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Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
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Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn #10)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  5,901 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Murder becomes a family affair...

The Lampreys were a charming, eccentric happy-go-lucky family, teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Until the gruesome murder of their uncle-and unpleasant Marquis, who met his untimely death while leaving the Lamprey flat-left them with a fortune. Now it's up to Inspector Roderick Alleyn to sift through the alibis to discover which Lam
Paperback, 303 pages
Published March 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1940)
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Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, ngaio-marsh
A prime example of the Golden Age Mystery from Britain between the wars. Pull out the whole standard toolkit: A slightly-threadbare, to-the-manor-born family finds that being bankrupt puts a real strain on the entire dotty household- Lady, Lord, bairns, domestics, butler & chauffeur. Even the usual bracing round of Charades won't lift the gloom.

An inconvenient and nasty murder disrupts the disruptions already at hand, the Yard investigates with eyebrow raised, and suspicions fly. Add some t
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago New Zealander Roberta Grey met the Lamprey family, a bunch of Micawberish English aristocrats, when she was an adolescent and they were living in her home country. She and Frid Lamprey were schoolmates, and before she knew it she'd fallen in love with the family and they seemingly did so with her. Soon, though, they had to move back to London as yet another of their "financial crises" overtook them -- a "financial crisis" representing one of those periods when none of their elder ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
There’s stuff to like about A Surfeit of Lampreys; the character portraits, the commentary on the family, the fact that it brings in Bathgate and ties some of that stuff together… but overall, I’ve totally lost my motivation to read Ngaio Marsh’s books. There’s a same-y feel to them, the characters aren’t nearly as brilliant as, say, Dorothy L. Sayers’, and it comes out feeling a little too heavy and flat, with not enough payoff. The mysteries are intricate, but everything just unravels so slowl ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
The pacing of Death of a Peer left me extremely frustrated. It took forever for the Peer to get murdered! He finally does get murdered and then it takes even longer for the plot to go anywhere. Arguably it never does.
I picked up this book primed to fall in love with the dashing Roderick Alleyn. He seemed a brilliant but much less awkward version of Sir Peter Wimsey...or Sherlock Holmes...or any other detective you may wish to pick. The problem is, he is also rather dull. The majority of this bo
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Went back to this series, because apparently there is one coming up in a couple of books where Alleyn and Troy assess their marriage after being apart for most of the war. And I am interested about that. There is also something about reading about the time period from a contemporary.

A few things, the book about Troy and Alleyn's relationship after the war is somewhat going to suffer from the fact that we actually see shockingly little of it before the war. Which is sad. The other thing, is that
Simon Mcleish
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Originally published on my blog here in June 1998.

This is one of my least favourite Ngaio Marsh novels. The crime is puzzling enough and the solution typically ingenious, and Roderick Alleyn is his usual urbane self; the problem is that I find it impossible to have any sympathy for the family at the centre of the story, the Lampreys.

The Lampreys are an upper class family always suffering from financial crises, yet unable to work or to save because of their frivolous background. Marsh keeps on e
Ghastly murder; nothing cozy about it. Entertaining Lamprey family based on real family friends Marsh adored. Nigel makes a brief appearance. Marsh has a real way with her characters; mystery is secondary, but well done. Considering this was published in the1939-1940 era there is very little in the book to suggest the turmoil of Europe and a pending war. There is a passing reference that someone might be "one of them Nazzys."
Nancy Cook-senn
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A Golden Age Mystery replete with poor but profligate aristocrats, dotty aunts, precocious children, sarcastic teens, the credulous journalist Nigel Bathgate, Inspector Alleyn (dubbed "Handsome Alleyn" by the press) and his ever-stolid "B'rer" Fox.
Julie  Durnell
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england-uk
A first-rate mystery! The Lamprey family members are engaging and quirky, the Inspector Alleyn a top notch detective. It was a bit slow going in the beginning but as the murder commenced I was sorely tempted to flip to the ending to find out the culprit, I didn't of course!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I did enjoy this light-hearted cosy mystery about an "impoverished" family of the minor nobility whose rich uncle (yes, really!) is killed in the lift after refusing to bail them out yet again. Marsh repeatedly mentions that it's like a set-piece social comedy play, and it is that. Her acting/directing experience shows at every turn. She can't resist bringing in MacBeth, and the solution is a bit unbelievably convenient, but hey, it's mental popcorn and I munched it quite happily in a few hours. ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Now there is something about a nice bit of vintage murder that is ever so slightly comforting, now I can’t say I have ever understood why this should be so – but it does seem to be the case for many readers. I love Agatha Christie – I have loved her forever, and remain a staunch fan, however, I wonder if Ngaio Marsh wasn’t a rather better writer. I discovered Marsh much later than Christie, and those novels I have read have been consistently good. Chief Inspector Alleyn and his trusty Inspector ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
QUITE engrossing and fun to read with lots of nice little creepiness supplied by Lady V., although the actual solution was not as juicy as I was hoping it would be.
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Lord Wutherford meets a nasty death at the home of the Lampreys.

