Reading the Detectives discussion

Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
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Ngaio Marsh Buddy Reads > Vintage Murder

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message 1: by Susan (last edited Apr 27, 2018 10:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
Our May challenge book is: Vintage Murder (1937)

This fifth book in the series sees Alleyn in New Zealand, along with a touring theatre company. He is meant to be on holiday, but finds himself a witness to murder.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2179 comments I really liked this book. I thought Alleyn on his own, without the usual Bathgate and Fox was a very likeable character. I also liked that his descriptions of the surrounding area were included.

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
I struggled a bit with this, to be honest. However, I think one of the things we are seeing with Ngaio Marsh is that all of us seem to find her novels a little up and down at times. Overall, I really like her - but I did miss Bathgate and Fox.

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I really liked this one and thought it was the best in the series so far. I enjoyed the theatrical setting, something that Marsh is very strong on, plus the fact that it was set in New Zealand.

I also agree with you, Jill, that Alleyn was very likeable on his own - he seemed to drop some of the affectations we have seen in the earlier books and to be a bit more natural.

Although, having said that, I would be happy to see Fox and possibly Bathgate return in the next book! (No mention of Bathgate in this one, despite frequent reminders of Fox, so I'm slightly wondering if this is where Nigel disappears?)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
Has anyone ever seen the TV episode of Vintage Murder which was made for Television New Zealand in 1978, with George Baker as Alleyn?

It looks as if Died in the Wool from this series is available to watch online at, but sadly not the other episodes.

I'd have to say George Baker really isn't like my idea of Alleyn, but such a good actor.

message 6: by Leslie (last edited May 04, 2018 10:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leslie | 592 comments I don't believe that I have ever seen a dramatization of Marsh's books. I wonder now why BBC or PBS never did one!

I just finished reading Died in the Wool a few days ago so your post is timely for me *grin*

Lesley | 384 comments There was The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries television series made in Britain, but I'm not sure whether it was BBC or not. They are all on YouTube

There are some episodes we have already read, some that we have yet to get to, and some that we won't get to reading in this challenge.

message 8: by Leslie (last edited May 05, 2018 08:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leslie | 592 comments Thanks Lesley - maybe I have seen them and just forgotten! I will check out the YouTube.

I have read most though not all of the series so I don't need to worry too much about spoilers.

I watched the NZ episode that Judy mentioned. It was pretty true to the book Died in the Wool though omitted some details that explained the background of the various characters more fully (view spoiler)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I have been watching the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, which was indeed BBC, as I've recorded most of the episodes from the Alibi TV station in the UK. There were only 9 episodes, sadly, so a lot of the books weren't included.

Most of them star Patrick Malahide, but I've just watched the pilot episode, Artists in Crime (about to reread the book for our challenge), which starred Simon Williams, and I think he was perfect for the part - a shame he wasn't available for the full series, although Malahide was pretty good.

message 10: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
Glad to hear that NZ episode was good, Leslie - I think Lesley originally mentioned that series some time back. I wish it had been issued on DVD!

Lesley | 384 comments I enjoyed seeing Alleyn's diplomacy in interacting with the NZ Police, being sure not to tread on toes. He seemed a much less bombastic type which was probably because he wasn't 'in charge'.

I thought Marsh's knowledge of theatre showed, with her detailed, and often humorous descriptions of all of the actors, and there were many! Similarly, using the knowledge of her country to create the setting with vivid descriptions of the NZ landscape.

Whilst there were no Russians in this book, the scene where Alleyn discusses the possibility of another war with a NZ policeman was a timely reminder of when this book was written, and what was going on in the world at that time. Marsh seems to make a point of including some point in her books on the political affairs of the world.

Did anyone else notice where in chapter 22, when Te Pokiha was talking with Alleyn, she makes an oblique reference to her name and possibly how she was given it? "The pakeha give their children Maori Christian names because they sound pretty."

Enjoyed this book and very much look forward to next month's installment.

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
I agree that Alleyn was very diplomatic in this mystery. It was nice to see how revered he was - quite famous, in fact!

Sandy | 3015 comments Mod
I finished last night and it may be my favorite so far. Alleyn acted a lot more naturally. In spite of his comment to Carolyn about not needing to impress Fox, he does seem show off when he's with him.

I thought the cast of theatre people was an excellent mix of good and bad, foolish and sensible, kind and nasty: much better than the church members in the last book.

Off to see what the spoiler thread holds.

Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 614 comments I've just started - liking the scene setting - I drove through that area just last week!

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
Always nice when you can visit places mentioned in books, Carol. Although I tend to have drizzly, London mornings :)

Tracey | 254 comments Carol - I'm jealous! The descriptions of the scenery made me want to save up for a trip to NZ!

Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 614 comments Marsh did choose that area partly because there wasn't much settlement. It is very near the main North Island skiing area.

Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 614 comments Does everyone have this on their copy of this book? Alleyn as an author. :D

I love the cast of characters though. Always helps me keep the people straight.

Lesley | 384 comments Carol ꧁꧂ wrote: "Does everyone have this on their copy of this book? Alleyn as an author. :D

Yes, that was in my book too, and I checked to see if it was a real book, but it wasn't. Although the citation was spot on!

I love the cast of characters though. Always helps me keep the people straight."

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
Yes, I also had mention of Alleyn's 'book.' His fame was a bit of a surprise.

message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I do wonder if this book and Marsh's others set in New Zealand have helped to tempt any tourists to visit, either at the time or more recently?

message 22: by Tara (last edited May 30, 2018 06:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara  | 831 comments This was my favorite in the series thus far, although Alleyn's propensity for attraction to beautiful actresses wears a bit thin at times. The man must be lonely.
He did seem more relaxed than in earlier books (he was on vacation after all), although I suspect that could have as much to do with the degree of formality in London society versus elsewhere as anything else. It was also nice to get some back story into his past, as both a soldier and an author. Despite a certain degree of affectation, I think he has a tendency of being humble about his abilities and skills, perhaps as a way to ensure he is underestimated by the suspects.
Ever since the Lord of the Rings movies I have wanted to travel to NZ, so it would be nice to add a Marsh detour to that trip!

Susan | 10525 comments Mod
Alleyn does seem lonely. Of course, we meet Agatha Troy - his love interest - in the next book, which I am currently reading. I won't say more, but I am enjoying the next one far more than I did Vintage Murder. However, yes, he does need some romance, I feel!

message 24: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I agree it's nice to get hints of Alleyn's back story - as you say, Susan, more of this in the next book, which I really like. Looking forward to our discussion of this one.

I would also love to travel to New Zealand and see these landscapes!

Adrian | 136 comments Well I know no-one has posted here for a month or so, but I’m lagging a bit behind due to other challenges (without pointing the finger at anyone, cough Jessica).
Anyway I’m quite enjoying this episode (oops book) so far although I mix Fox 🦊 I must admit.
I suppose because I have the box(ed) set of DVDs that I always see Patrick Malahide as I read.

Drizzly London mornings ???? Oh gosh I pray for drizzle 😂😂

message 26: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2179 comments Me too! Never thought I'd say it, but roll on winter!

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