It's a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess? And yet no one can be above suspicion.
©1938 Ngaio Marsh; (P)2008 Hachette Digital
I love the narrator but I forgot to check that this was an unabridged version. Sigh. Why would anyone even make an abridged recording?
He does so many different voices, I kept forgetting it was an audiobook and not a drama! Fun golden-age British mystery, and well edited- I didn't feel that I was missing anything. Brilliant!
I've been wanting to get acquainted with Ngaio Marsh's books for some time, but kept postponing it. In the end, this was the book I've decided to start with. And I've really enjoyed it.
It is a good old-fashioned detective story along the lines of Agatha Christie. A big house, a bunch of people come there for a short stay, and a murder. There is also a piquant bit of New Zealand flavour, as in all the books by Ngaio Marsh, I believe. I literally fell in love with the character of the gentleman detective Roderick Allein. (I am planning to dig up the old BBC series on the topic). And I definitely liked a bit of romance going on in the midst and despite all the grisly happenings.
Because this is an abridged version, some episodes and conclusions seem a bit abrupt, but cannot be helped, I suppose.
The narration by Benedict Cumberbatch is simply fantastic. The number of accents and voices he puts on here is really impressive, and I am definitely listening to the other two Ngaio Marsh's books read by him.
Ngaio Marsh is one of my very favorite authors. Her mysteries are tight, settings - 1930s and later, usually British - charming, detective and cronies are wonderful people with whom to spend time, and stories are a bit edgier than Christie's. We meet Agatha Troy in this book; she returns in subsequent Det. Alleyn mysteries. I reread Marsh books frequently, and now will re-listen as well.
He has a charming voice which is very easy to listen to and understand, and he does a nicely reasonable job of varying character voices. His female characters don't sound ridiculous, though his fortunately-infrequent attempt at voicing an American woman from the south is an unintentional riot.
Yes. Cumberbatch's read was exceptionally nuanced and interesting.
Not on the edge of my seat, no. That genre of detective fiction is not thrilling--it unfolds as we get to know the characters and put the pieces together.
Yes. He is always excellent. A truly gifted actor and reader.
Love the English country house mystery genre. So delightful because it's not of this time and place. Never crass or ultra violent. Eccentric. Always surprising. Marsh is a master.
I listened to this audiobook – read by the ever-wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch – in one sitting, and had a great deal of fun doing so. True, I did work out "whodunnit" before the detective himself did, but I didn't particularly mind, having grown rather fond of Alleyn, and therefore finding myself more than happy to excuse his slowness.
Besides, I simply enjoyed the world created in this tale. And the subtle romance. And the marvellous voice of the narrator, who rather surprised me with his ability to make me forget that there was just one man behind the multiplicity of characters. You know how it goes.
Down the rabbit hole into a ring a fire- the magic of words lifts me higher and higher.
When I started reading grown-up mysteries as opposed to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, books by Ngaio Marsh, Victoria Holt and Ellery Queen were all readily available in our home. It has been a wonderful re-introduction to old friends and the nuances that I didn't understand back then to listen to these classics recorded by modern narrators.
I very specifically chose this book to listen to Benedict Cumberbatch. Having read reviews concerning his extensive narration skills I chose to listen to an old favorite in a new voice. I was not disappointed except in the fact that I had not paid enough attention when I chose the book and did not realize it is an abridgment. I normally don't waste a credit or $$ on half a book.
That being said, the earlier reviews were correct. Mr. Cumberbatch's various voices are individuals and paint a personal picture of each character. Most of the characters are gruff and brusk men going about the business of investigation These differ significantly from each other and from the ladies and the tender scene that concludes the work.
I loved this book when I read it. However, even the lovely voice of Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't save this slash-and-burn abridgement.
'Hachette Audio UK' are very well named. Even the strong central whodunnit plot doesn't withstand the brute force they used to strip bare the original story.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a great narrator but he's working without tools here.
If you are a fan of the Queen of Crime, avoid this mess of of an abridgement, Run fast, run far.
As a devoted, not to say compulsive, fan of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn stories, I was delighted not to find a few on Audible, including two of my three favorites. ("Death of a Peer" is my personal favorite, if only for the characters, but "Death in a White Tie" is a very close second, and "Artists in Crime" a competitive third.) When I saw that they were narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch I couldn't believe how perfectly my stars had aligned. Like millions of others who discovered Cumberbatch through the Sherlock series, I'm going through a fairly craven withdrawal period just now while waiting for Series 3. Cumberbatch is wonderfully versatile and natural in all the parts, especially the male ones, and is perfect as Alleyn. His voice is rich and expressive and he has excellent control -- even minor hesitations help make a character's personality clearer. And as Alleyn he captures the character's combination of aristocratic gentility, urbanity, masculinity and keen, wry intelligence, mixed with just the right amount of diffidence and insecurity for this story. I wouldn't have trusted this sleuth to any less capable tonsils. (And I guessed right on how the name is pronounced! Close but not quite on Dame Marsh's first name! What a joy to hear them spoken them aloud.) The original story is well-plotted, the characters satisfying in the "English country house murder" style, and the budding love interest WOULD have been poignant, had the story not been abridged! These are such short novels to begin with that the abridgment cheats us a little of time to savor the building plot, characterizations and subplot. Given that these classic mysteries ARE short to begin with, abridging them is a real shame, and I think a missed opportunity. I'd love to hear Cumberbatch perform the other two Marshes available, but I hesitate to pay to hear an abridged version of books that I own and love in their entirety, just for the pleasure of hearing Cumberbatch's voice. (But it's tempting. Very.)
Margery Allingham's "The Estate of the Beckoning Lady" or other Campion stories, Sayers's "Strong Poison" (but a simpler story).
I would have liked to, but didn't.
I would be very grateful for more titles narrated by Cumberbatch. He would do a wonderful job with Allingham's Albert Campion, and could bring a new sexiness to Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey. He really should consider taking on the Conan Doyle cannon. More Marsh stories would be great, especially if unabridged.
Classic Detective Story
Roderick Alain; Although the author didn't spend an inordinate amount of text towards his inner dialogue, his actions and sense of humor were so well-demonstrated in the story I felt that I knew him very well by the end. This is the first Ngaio Marsh book I've read, so this has been my introduction to the character.
A tie between Inspector Fox and the brief but hilarious appearance of Sonia's girlfriend (Bobbi?)
She died for art.
I thought the narrator's voice acting, accents and characterizations were so good I forgot it was an audiobook; it was like a BBC dramatisation with a full cast.
"Classic mystery, appealing detective, 5 star narrator"
Clever mystery, along the lines of Dorothy L Sayers. Have now listened to a couple of others by Ngaio Marsh and they have also not disappointed. Looking forward to listening to more.
Roderick Alleyn (the detective) - gentle, intelligent and humane.
Lovely voice, and commitment to dramatizing all the characters subtly and skilfully. (Well, he is an excellent actor after all!)
"Abridged version - Well read but quite short !"
Love this story and very well read - but I did not (entirely my fault) realise it was the abridged version. Cuts out far too much of the characters personalities - the story is complete - but lacks the character based feel of the original book.
"Enjoyable listen with excellent characterisation."
Excellent characterisation really bought story to life.
Roderick - you can really immerse yourself in the rich flavour of this character.
I enjoyed the meeting of Roderick and Agatha in Suva.
Another enjoyable read from Marsh with the added bonus of the rich tones of Cumberbatch.
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