Roderick Alley series:
3* A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1)
4* Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7)
3* Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
3* Death and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)
3* Night at the Vulcan (Roderick Alleyn, #16)
3* When in Rome (Roderick Alleyn, #26)
TR Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn, #2)
TR The Nursing Home Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #3)
TR Death in Ecstasy (Roderick A
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thinking myself somewhat of a Golden Age Detective Novel aficionado, I was startled to say the least to only come across Ngaio Marsh a couple of weeks ago and am now working my way through her work. Charming and beautifully written, to the extent where I often find myself smiling with joy at her turn of phrase. Not quite Dorothy L Sayers, but leagues ahead of Agatha Christie. Very warmly recommended indeed.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Amusing, lively family named Lamprey (and the British title is Surfeit of Lamprey's, which made me wonder if I got the correct book when it came through ILL) who are very fun and lackadaisical about their money issues. Mean-spirited uncle is murdered in their home, so they are all suspects. Enjoyable reading.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Another amazing Ngaio Marsh novel. She is a superb writer with such an engaging style. The characters in this novel are so interesting. Another great read!
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my top 3 Alleyn books. Wonderful.
Carey Combe
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of my favourites
Another solid example from the golden age of British mysteries.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is also titled A Surfeit of Lampreys. I suppose the title was changed for US publication - why the heck do they do that? It happened with some Christie books, too. The Lampreys are a family living in new Zealand, who go home to England. Roberta (Robin) Grey, a young woman who was great friends with them in NZ, comes to England after her parents die. She is supposed to live with an aunt, but when the aunt becomes ill, the Lampreys invite her to stay with them, which she is more than happy to ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a Game of Clue

Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 detective novels featuring Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn from 1934 through 1982. This story was tenth in the series, published in 1941, renamed "Death of a Peer" for the U.S.

The Lampreys are a tight and spendthrift family, always doing extravagant things but finding ways to get more money when almost broke. A family friend from New Zealand comes to England and is spending time with them when they run low on funds. A wealthy uncle is killed while he's vi
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ngaio Marsh published her 10th Roderick Alleyn novel in 1941’s A Surfeit of Lampreys, set in 1940. Roberta “Robin” Grey, a girl from New Zealand, has become star-struck with an English noble family, the Lampreys, who have moved to the island nation for financial reasons. The family clearly love their creature comforts and frequently live beyond their means because they just can’t seem to envision living the kind of lifestyle required of their income or the unthinkable behavior of getting a job! ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I still can't pronounce "Ngaio", and that bothers me. Am I allowed to read novels if I have no clue as to the author's name? Nonetheless...Dame Ngaio Marsh--- novels I'm coming to quite late. The Roderick Alleyn mysteries are, well...charming. Dated, obviously, and maybe just a bit too whimsical. But well-crafted, shot through with humor, and always resolved very satisfactorily. They all of them have memories of Dame Ngaio's native New Zealand threaded through them, too--- lovely memories of pla ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I had an odd association all through this book. Because the only identification I've had for the word "lamprey" is that ugly eel, the surname Lamprey, each time it occurred in A Surfeit of Lampreys, brought to mental mind that image of a sticking, sucking eel. Never could overcome it. Maybe that was Ngaio Marsh's point. Hilarious!

In each of her books that I've read so far, when I get two-thirds of the way through, I'm absolutely hooked.

Another good mystery.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ngaio Marsh is one of my, if not my top, favorite mystery writers(sorry about the grammatical jungle that sentence became!); Surfeit of Lampreys has a tangled, surprisingly creepy plot; the characters are original and clear, and Philip Franks is a "I'd listen to him read the phone book" reader, so it's a huge hit all around! Did a lot of knitting and housework just so I could keep listening to this fantastic audio mystery. BRAVA!
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most unique of the series I have read so far. True to form, theater is involved, in this case by frequent reference to MacBeth. Once again, Marsh is Anglophile to the core. From Eastern Europe? You must be unwashed, uncouth, and a little wacky.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well crafted 'proper' 'who done it' crime fiction I guess in the style of Agatha Chistie.
good characters, lots of domestic detail of this dotty family and generally easy and perfect for a train journey !
Lorraine Dunlap
Sep 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
My least favorite in the series (I hope this is the low point!) The mystery is well-plotted, but the family is full of totally unsympathetic characters. Even the 'charming outsider' stoops to lying. Skip it.
Janet Worthington
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite Alleyn mysteries because of the charming Lamprey family and their sweet New Zealand friend, Robin Grey, who cares about them so deeply. The early scenes set in New Zealand are so evocative; Marsh's love for her homeland really comes through.
Julia Balko
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genuinely entertaining.

Clever, at times legitimately funny, full of wonderful characters.... An engrossing diversion. Sometimes just what is needed in this fast paced world. Highly recommended.
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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 32 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)
  • 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 and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)

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