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Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn #6)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,780 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
It was a bizarre pose for beautiful model Sonia Gluck--and her last. For in the draperies of her couch lay a fatal dagger, and behind her murder lies all the intrigue and acid-etched temperament of an artist's colony. Called in to investigate, Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds his own passions unexpectedly stirred by the fiesty painter Agatha Troy--brilliant ...more
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Black Dog Publishing (first published 1938)
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Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Mike Pence

Even though I was repulsed by the Sylvester Stallone-like figure on the cover, I pulled this out of the book dumpster for a quick read. It started out promisingly, with Inspector Roderick Alleyn leaning over the deck rail on a Fiji to England cruise, but once we disembarked in England stasis took over. A nude model for an art class held at a wealthy artist and teacher's estate is knifed to death, and everyone in the class becomes a suspect. Interminable discussions of the details of the knifing
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
I have a love hate relationship with Ngaio Marsh. I find her writing is often a mixture of snobbery (it's not her characters – Marsh herself comes across as believing the aristocracy should have special privileges. Mixed up in a murder mystery – faugh, how common) & there is often a touch of 'cultural cringe' (believing NZ culture is inferior to other cultures, usually the UK or the States)

This particular book also tested my desire to read uncensored work!

Page 17 Miss Katti Bostock, the well
An author I haven't read before but have always meant to read. Would best describe this as a vintage mystery with a hint of romance. Felt the mystery component was strongly delivered and I had no inkling who the culprit would be until all was revealed at the end. This novel introduces Roderick Alleyn's love interest the fiesty painter Agatha Troy.

The dialogue between Alleyn and his mother however did tend to grate on this reader. The use of "little mum" etc just didn't ring true with how Alleyn
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: golden-age
Well she's done it again! Not for the first time, I have read the whole of a Ngaio Marsh book convinced that I've been very clever and spotted 'whodunit' only to discover I'm completely wrong. I thought I'd picked up subtle clues that others may have missed only to find I'd been led up the garden path. I love it!

This book also introduces Agatha Troy. I enjoyed seeing the developing relationship between her and Alleyn as their two very different worlds collide.
Simon Mcleish
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in March 1998.

Like Vintage Murder, this seems to me to be one of the very best of Ngaio Marsh's detective novels. By the time this book came out, the characters in her series (Alleyn, Fox, Bathgate and so on) were well-established, old friends. In Artists in Crime, another important series character is introduced, the painter Agatha Troy.

As so often happens in Ngaio Marsh's stories, one of the series characters interacts with one of the new characters before
It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen.

Roderick Alley series:
3* A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn, #1)
3* Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6)
4* Death in a White Tie (Roderick Alleyn, #7)
3* Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
3* Death and th
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Alleyn is returning from his New Zealand trip when he meets Agatha Troy on board the ship. Sparks fly between them and feel each do not like each. other Troy hosts a group of artists at her home. After a discussion of a method of murder with the group. The murder happens in front of all the artists. This book has numerous twists and turns keeping the reader alert. I read a Large Print edition from my library
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
I was quite hopeful about Artists in Crime bringing Alleyn to life for me a bit more, since this is where he meets his love interest. In a way, the whole set-up of this relationship is reminding me a lot of Lord Peter, especially since Alleyn's mother has a title and so on. It's not exactly parallel, but close enough to annoy me a little.

Still, it does introduce a bit more of a human side to Alleyn. Bathgate's role is thankfully reduced, though the annoying creature does contrive to be present.
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
From my blog:

I had completely forgotten about Inspector Roderick (Rory) Alleyn until my friend Lisa reminded me. Dame Ngaio Marsh wrote over 30 books with British detective Alleyn as the superstar.

I'm not one to necessarily read a series in order (which surprises me since I like order). Years ago I read Death in a White Tie written in the late 1930's and liked Marsh's style but then forgot about her. Last year I enjoyed the book Last Ditch written in the
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If this were a 'Friends' epsode, it would be: The one where Alleyn meets Troy...
A model is done to death in a manner replicated in a Medieval romance illustrated by one of the artists. Throw in unscrupulous young men, nymphomanic young women, a bumptious Australian, the odd pipe of opium and an awkward love affair, and you have the ingredients for a smashing murder mystery. This was my very first Alleyn, way back when I was a teenager - it is still one of my favourites nearly twenty years later,
Gosh I do love a good Rory Allyn caper. This one is a peach. It's the one where Rory meets his true love. They are just cool as cucumbers despite the murderous shenanigans going on around them. And Roddy's mom? She is quite a gal. Let's not forget that scamp Nigel -- he always adds pizazz.
Maria Laura
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Again, five stars for the narrator, Benedict Cumberbatch.
I liked this story better than Death in a White Tie.
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: classic mystery fans who like charming detective protagonists
Recommended to Rose by: my twin sister
Shelves: mystery, classics, crime
Dame Ngaio Marsh certainly crafted a rich and appealing mystery (circa 1938) within "Artists in Crime". The story finds the lead detective, Roderick Alleyn, investigating the case of a murdered nude model, Sonia Gluck. The list of suspects revolves around eight individuals within an art school, including the owner - Agatha Troy, to whom Alleyn has developed a keen relationship with. All of them have their respective dislike of Miss Gluck, but the larger question is who perpetuated the method of ...more
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May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I ever finish my book, and manage to have an audio edition, I want Benedict Cumberbatch reading it. Even with all the other readers I've come across whose voices I've fallen for, BC is a little bit spectacular. And I'm not even a "Cumberbitch". This is an abridged version of the novel, which normally I feel is an abomination, but for Cumberbatch's narration? I'm in.

