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Money in the Morgue
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Ngaio Marsh Buddy Reads > Money in the Morgue - SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 9435 comments Mod
Welcome to our last Ngaio Marsh mystery - published in 2018 and started by Ngaio Marsh, but completed by Stella Duffy.

Inspector Alleyn just wants to write a letter to his wife, but World War II, for one, keeps intruding. It’s war-work, after all, that has brought Alleyn to this seedy hospital in New Zealand’s hinterlands, and it’s the war that has left the hospital swimming in convalescing soldiers – noisy, often drunk, and always over-interested in the nurses. Nor is the weather helping. A storm has killed the electrical power, leaving Alleyn, the soldiers, the medical staff and all stranded in the dark….with a murderer. It’s a good thing for everyone, including the reader, that there’s a Scotland Yard detective on hand.

We will, of course, cover any other additions to the series which may crop up...

Feel free to post spoilers in this thread.

Tracey | 236 comments There were similarities with Photo Finish - stranded due to a storm in NZ. I felt myself getting a little lost in those caves at points during the book. And I thought matron doing a Juliet and faking her death was unbelievable.

At some points Alleyn makes references what would happen if this was detective fiction, which I'm not sure I remember Marsh writing like this.

Does anyone know where the join in the book is?

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8435 comments Mod
Tracey wrote: "Does anyone know where the join in the book is?..."

In this interview Stella Duffy says she was given the first 3 1/2 chapters and some notes, but she added some material into the completed chapters.

Susan | 9435 comments Mod
I would agree that, overall, the ending was similar to Photo Finish. Although, I suppose it made sense that Stella Duffy tried to make it true to the author. At least that meant she did some research, unlike the poor effort I read featuring an unbelievable Poirot. At the point where he went for a walk to get some fresh air, so did I!

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1874 comments I have finished this now. If this had been a Duffy book, I would have thought that it was not a bad plot and story, but I'm afraid I just didn't find that it read like a genuine Marsh. The tone of the book gives this away. Duffy has just not captured the personality of Alleyn.

Victoria | 28 comments I have to agree Jill, I didn't get the same feel from it that I get from a Marsh book.

Apart from the feel, I had a problem with the actual real murder being referred to only in passing and the matron faking her death was just strange.

But, it was way, way better than Sophie Hannah's Poirot - I've only read one of those and have no intention of reading any more of them!

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8435 comments Mod
Must admit I haven't got round to rereading this - I realised that I only have access to the audiobook which would take me a long time to listen to! But I have looked up a few reviews to refresh my memory - here are the links for anyone else who is interested. Sorry Susan, The Guardian review is by Sophie Hannah, so you may want to skip that one;)


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8435 comments Mod
Reading comments here, I do remember that I also found the matron faking her death extremely weird and unlikely - faked deaths in general are one of my least favourite plot twists!

Lesley | 383 comments Enjoyment of the book finished after the first three chapters for me. These were the chapters known to have been written by Marsh, and from there the 'feel' of the story changed. Besides the somewhat questionable faked death of the Matron, the whole tone of the book felt wrong. It felt as though Duffy was forcing the style of writing to be from the era, but lapsing into modern day. I also wondered if Duffy wrote it as though it was from the decade of publication which would account for some of the slang terms she included.
I think we have all noted through the two years of reading the Marsh books that even though we were moving into more modern times in terms of publication, the later books felt as though Marsh was still writing in earlier times.
Besides those criticisms already drawn by most of us, I was very disappointed in Duffy's depiction of Alleyn. He seemed to be a very different person, and I wondered if she'd actually read the earlier books and studied his character, or just put her idea of what he'd be like on him.

To be honest I'm not a big fan of authors taking over other's works following their deaths, so maybe it was never going to be a winner for me, but I do admire Duffy's writing of her own creations. And, I'm pleased I got to read all of Marsh's work in sequence with the group.

message 10: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8435 comments Mod
It's a while now since I read it, Lesley, but I do remember thinking it just didn't have that Marsh feel for me and felt a bit forced, as you say.

I am quite often tempted to try other writers' continuations of authors' characters but often end up being disappointed, though I did like some of Jill Paton Walsh's Wimsey books.

I'm interested to hear that you prefer Duffy's own books to this one - which ones would you recommend?

Lesley | 383 comments Judy wrote: "It's a while now since I read it, Lesley, but I do remember thinking it just didn't have that Marsh feel for me and felt a bit forced, as you say.

I am quite often tempted to try other writers' co..."

Judy, I have to admit I've not read that many of hers. What I have read is her earlier books in a series she begun around 1994 Calendar Girl about a female detective. I probably only because I was acquisitions librarian in a public library so read it because it came across my desk and roused my interest. I know I read the first 3, possibly the 4th, in the series, but I left public and went to work in an academic library about then so further books in the series didn't present themselves in front of me. Which I guess says they were good, but I wasn't inspired enough to go looking for new books.

A few years ago I was browsing the library shelves and came across an historical fiction written by her, London Lies Beneath which I quite liked.

Her writing of her own work is better than what she did with Money in the Morgue. To be fair, Duffy doesn't share the same philosophies as Marsh and in places that came through and spoiled the flow of the story for me. I don't think she had the same fondness for Alleyn and Marsh did, and that showed quite strongly. But she does know New Zealand well, so that helped with this story even though some of the slang had more of an Aussie ring to it.

message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8435 comments Mod
Thank you very much for the thoughts on Stella Duffy, Lesley. I've just had a look at my library's ebooks and I see they have a few in the Calendar Girl series. I will give the first one a try - thank you. I will also look out for London Lies Beneath, as I do enjoy a lot of historical fiction.

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