A Man Lay Dead
Commemorating 75 years since the Empress of Crime’s first book, the first volume of the 32 Inspector Alleyn mysteries.
Sir Hubert Handesley's extravagant weekend house-parties are deservedly famous for his exciting Murder Game. But when the lights go up this time, there is a real corpse with a real dagger in the back. All seven suspects have skilful alibis - so Chief...more
Marsh borrows from Wodehouse: Countryside House Parties! Parlour Games! Conjoining Rooms! Emancipated Young Women Driving Extremely Fast! Russians! Dashing Debonair Detectives!
"He climbed in [the car] beside her, And almost immediately had his breath snatched away by Miss North’s extremely progressive ideas on acceleration.
I read Marsh decades ago, and remembered enjoying many of the books, others not so much. so I thought I might start the series from the beginning and see what an ...more
1. I needed a book by a New Zealand author for a challenge.
2. A feeling of nostalgia when I saw the name Ngaio Marsh. My mother read her books when I was a child. I may have tried one or two myself but they would have not been very interesting to me then.
Times change and I found A Man Lay Dead very interesting indeed. It is a typical mystery of the time, country house party, upper class guests, unexpected murder and the arrival of a very clever policeman to discover the evil ...more
& that high only because this was Marsh's first book. Makes you realise what a remarkable achievement Christie's first , was.
Other reviewers have criticised Marsh for inconsistencies in Alleyn's characterisation. I actually don't mind this. I prefer it to having Alleyn & various aristocrats angsting over being involved in something as low bred as a murder! This is very tedious in Marsh's other novels. And I did enjoy the start- although for some strange reason, the frenetic pace ...more
My previous book was another detective story Pietr the Latvian and it was to me a fantastic, albeit short ...more
Ngaio Marsh is a well-loved crime writer from New Zealand, but most of her books are set in and around London. Her Inspector Roderick Alleyn series seem (from this first one) to be the light whodunits along the lines of Agatha Christie. Over-the-top characters, some big words I had to look up (some just being regional words we don't use in the USA), silly ...more
This is the first of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn mysteries and it contains everything that you expect from a Golden Age mystery. First, the house party, complete with varying guests - an adulterous wife, jealous girlfriend, mysterious Russian, and more. In this case, the country house in question is Frantock and Nigel Bathgate (a journalist) is accompanying his cousin Charles on one of the much coveted entertaining weekends, for which invitations are hard to obtain. The host intends to hold a ...more
I can't say I enjoyed this. There's an entire subplot concerning a Bolshevic satanic cult (?!) (view spoiler)[that goes nowhere, and isn't even an effective red herring. (hide spoiler)] This is the first Inspector Alleyn book, and it's clear that Marsh isn't sure how to write him yet. His personality is all over the place: one moment he's burbling Bright Young Things slang, the next he's cold ...more
As kids, before heading off to school, my pals and I used to rendezvous on our bikes outside the village bookshop (imagine – a village bookshop!). I recall displayed in the window paperbacks by the exotically named ‘Ngaio Marsh’. I don’t know what I thought they were about, but I can’t believe it has taken me so many ...more
There is a bit of a gimmicky feel to it overall as if Marsh is trying to capture Christie's style, and not quite succeeding, especially in Inspector Alleyn's ...more
I did not particularly enjoy the first half of this book. It started off like Death of a Peer (though thankfully the murder happens much sooner) with endless recounting of whereabouts and alibis.
However, as the story progressed it became much more exciting. Russian secret societies, torrid affairs, and the subtle romance that seems to have died with the Golden Age of of Detection all blend together to create a fun, fast paced read. This is the Roderick Alleyn I was prepared to meet, complete ...more
CAST – 3 stars: Inspector Alleyn is quick on the scene. We learn little about him in this first outing but when he says, “…I have known for some time…I find there is often a moment in a case when a piece of one’s mind…knows the end while the rest of the trained brain cuts this intuitive bit dead,” one can’t help but flash to Christie’s famous Hercule Poirot and his ‘brain cells ‘ at work. I’m not sure if this is an attempt to differentiate Alleyn from ...more
Mostly, it’s great. A lot of the language is outdated (the speech tag of ‘ejaculated’ made me flush each time I read it) but still easy enough to follow and quite fun.
The set up of the crime is inspired. A group of people attend a house party where they plan to play a murder mystery game. As in, one guest will become the corpse/victim, and ...more
Published in 1934, this first of Ngaio Marsh's Detective Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn mysteries, A Man Lay Dead, ...more
I'm going to attempt a few more of her books because I adore all sorts of English mysteries and Ngaio Marsh is well loved ...more
Roderick Alleyn, ably assisted by Nigel Bathurst, a journalist who appears in many of the Roderick Alleyn mysteries, has to try and break a ...more
Marsh, Naigo – 1st in series
St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1997
Introducing Inspector Roderick Alleyn, who is called to the country home of Sir Hubert Handesley. Sir Hubert had arranged "The Murder Game" as entertainment for his weekend guests. Unfortunately, someone is playing for real and one of the guests is found dead.
*** This is a good introduction to a delightful series set in the classic English manor house. Marsh takes her reader along not ...more
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Of all the "Great Ladies" of the English mystery's golden age, including Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh ...more