This was the book I heard a clip of on Tumblr, the moment when Cumberbatch "does" the voice of an American woman with a heavy Sou
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This murder mystery as an audiobook was a very, very pleasant surprise. The recording runs to over 3 hours long and I could only hear it over drives, traffic jams, and the gluggy moments before falling asleep, so I did wonder whether it would be possible to keep track of the plot points and the characters over all the breaks in the middle. Probably some curious combination of the brain, the actual story itself and the excellent reading - over 4 days and a lot of exhaustion, I could nicely follow ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, mystery
Inspector Alleyn is called in to investigate the murder, and finds among the suspects the artist he fell for on a recent cruise. They act tortured and repressed at each other in between scenes of Alleyn & co measuring marks on windowsills and the like. As always with Marsh, a large portion of this book is given over to seemingly endless natterings between characters about who was ~psychologically~ capable of murder. Eventually the murder is solved, but I'd lost all interest in the case by th ...more
Nancy Butts
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Returned to England after a year's journey to New Zealand and Quebec whilst he recovered from surgery [it must have been a big deal, but it doesn't seem to slow him down any], Alleyn is visiting his mother, Lady Alleyn, at the family manse in Buckinghamshire not twenty miles from London when he is once again called in from vacation to solve a murder. It just so happens that the murder occurs at the house of an artist named Agatha Troy whom Alleyn met on shipboard in Suva, Fiji, then shared time ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, audio
I listed to the audiobook version of this story, and it was a fairly good captivating mystery about a group of wanna-be authors in a fancy estate that get involved in a whodunnit type of murder. A bit like Agatha Christie, but in my opinion not necessarily as good as her stories. I was a bit surprised at the end when finding out who the killer was, I didn't see it coming the whole time, but it also wasn't the most amazing reveal either. To be honest the reason I listened to the story in the firs ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another very well written murder mystery, beautifully executed -- I really enjoy Marsh's characters. This time we met Alleyn's mother and Troy who quickly established herself as the love interest -- despite a few other possibilities. Apparently being in New Zealand has done wonders for him.

The fact that the mystery dragged towards the end was the only reason this got a four -- Marsh makes the procedural approach work brilliantly, and it is really a joy to read, but the repetition did get a bit
Carol Evans
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-book
Marsh does a wonderful job, as always, of giving motives to each of her rather quirky suspects, and parceling out the clues but in a way that they are easily missed, allowing her to lead us down the wrong path right until the twist at the end. For me though, the highlight here was the interactions between Troy and Alleyn, the tension, the misunderstandings, and Alleyn's trying to keep his feelings seperate from the case. Troy is, after all, a suspect. The blooming romance is a good edition, it d ...more
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Since I've nearly exhausted Agatha Christie's oeuvre, I decided to try branching out into Ngaio Marsh's. This book was compelling and had many of the elements I most love from Christie's mysteries including a quirky cast of characters with complicated relationships and secret pasts, living in the English countryside in the era and social class of manservants and parlor maids. Like Christie's plot lines, most of the book is spent detailing the Scotland Yard interviews with duplicitous suspects an ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
The structure and characters came together very nicely and entertainingly in this 6th Alleyn novel. He seems so much more human in his internal thoughts than in some of the earlier books. Makes me wonder if author Marsh turned some corner in her own mind about her policeman. His mother has a place in the book, and she seems delightful in her flexibility with unexpected houseguests, in the description of the various hobbies that are meant to stave off old age, and in her complete and uncritical s ...more
A very solid three stars. The flow of the narrative is quite stop and go which makes the way the plot moves on a bit chaotic in my book. Never the less, the plot is interesting, the reveal not so far from left field, the hints are there. I liked the introduction of Roderick's 'love interest' who is so far a strong character in her own right. It reminded me of Sayer's introduction of Harriet Vane. Which is by far one of my favorite introduction of a 'partner' for a lead character. Looking forward ...more
On the plus side, the dialogue was very good, the crime and setting were interesting, and I liked Alleyn and Troy. On the minus side, a little too much police procedural: endless interviewing of witnesses, endless measuring and note-taking. Judgment reserved for now: will read another (Last Ditch, which I already have) and see how I feel.
Nancy Cook-senn
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Aristocratic and arch Inspector Alleyn, returning from his sojourn in New Zealand, chances upon noted artist Agatha Troy aboard ship. Personalities clash, so Alleyn is dismayed when he has to investigate the stabbing death of the artists' model in the class held at Agatha's home. Sgt. Fox and journalist Nigel Bathgate return to assist, and we meet the Inspector's eccentric and equally witty mother.
Sadly, most of the Ngaio Marsh audiobooks seem to be abridged versions or region-locked to Australians. I gave this one a shot, in the hopes that it wasn't too big an abridgement, but it's a complete butchery, cutting most of the guts and some of the critical clues out of the story.

Ubiquitous Cumbersnitch is an excellent narrator, however. Even managed a reasonable Australian accent.
aPriL does feral sometimes
Particularly written with great care, vivid and smooth. The murders are gruesome, but as usual, the people who most annoy get their comeuppance and that takes the sting out of their denouement. The blooming romance between Troy and Alleyn is as delicate as eyelash kisses.
Feb 06, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Benedict Cumberbatch narrating 30+ voices? This I want to hear! The story sounds good too :-)
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Mistakenly read no. 6 before no. 5, since they arrived out of order on interlibrary loan. Interesting getting to know Alleyn in his natural habitat, and his mother is wonderfully warm and vital.
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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)
  • 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)

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