©1934, 1970 Ngaio Marsh; (P)1994, 2000 Chivers Audio Books
"James Saxon narrates with a wonderful British accent and perfect pacing to move the story through its startling revelations and subtle suggestions." (AudioFile)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
better then Agatha Christie
Similar in style to Margery Allingham
I love his voices. He is a good actor
too long, but could not wait to get back to it
good escapist 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.
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.
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!
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