Ivonne Rovira's Reviews > Overture to Death

Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh
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Jun 06, 2012

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Read in April, 2011

Those familiar with Ngaio Marsh and her Roderick Alleyn novels know that her writing style isn't the frenzied roller-coaster ride so popular today. She takes her time letting you know her characters and slyly sending up the upper classes of her day. However, in Overture to Death, four or five chapters slip by simply exploring the petty machinations of two village harpies: a pair of gossipy, spiteful, meddlesome spinsters without equal. The endless focus of these parodies of the malicious spinster droned on so long that I nodded off several time. While sometimes humorous, a lot less of Eleanor Prentice and Idris Campanula would have gone a long way in helping speed the pace a bit.

Once past the lengthy exposition and when the overbearing Miss Campanula gets what's coming to her and Alleyn comes on the scene, however, the novel picks up quite a bit. I recommend the book to Marsh fans like myself; however, those who make Overture to Death their first taste of Marsh are unlikely to be back for seconds. Newcomers are better off starting with A Man Lay Dead, Artists in Crime, or Death In A White Tie.
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