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Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn #6)
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Ngaio Marsh Buddy Reads > Artists in Crime - SPOILER Thread

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message 1: by Susan (last edited May 31, 2018 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan | 10522 comments Mod
Our June challenge book is: Artists in Crime (1938)

This sixth book in the series introduces Agatha Troy, Alleyn's love interest, in a mystery which sees an artist's model murdered.

Feel free to post spoilers in this thread.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2179 comments I didn't like this book as much as the one before , but it was still a good plot. I liked Alleyn's mother and hope we see more of her in future books. Fox was up to his usual standard of "sidekick", funny but respectful, and Bathgate was just Bathgate. I wasn't keen on the romantic side of the story, and after Alleyn's history with the ladies , I rather think Troy was probably best turning him down.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 395 comments I think this was my favourite so far. I liked Alleyn's mother too, and Bathgate was suppressed a bit in this one so there was less schoolboy nonsense between him and Alleyn. Obviously Scotland Yard procedures not only allow you to place a journalist in a chair in the corner during interviews, but also to get your Mum's view on likely culprits! I didn't mind the romance as it was kept in the background most of the time.


Roman Clodia | 904 comments This was my favourite to date, too. Although I did find it very similar to Sayers' Wimsey with the scatty, charming aristocratic mother and the no-yes love interest. Which one did it first, I wonder?

It's slightly odd that Alleyn's titled background suddenly emerges, no? We know he went to Oxford but that is a whole other ball-game!

I also liked that he seemed less childish now that he's lost his heart to Troy - and she seems like the most sensible person in the books so far. Along with my favourite, Fox.

I'd like to see Marsh shake up her formula: a spectacular method of murder followed by endless back-to-back interviews to establish alibis is feeling a bit well-worn but there was at least more detecting in the latter parts.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
This also reminded me of Sayers. Especially the titled, slightly scatty mother.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
I have finished this now. Love rarely runs smoothly for our detectives, does it?


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
Having read a few Marsh now, I was musing on what RC said - they do seem a little formulaic. What do others think?


Roman Clodia | 904 comments I was intrigued that it's mentioned a couple of times that Alleyn has been away in NZ for a year - more than a holiday, then? Are we supposed to read something into this? That he was recuperating from some kind of injury in a case we don't know? Or just that he's tiring of detecting?


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "I was intrigued that it's mentioned a couple of times that Alleyn has been away in NZ for a year - more than a holiday, then? Are we supposed to read something into this? That he was recuperating f..."

I found this intriguing too, R.C. It sounds as if he took a year's sabbatical and he finds it quite strange to slip back into his job again - this reminded me a bit of going back after maternity leaves, though I had not been to the other side of the world.

I believe in the previous book it was mentioned that he was recovering from a major operation - and in this one he says something about doctor's orders, maybe that he can't drink alcohol, I'm not sure now, although it sounds as if it might be an excuse.

I definitely think he starts to feel a little bit more world-weary and older as a character in these two books, after being so fresh and jokey in the early ones.


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

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2179 comments I was under the impression his leave was due to medical reasons, and Fox did seem to be wishing him well. I think he had improved no-end as a character , but was putting that down to the lack of Bathgate's influence.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
He never seems too thrilled about returning to the Yard and seems to bemoan his job quite a lot. Does he need to work? I suppose he must, although he has a title. He certainly doesn't have Wimsey's level of wealth, which enables him to dabble, rather than get a full time job?


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
I meant to say that, presumably, as a bit of a celebrity, he could just go and lecture - we know he wrote a book. It is interesting to gradually uncover more about his personality and circumstances, as we read on.


message 13: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
The TV adaptation, which was the pilot for the series, also has Alleyn suffering from shell-shock from WW1, which is again like Wimsey. I see there are mentions of him serving in the war in the book, though, so it is not much of a stretch, and I thought it fitted in well.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
He has mentioned the war, but not in a self-pitying way, or one which suggests he was particularly traumatised by it. Alleyn certainly never seems to have suffered as Wimsey did.


ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments I finished this story last night and I liked it. Like others have said, I liked that Alleyn was less immature and that we saw more of Fox. I hope Alleyn's romance isn't carried on over many books and doesn't become a huge part of the story. Although, I don't mind Troy as a match for him. Alleyn's mom was adorable and I liked the banter between her and Fox. Bathgate is...I don't know...

All in all it was an enjoyable read, in my opinion.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
I like Fox, but I think Marsh was right to calm down the running joke about his learning French.


ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments Susan wrote: "I like Fox, but I think Marsh was right to calm down the running joke about his learning French."

I agree, Susan.


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
I liked Alleyn's mother. She appears in the next book, which I am reading now.


ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments Susan wrote: "I liked Alleyn's mother. She appears in the next book, which I am reading now."

I too liked his mum. I am on the watilist for the next one Death In A White Tie  by Ngaio Marsh . I've been binge reading this series so far. LOL


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
Good to hear you are enjoying the challenge this year :) I think one of the good thing about a whole year reading a particular author is that it does make you look at their work in greater depth. Of course, it is nicer if, like Sayers, you can fit the whole series in, but I suspect a few of us will continue with Marsh. I certainly will.


Trisha | 79 comments I’ve finished this, but was disappointed. My first book by this author & I expected more. The description of the possible murder method long before the actual murder just seemed silly to me - if the murder had happened unexpectedly, it would have been more effective. The author might as well have written “THIS IS A CLUE”, it was so obvious! I disliked the attempts at writing different accents (my pet hate in any book by any author). From comments made by others, it appears she had already written a number of previous books - but reading this one I felt she was almost trying too hard to impress readers as if it were her first attempt.
Sorry, I can see that others enjoyed the book.


message 22: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one, Trisha. I wasn’t so bothered by the murder method being revealed in advance, but I did find it hard to believe - I think most people would scream out loudly as soon as the knife touched them, so they wouldn’t be pressed down on top of it!


Susan | 10522 comments Mod
I have enjoyed Marsh so far, but with reservations...


Tara  | 831 comments Overall, I enjoyed this book, although sometimes I find myself unable to distinguish one character from another, especially early on in the telling. This method of murder was one of the more believable of the outlandish variety Marsh is partial to, if only due to the fact that Sonia appeared to be so difficult and disagreeable, that the other artists were not surprised by her squirming and distemper. I enjoyed the introduction of a love interest for Alleyn, and I do not think that it interfered in the story, aside from the fact that I was pretty sure that she was not the murder suspect. We shall have to see how that element plays out in future stories.


Sandy | 3010 comments Mod
The love interest certainly eliminated Troy from the reader's suspect list. Hopefully she remained, reluctantly, on Alleyn's.


Tracey | 254 comments A bit behind on my reading this month... I think this is my favourite Marsh so far. It was good to have Fox and Bathgate back in the picture, and to be introduced to his mother. I found myself lost in a Google wormhole looking at cruises from the UK to NZ, it seems that today they take about 2 months. So although Alleyn was away for a year, he would have spent a large proportion of the year at sea, which explains the time that Troy found to paint his portrait.

As for the murder, the bitter coffee / aspirin / long sleep led me to thinking it was Basil. Will be interesting to see how the romance with Troy develops.


Bruce I finished it late, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the love interest, but thought it was a bit much that there’d be the mutual crush on the boat, and then they’d meet soon after for a murder.

The unraveling was more satisfactory because she wasn’t as obvious a suspect, although I did think her a possibility during the interview in the middle of the book.


Laura | 11 comments I am still behind with this challenge but I absolutely LOVED this book! I thought all the characters were very well developed (which I didn't find so much in Death in Ecstasy) and I was kept guessing until the end. And I'm so glad it wasn't Troy! :D

I missed out #5 in the series so may go back to that one now before moving on to #7.


Sandy | 3010 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I am still behind with this challenge but I absolutely LOVED this book! I thought all the characters were very well developed (which I didn't find so much in Death in Ecstasy) and I was kept guessi..."

They do get better and better!


Louise Culmer | 114 comments I quite enjoyed this one, some amusing characters, though I could have done without the romance, I generally prefer it when they don't lumber the detective with a love interest.


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