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A Man Lay Dead | [Ngaio Marsh]

A Man Lay Dead

The first of Ngaio Marsh's 32 acclaimed mystery novels, this introduces the continuing detective protagonist, Sir Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard. Five guests gather at Sir Hubert Handesley's country house party for the amusing parlor game of "Murder". But they aren't laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse: the handsome and mysterious Charles Rankin with a dagger in his back.
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Publisher's Summary

The first of Ngaio Marsh's 32 acclaimed mystery novels, this introduces the continuing detective protagonist, Sir Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard. Five guests gather at Sir Hubert Handesley's country house party for the amusing parlor game of "Murder". But they aren't laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse: the handsome and mysterious Charles Rankin with a dagger in his back. Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to find the butler missing, alibis for all the suspects, and an intricate puzzle of betrayal. Thus begins his search for the key player in this deadly game.

©1934, 1970 Ngaio Marsh; (P)1994, 2000 Chivers Audio Books

What the Critics Say

"James Saxon narrates with a wonderful British accent and perfect pacing to move the story through its startling revelations and subtle suggestions." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (170 )
5 star
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3.8 (64 )
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3.9 (59 )
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Performance
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  •  
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 08-09-07
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 08-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not the place to start with Ngaio Marsh"

    I am a big Marsh fan, and ordinarily I'd recommend beginning with the first book in any series. This book, however, is an exception. If you have never read any Ngaio Marsh, I beg that you NOT start with "A Man Lay Dead"--- unless you are a devotee of the E. Phipps Oppenheim school of writing. This book is all too clearly a first novel. Begin with "Death in a White Tie" instead, then return to this book when you have a better feel for the author's detective and can enjoy it purely for its role in the filling in of some early details of Miss Marsh's characters.

    The narrator is excellent, but there is only so much a narrator can do to overcome the limitations of the material.

    35 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Winterrowd Bluffton, IN USA 01-26-09
    Alan Winterrowd Bluffton, IN USA 01-26-09 Member Since 2006

    Boomcoach

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Clearly a first book"

    This story was read well, and the character will eventually grow into one of my favorites, but this book clearly shows that it was an initial effort. The story wanders along, with few interesting characters, until a denouement that is quite unsatisfying. There are better N. Marsh stories out there, I would suggest you find them instead of this weak offering.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Wildwood, MO, United States 05-01-12
    Kathy Wildwood, MO, United States 05-01-12 Member Since 2010

    I love to read, fly and play tennis. I always have a book and an audible book going at the same time. I'm a mystery/thriller junky.

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    "A good first in series"

    I enjoyed this story. It will keep me coming back for more Detective Alleyn. Well written so you can't figure out who did it. Lots of possibilities so keep you guessing.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bellevue, WA, United States 10-29-12
    Linda Bellevue, WA, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Saxon and Marsh are Unbeatable"

    If you're looking for a listen that's more entertaining than you had any right to expect, select any mystery written by Ngaio Marsh and narrated by James Saxon. This book introduces the suave and brilliant Detective Roderick Alleyn and his sometimes-sidekick Nigel Bathgate the journalist. There's always a bit of romance and always, always, a cast of characters you'd swear you met in another life. James Saxon's accents are marvelous. I especially enjoy his lady-voices, which warble and pitch to great effect.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie TOPEKA, KANSAS, United States 10-14-13
    Stephanie TOPEKA, KANSAS, United States 10-14-13 Member Since 2011
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    "an good English country mystery"

    these books continued to get better and better as with most authors. For a good story without blood thunder and sex but rather good story lines with interesting plots give them a try.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States 02-25-13
    Marianne PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "good old fashioned British mystery"
    If you could sum up A Man Lay Dead in three words, what would they be?

    better then Agatha Christie


    What other book might you compare A Man Lay Dead to and why?

    Similar in style to Margery Allingham


    What about James Saxon’s performance did you like?

    I love his voices. He is a good actor


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    too long, but could not wait to get back to it


    Any additional comments?

    good escapist mystery

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ladybug Nampa, Idaho 02-19-13
    Ladybug Nampa, Idaho 02-19-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Entertaining, relatively light murder mystery"

    I had seen the TV version first, so that affected my involvement in the story. Still, it was diverting to listen to while I did some sewing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Townsend Pearland, TX, United States 10-16-09
    Townsend Pearland, TX, United States 10-16-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Nice little period-piece"

    If you are looking for an edge-of-the-seat, can't-put-it-down mystery. look elsewhere; that's not what Ngaio Marsh did. There is a mystery, and it offers a few twists and surprises, but read (or listen) for the characters. Marsh liked to take a group of eccentric people and close them up in a British country estate for a few days of festivities, then let us watch them interact, murder and all. This was Marsh's first novel, and not my favorite; still, I enjoyed it. The narrator is good: the story is dialogue-driven and the voices are generally well-delineated enough to distinguish the speakers. One caveat: the Russian visitor's accent pretty much drove me up the wall; fortunaterly, someone interrupted every time he opened his mouth.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa Dayton, OH, United States 06-23-14
    lisa Dayton, OH, United States 06-23-14 Member Since 2011

    Chronic multi-tasker; Audible feeds my addiction to well loved genres, and allows me to explore new, unexplored arenas

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    "Better than a sleeping pill...... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
    What would have made A Man Lay Dead better?

    The characters were ANNOYING...... I really couldn't care what happened to any of them


    What was most disappointing about Ngaio Marsh’s story?

    I was completely BORED...


    How could the performance have been better?

    For me, one of the worst narrators on audible.... the characterisations were extremely campy, overly affected, and jarring to listen to. Completely distracting...


    Any additional comments?

    I had heard Ngaio Marsh compared to Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Sayer. Not even close.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Ginney Las Vegas, NV 05-01-12
    L. Ginney Las Vegas, NV 05-01-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Yes - a First But a Great Beginning!"

    As a couple of reviewers have mentioned, this IS the first novel with Marsh's fabulous gentleman detective Alleyn. What a beginning it is, though. You meet Alleyn in this book and you can already see that this is a man that you will enjoy reading about. James Saxon! What can I say? This man reads several of the stories in the series and he knows just how to portray the leading ladies. I have listened to this story more than once and I love to come back to these and listen to them in (gasp!) order. Enjoy them as you like but don't miss out on Alleyn's debut!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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