Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: A Man Lay Dead

A Man Lay Dead A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have fond memories of Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn, so I picked up this book, in which he makes his debut, with a great deal of eager anticipation. The image I had of Alleyn was that of a sophisticate, well-mannered sleuth from Scotland Yard. I don't know whether my memory is all-wrong or whether he changes in the course of the series but in this he is pretty facetious, even over-bearing and rude at times.

The novel itself is a mish-mash. It begins well in a country house where guests assemble, one of them with a Mongolian dagger, to play a game of Murder. And we all know how that game would end, don't we? With hardly any suspects, it is not too hard to solve the mystery. But the writer tries to confuse the issue with some Russian brotherhoods operating in England. In fact, the book reminded me of another boring book: Margery Allingham's The Crime at Black Dudley.

*

First Line: NIGEL BATHGATE, in the language of his own gossip column, was "definitely intrigued" about his week-end at Frantock.

Series: Roderick Alleyn #1

Source: Open Library
Other books read of the same author: (Among others) Artists in Crime.

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6 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the complications, Neeru. Still, I have to say, the country house setting is great, I think. And Marsh wrote, in my opinion, some fine dialogue.

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  2. I recently read the first Dorothy Sayers and was similarly saddened.

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  3. Someone just donated 8 Ngaio Marsh mysteries to the Library Book Sale and I bought them all. I'll have to check to see if A MAN LAY DEAD is among them.

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  4. It's not my favorite Ngaio Marsh book, but still I'd rather read it than lots of the stuff being published today in the guise of 'mystery'. Still, I understand your reservations, Neer. It's not topnotch. For that you have to go to DEATH OF A PEER or DIED IN THE WOOL or ARTISTS IN CRIME or A CLUTCH OF CONSTABLES or NIGHT AT THE VULCAN or OVERTURE TO DEATH or....well, you get my drift. :)

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  5. It's not my favorite Ngaio Marsh book, but still I'd rather read it than lots of the stuff being published today in the guise of 'mystery'. Still, I understand your reservations, Neer. It's not topnotch. For that you have to go to DEATH OF A PEER or DIED IN THE WOOL or ARTISTS IN CRIME or A CLUTCH OF CONSTABLES or NIGHT AT THE VULCAN or OVERTURE TO DEATH or....well, you get my drift. :)

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