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Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn #25)
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Ngaio Marsh Buddy Reads > A Clutch of Constables - SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 9617 comments Mod
Welcome to our continuation of Ngaio Marsh as Buddy Reads.

As even two years was not enough to finish the adventures of Roderick Alleyn, we will continue the series here, with a title each month.

The remaining titles are:

Remaining Ngaio Marsh titles are:

25. (Jan) Clutch of Constables (1968)
26. (Feb) When in Rome (1968)
27. (March) Tied Up in Tinsel (1972)
28. (April) Black As He's Painted (1974)
29. (May) Last Ditch (1976)
30.(June) A Grave Mistake (1978)
31. (July) Photo Finish (1980)
32. (August) Light Thickens (1982)
33. (Sept) Money in the Morgue (2018) (with Stella Duffy)

We start 2020 with A Clutch of Constables and Troy taking a pleasant cruise on the river...

Please feel free to post spoilers in this thread.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1945 comments I liked this one, and although it was a Troy story, Alleyn was still there early on. I enjoyed the humour between Alleyn and the officer during Alleyn's "lecture", where the officer reminded me of an over excited school boy who could answer all the questions. I just wish Marsh wouldn't try to write her version of accents. We had that again from the various country policeman along the river.
There were a lot of convincing red-herrings along the way, however I did manage to identify the murderer, but that was from a throw-away utterance earlier on.


Louise Culmer | 109 comments I quite enjoyed this one, an interesting story and unusual setting, and I didn’t guess what was going on, which is always satisfactory. This is the only one I’ve read I think without the obligatory pair of young lovers. I was a bit disappointed that there had to be yet another silly neurotic spinster though, a caricature Marsh was over fond of.


Tracey | 246 comments An enjoyable trip along the Norfolk Broads. Carey Bard seemed to good to be true, which raised my suspicions. Though plenty of red herrings, which made me suspect he wasn't working alone.

And we got to discover that Fox is actually Teddy (Edward Walter).


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1945 comments Yes, I prefer him being a "Teddy" I'm not keen on "Foxkin" when I read it.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8592 comments Mod
Yes, nice to find out Fox's first name after all this time!


Susan | 9617 comments Mod
Perhaps 'Foxkin,' was a little 1930's? Marsh seems to have been a little more successful, than some GA authors, at modernising her mysteries. She has, at least, tried to engage with the modern world, a little less grumpily than Christie did. That is not a criticism of Agatha, by the way, as I am easily as grumpy :)


Diane | 62 comments I really liked this plot with all its twists and red herrings and I was leaning toward the correct one for the murder! That is rare for me. I am usually clueless.


message 9: by Nick (new) - added it

Nick | 110 comments I enjoyed this one. The structure meant that right from the start we were trying to work out which of those on the Zodiac was the Jampot. Unfortunately, this was too easy. Alleyn noted that he knew about the Faberegé jewel before he should have; Caley Bard claimed that she told him about it, but Troy had told Miss Rickerby-Carrick she shouldn’t tell anyone about it. So he was guilty unless Miss Rickerby-Carrick had ignored Troy’s advice. Actually, I was more convinced simply because Caley Bard regularly ordered the others to shut up when they might be about to say too much, indicating he was the boss in the conspiracy.


Tara  | 761 comments It was a bit of a stretch that our criminal mastermind was an amateur lepidopterist, and was able to assume the identity of a famous one who just happened to be out of the country at the time (although it is a good example of the risk of such a ploy, and where it could realistically go wrong). I would also assume that their gang would have been large enough to book up an entire cruise (given the passenger list was so small), rather than risk having interlopers who could become suspicious.
But all in all, it was a fun read, and a real page turner for me. I also found it believable that Troy would be wary of strange goings-on (being the wife of a police detective), but also hesitant to make a fuss over what seemed to be nothing when she explained it out loud. I could see all of us feeling foolish in such circumstances.


ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments The structure of this mystery was a welcome break from the norm. And I too suspected 'Caley' from the start as Jampot. He just didn't seem quite quite for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like previous comments have said, Marsh's writing got better in the latter Alleyn mysteries, unlike Martha Grimes' Jury series which plummeted quickly after #6 IMHO.


message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8592 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "I would also assume that their gang would have been large enough to book up an entire cruise (given the passenger list was so small), rather than risk having interlopers who could become suspicious...."

Totally agree! I couldn't understand why they allowed random people to get in the way of their fiendish plot. The lepidopterist point had escaped me, but I think you have a good point there!


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

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1945 comments I thought from the beginning when Troy had taken someone's place that they must have all been in on it.


Tara  | 761 comments Jill wrote: "I thought from the beginning when Troy had taken someone's place that they must have all been in on it."

It was fun trying to figure out who the one innocent person was rather than the guilty one!


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