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Artists in Crime | [Ngaio Marsh]

Artists in Crime

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (140 )
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4.7 (120 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Charles Fearneyhough Olympia, WA 06-05-11
    Charles Fearneyhough Olympia, WA 06-05-11 Member Since 2009

    Chasman

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    "Aii! Abridged"

    I love the narrator but I forgot to check that this was an unabridged version. Sigh. Why would anyone even make an abridged recording?

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ailiw 05-14-12
    Ailiw 05-14-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing!"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elena Christchurch, New Zealand 03-16-12
    Elena Christchurch, New Zealand 03-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A good old-fashioned detective story"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Willard San Diego, CA USA 01-06-12
    Erin Willard San Diego, CA USA 01-06-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Ngaio Marsh and Benedict Cumberbatch together!"
    Would you listen to Artists in Crime again? Why?

    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.


    What about Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance did you like?

    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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    leora 12-12-11
    leora 12-12-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful read"
    Would you listen to Artists in Crime again? Why?

    Yes. Cumberbatch's read was exceptionally nuanced and interesting.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Benedict Cumberbatch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. He is always excellent. A truly gifted actor and reader.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wren Australia 10-30-10
    Wren Australia 10-30-10
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    "Very Enjoyable Indeed"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth McKenzie Everywhere, USA 10-07-13
    Beth McKenzie Everywhere, USA 10-07-13 Member Since 2012

    Down the rabbit hole into a ring a fire- the magic of words lifts me higher and higher.

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    "Classic Story-Brilliant Narration-Abridged @:^("

    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 02-07-13
    Lisa 02-07-13
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    "Oh dear."
    What would have made Artists in Crime better?

    I loved this book when I read it. However, even the lovely voice of Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't save this slash-and-burn abridgement.


    What was most disappointing about Ngaio Marsh’s story?

    '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.


    What about Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance did you like?

    Benedict Cumberbatch is a great narrator but he's working without tools here.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    If you are a fan of the Queen of Crime, avoid this mess of of an abridgement, Run fast, run far.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia McBride 12-12-12
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    "Why, oh WHY, Abridged?"
    What did you love best about Artists in Crime?

    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.)


    What other book might you compare Artists in Crime to and why?

    Margery Allingham's "The Estate of the Beckoning Lady" or other Campion stories, Sayers's "Strong Poison" (but a simpler story).


    Which character – as performed by Benedict Cumberbatch – was your favorite?

    Roderick Alleyn.


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

    I would have liked to, but didn't.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. R. Boyev 12-12-12
    L. R. Boyev 12-12-12
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    "Like a dramatisation; outstanding narrator"
    If you could sum up Artists in Crime in three words, what would they be?

    Classic Detective Story


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Benedict Cumberbatch – was your favorite?

    A tie between Inspector Fox and the brief but hilarious appearance of Sonia's girlfriend (Bobbi?)


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    She died for art.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Malie Lalor
    UK
    1/23/14
    Overall
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    "Classic mystery, appealing detective, 5 star narrator"
    What did you like most about Artists in Crime?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Roderick Alleyn (the detective) - gentle, intelligent and humane.


    What does Benedict Cumberbatch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Lovely voice, and commitment to dramatizing all the characters subtly and skilfully. (Well, he is an excellent actor after all!)


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Wandworth, United Kingdom
    2/25/15
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Deena
    10/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Enjoyable listen with excellent characterisation."
    What made the experience of listening to Artists in Crime the most enjoyable?

    Excellent characterisation really bought story to life.


    Which character – as performed by Benedict Cumberbatch – was your favourite?

    Roderick - you can really immerse yourself in the rich flavour of this character.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I enjoyed the meeting of Roderick and Agatha in Suva.


    Any additional comments?

    Another enjoyable read from Marsh with the added bonus of the rich tones of Cumberbatch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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