The Lampreys revel in their eccentricity and entertain their guests with complicated charades. But when one game goes wrong and rich Uncle Gabriel is found murdered in a most grizzly manner, the only person capable of solving the crime is Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn.
©1941 Ngaio Marsh; (P)2009 Hachette Digital
I enjoyed this book, but I only got this version because there was no unabridged version available. This is an interesting book, with some wonderfully creapy bits toward the end. It is also very well read by Anton Lesser.
My only problem is that I just keep wondering "what did they leave out?". I want the unabridged version. I have looked around for it in other places, I and I just can't find one. I would really appreciate it if Audible could get, or produce, an unabridged version of this book.
Nagio Marsh is perhaps on one of the least well-known of the Golden Age mystery writers, but her plots are always well-knitted and her characters intriguingly quirky. They don't come any more eccentric than the Lamprey family, from whom the title comes, and her device of inserting the shrewd, but unsophisticated New Zealander allows for telling commentary on both the other charaters and English society in a gentle manner. The murder is suitabley gruesome and mysterious,. The murderer is not at all obvious and yet clearly indicated in hindsight, a feat easier to read than to write. I certainly recommend this book as one of the author's best.
Marsh's estimable hero, the upper-class, oh-so-suave Roderick Alleyn, does become a little tiresome, but the fault is in the writing. Alleyn needs a few faults and foibles to be truly lovable. The performance itself is workmanlike and enjoyable.
Wonderful story. Quaint lovable characters. Lots of suspects and a few red herrings. Everything a good mystery should be, and executed nicely as well.
"Not a Surfeit of Lampreys"
I am not a great fan of Ngaio Marsh's novels - though I am not sure why. They are always intelligent and well written, if not very taxing.
So why did I download this one? I had heard the Radio 4 drama and quite liked it. It was an abridged version - so it wouldn't be too long if I didn't like it. But the main reason was that Anton Lesser was the narrator.
I have to say that narration brought the whole novel to life for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give it a try and I am sure you will enjoy it.
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