakespeare themes. I am going to stick with Marsh as I like her style but she is no Agatha Christie.

I enjoyed the us versus them class war which is evident in Marsh’s fixation on reds under the bed. Disguises, dysfunctional family members, madness, atmospheric London and a lot of red herrings. A good read.
Anna
I discovered Ngaio Marsh my senior year in high school and over the next few years read every one of her books I could get my hands on. I am very happy to see that they are coming out as ebooks (this is the second one available through my library).
At the insistence of the deceased wife, Inspector Alleyn is puzzling over the death of the Home Secretary who died after an emergency operation. His wife insists that the HS was murdered by the Anarchists and Communists who were threatening him. The ge
...more
Bev
The Nursing Home Murder (1935) is the third Inspector Alleyn novel by Ngaio Marsh. The Bolshevik's have reared their ugly heads again (see A Man Lay Dead) and have been sending death threats to Sir Derek Callaghan, the Home Secretary. Sir Derek is due to present a very important bill before Parliament and there are those who would prefer that bill never see the light of day. He has also been experiencing bouts of extreme abdominal pain--refusing to see a doctor until he has launched his bill. Bu ...more
Lemar
Apr 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Say it ain’t so Ngaio. Finding out a writer who is like a favorite aunt used to have an interest in eugenics is pretty depressing. It pretty much wrecked this book for me and if I read another it will have to be one written after World War II. I can only hope she evolved and I believe in allowing people to evolve. This wasn’t a full on book about it but just that somebody so smart didn’t reject that lethal fascist bullshit out of hand puts me off. Big time.
While intellectually I can see that th
...more
Ellen
The Nursing Home Murders by Ngaio Marsh.

This was my first Ngaio Marsh/Inspector Alleyn mystery I've read in book form. Marvelously written with vivid detail given to each personality.

The Home Secretary has a painful case of appendicitis and is taken to the hospital. Unfortunately Sir Derek O'Callaghan waited a bit too late and dies shortly after the surgery. But is that all to this death?

Lady O'Callaghan doesn't believe Sir Derek died of natural causes and employs Inspector Alleyn to do some inv
...more
FangirlNation
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sir Derek O’Callaghan, Home Secretary of England, has been too anxiously pushing through an anti-anarchy bill in Parliament to deal with the growing pain in his stomach in 1935’s The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh. Collapsing at the introduction of the bill, O’Callaghan gets rushed to the nursing home of Sir John Phillips with a ruptured appendix, needing emergency surgery. Sir Derek gets taken right into surgery against the urgings of Sir John, who encourages Lady O’Callaghan to get a diffe ...more
ShanDizzy
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a refreshing change from Heyer's Inspector Hemmingway, with his caustic tongue and plain rudeness to people! Inspector Alleyn has a keen mind and impeccable manners and he dignifies others around him no matter their station in life. And let's not forget the redoubtable Fox as he assists Alleyn. I like their interactions and dialogue with one another. I am truly enjoying this series.
Theresa
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not the best in her mystery series, "The Nursing Home Murder", although not a lengthy read, was slow-moving for me. The author attempts to illustrate how unlikely it would be for murder in the setting of a sterile hospital operating room (no fingerprints!). However she becomes a little too technical with the procedures (this syringe, that syringe. This anesthetic, this amount, that amount to be given at this time, that time...) for the reader. Characters were not as realistically drawn and it wa ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great read by one of the masters of the British golden age mystery, Ngaio Marsh. Don't be misled by the "nursing home" in the title........in England, a nursing home is a hospital for patients recovering from surgery or illness. In this case, the Home Secretary dies mysteriously after emergency surgery and the list of suspects ranges from Communists to pharmacists. Roderick Alleyn and his faithful partner in detection. Fox, are on the case and the game is afoot. Add this one to your myst ...more
Jeanette
Alleyn is the inspector in this case. And it's a "closed room" mystery, for the most part. Only that room was an operating theater.

There were numerous characters but I never got to their heart or personality. Not enough depth in the characterizations for the possible culprit, IMHO. These are like stilted, and much cozier Christie without the wit or the delicate insights into character and motive.

The writing is clear and the overall portrayal for the genre, average.
Bill
Most enjoyable mystery in the grand old tradition. Inspector Alleyn is a cool, smart Scotland Yard inspector with a solid assistant in Fox. Also has two old friends from his first book, Nigel and Angela. The mystery is interesting, involving the murder of a Conservative politician on the operating table. Lots of interesting suspects, twists and turns, involving a failed romance, Bolshevists, etc. Super story and well-crafted.
Carol Evans
When Britain's Home Secretary complained of abdominal pains, it seemed like a simple case of appendicitis. But minutes after his operation, the ill-fated politician lay dead on the table. When Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to dissect the situation, he finds many a likely suspect, including a vengeful surgeon, a lovelorn nurse, an unhappy wife, and a cabinet full of political foes.

I’ve gone back and finally read the first 3 of Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn series, and actuall
...more
Sahifa
This is one of the disappointments from Ngaio Marsh. I read it as March-read for the yearly detective fiction challenge but I was really disillusioned this time. The two books written before this were a lot better. Niether the nursing home setting nor the operation theatre murder succeeded in catching my interest.For me the book was boring with a dragging storyline and a completely predictable solution. Hoping better from the April-read which is next in line
Pamela
Sir Derek O'Callaghan, the Home Secretary, falls ill with suspected appendicitis and is rushed to a private hospital. The operation appears to be successful, but hours later Sir Derek is dead. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn investigates and finds that the surgeon and the theatre nurse both had reason to hate Sir Derek. They were not the only ones - he was also introducing a Bill to strengthen the penalties against anarchist groups and had received threats - and Alleyn soon finds further connec ...more
Violinknitter
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how I’ve managed to read practically all the Christie & Sayers I could get my hands on, & never even come across Marsh, let alone read her mysteries. I can tell it’s going to be fun catching up on my Golden Age mystery reading.
Sara
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I admit I didn't try to solve the mystery; I just enjoyed reading the book and letting it wash over me. The solution was a bit ridiculous but I didn't mind.
Sue
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Mcleish
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in September 2001.

Marsh's second novel is her only one written in collaboration; its unique setting for one of her stories suggests that this was Jellett's major contribution. It is also one of her poorest books, full of wild coincidences and unbelievable characters.

The story takes a scare about anarchist terrorists as its starting point. The Home Secretary, Sir Dereck O'Callaghan, drafts a bill to curb these gangs, and, because of its importance, continues w
...more
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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
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Other books in the series

Roderick Alleyn (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn #1)
  • Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn, #2)
  • Death in Ecstasy (Roderick Alleyn, #4)
  • Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
  • 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)
“He was shown into the drawing-room, an apartment of great elegance and no character. Above the mantelpiece hung a portrait in pastel of Cicely O’Callaghan. The artist had dealt competently with the shining texture of the dress and hair, and had made a conscientious map of the face. Alleyn felt he would get about as much change from the original as he would from the picture.” 1 likes
“Everybody talks to me about ‘P.M.s,’” complained Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn to Inspector Fox on Monday afternoon, “and I never know whether they mean post-mortem or Prime Minister. Really, it’s very difficult when you happen to be involved with both.” 0 likes
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