Alleyn performs his mission so successfully that on the night of the Ng'ombwanan Embassy's reception, the house and grounds are stiff with police. However, an assassin does strike, and Alleyn discovers a wealth of suspects in a coterie of ex-colonials residing in the very shadow of the Embassy.
©1973, 1974 Ngaio Marsh; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Nadia May is nothing short of extraordinary in this complicated mystery....Every character's eccentricity is explored and appropriately interpreted, adding spice, humor, and authenticity to a proper British mystery." (AudioFile)
"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." (New York)
"The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress." (The Sun)
Since I am not healthy enough to read print versions of books because of extreme migraines, I can't answer this question, but I can tell you that Nadia May is one of the best narrators I've heard, and I have 640 titles in my library, in addition to hundreds of copies of audio books on CD or cassette, so I qualify as an expert in narrators.
I always enjoy the great characterizations that Marsh creates, with the mysteries being centered upon the natures of her characters, including, especially in this book, Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn and his famous artist wife, Agatha Troy. This book particularly creates some memorable characters in the Boomer (the president of Ng'ombwana and the former classmate of Alleyn), Mr. Whipplestone (a former diplomat to Ng'ombwana now retired and involved in the case) and his helpful kitty Lucy Locket, and the piggish siblings the Sanskrits.
This may be influenced by all the other books I've heard Nadia May narrate, but I love her characterization of Agatha Troy Alleyn! But that may be related to just how much I love Marsh's drawing of the character in the first place!
It is one of my 2 favorite Ngaio Marsh books (along with Death and the Dancing Footman). The book contains many angles to appreciate, with mystery, individual characterization, political intrigue, and a possible crime/hate group ring! I consider Ngaio Marsh to be one of the best writers of "cozy mysteries," and this is high on my list of favorites!
I love this book so much that I have given copies of it to several friends who are now big fans of Ngaio Marsh as a result!
I also appreciated the positive angle that Marsh took on race relations at a time when it was not so politically correct to show equality between blacks and whites. Marsh shows this same racial consciousness in Clutch of Constables.
I would recommend this book to anyone. Though set in the early 1970s, it is perfectly understandable and its themes of racism, tyranny, and friendship are as much to the point now as then.
Though we usually can count on Ngaio Marsh to limit the body count to unpleasant characters, there were sufficient surprises here for anyone.
She is a fabulous reader, giving each character a distinctive voice, and able to read the narrative with a fine understanding of its meaning.
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