Reading the Detectives discussion

Spinsters in Jeopardy (Roderick Alleyn #17)
This topic is about Spinsters in Jeopardy
25 views
Ngaio Marsh Buddy Reads > Spinsters in Jeopardy (1953) (aka The Bride of Death) by Ngaio Marsh

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Our May Challenge Title is Spinsters in Jeopardy (1953) (aka The Bride of Death) by Ngaio Marsh, the 17th Roderick Alleyn mystery.

Inspector Alleyn has decamped for the South of France for a family vacation. Well, that and a little official poking around. Unfortunately, the object of his poking the cult-ish denizens of a sinister and luxurious chateau are not fond of being poked, and they have a particularly unpleasant way of getting their point across. More a thriller than a whodunit, this is a fresh take for Marsh, while retaining the cleverness and vivid characterizations that her fans demand.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread. Thank you.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Welcome to our latest Ngaio Marsh challenge title.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8320 comments Mod
This is very much a thriller rather than a mystery - doesn't seem at all characteristic of Marsh! I found it quite an entertaining read but not one of her best, and I was very surprised to see Alleyn taking both Troy and their unbelievably precocious son, Ricky, off on an investigation with him - what could possibly go wrong?!

I kept wondering how old Ricky was supposed to be, and was very surprised to see that he was only six!


Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I feel we missed 6 - 7 years of their lives as last I remember Alleyn was asking Fox to be godfather.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Yes, Ricky appeared fully formed, as it were. He is the typical child from an author who had no children :)


Bicky | 332 comments I know, Marsh belongs to her own tim but I cannot resist.

.Describing a person who is clearly a villain: 'He was really extremely large: his size and his padded voice and his smell, which was compounded of hair-lotion, scent and something that reminded her of the impure land-breeze from an eastern port, all flowed over her.


message 7: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 630 comments Bicky wrote: "I know, Marsh belongs to her own tim but I cannot resist.

.Describing a person who is clearly a villain: 'He was really extremely large: his size and his padded voice and his smell, which was com..."


Probably Great Yarmouth ...


Bicky | 332 comments Rosina wrote: "Bicky wrote: "I know, Marsh belongs to her own tim but I cannot resist.

.Probably Great Yarmouth ... "


I did not think of that.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8320 comments Mod
Bicky wrote: "I know, Marsh belongs to her own tim but I cannot resist.

.Describing a person who is clearly a villain: 'He was really extremely large: his size and his padded voice and his smell, which was com..."


I noticed this too - quite a lot of these kinds of comments about this particular "foreigner" in this book, unfortunately, as with a lot of books from the period, though fortunately not all authors included such a lot of stereotyping.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Yes, lots of stereotyping. It seems to work in favour for the female characters though, who get to be exotic and emotional, rather than slightly seedy :)


message 11: by Bicky (new) - rated it 1 star

Bicky | 332 comments The premise for this book is just silly. Imagine sending a well known policeman with a famous wife on an undercover mission! I had the impression that England had no shortage of intelligent people who could talk like educated idiots when called upon to do so.

On top of that Alleyn starts dropping the name Garbel around without having made even a perfunctory enquiry from the locals.


Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I'm glad this wasn't the first Alleyn I read as I doubt I would have read a second. I liked our crime fighting team but the villains and the plot, not so much.


message 13: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8320 comments Mod
I liked Troy coming in so much, but the plot was just completely ludicrous - silly, as you say, Bicky! Marsh must have been tempted to do something different and get in on the lighthearted thrillers which were popular around this era as well as mysteries, I suppose.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
This is the sort of plot which, very nearly, put me off Campion.


message 15: by Bicky (new) - rated it 1 star

Bicky | 332 comments Judy wrote: "Marsh must have been tempted to do something different and get in on the lighthearted thrillers which were popular around this era as well as mysteries, I suppose. .."

I agree as to the temptation but lighthearted?


message 16: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8320 comments Mod
Well, I thought some of the bits with Ricky were lighthearted - maybe bizarre is a better word for some of the other plot elements!


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
There never seemed to be much sense of danger, did there? It was as though Marsh had tiptoed into dangerous territory, but felt really uncomfortable with it and wanted to reassure the reader.


Lesley | 383 comments As I was reading I wondered just what Marsh was doing with this book. She has incorporated nearly everything possible in this story - murder, gangs, drug peddling, drug taking, smuggling, kidnapping ... It seemed to me she had either decided to try out something less formulaic to what she had become known for, or her publisher had 'encouraged' her to move away from the traditional murder mystery, maybe to boost sales?
To me the writing style didn't seem like her normal. She definitely didn't feel comfortable.

It was a good story and moved along at a good pace even though at times it stretched the imagination. I have to say I was quite pleased when Ricky was kidnapped and we got a break from his obnoxious precociousness.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8320 comments Mod
I agree that Marsh is way out of her comfort zone here, Lesley.

Would anybody like to see more of Ricky in future books? I'm not sure - I feel he is a very unbelievable six-year-old, but might be more interesting as he gets older - and he does show a different side to Alleyn and Troy.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
I don't think Marsh knew how to portray Troy as a mother. Half the time she was, understandably, panicked and the rest she was standing back, thinking how she would like to paint someone. It was all very odd.


Tara  | 741 comments I was just grateful for the break from the formulaic plot of most of her mysteries, so even though it was beyond belief, it was still entertaining. Raoul made quite the good sidekick, and hopefully he will turn up in future books. Ricky was at times obnoxious, but not unusual for children at that age. I wonder if he'll be a teenager by the next one.


back to top