The police found the third corpse on a wharf in the pool of London, her body covered with flower petals and pearls. Once again, the killer walked away, singing. Within the hour he was safe at sea...and among his fellow passengers were four more potential victims.
Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.
©1958 Ngaio Marsh; (P)2002 Chivers Audio Books
"A vivid story." (AudioFile)
Singing in the Shrouds is an interesting shipboard variety of the classic British detective story. Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds himself traveling incognito amongst a set of passengers, one of whom may (or may not) be the Flower Murderer, an infamous serial killer. There are a limited number of suspects, which include a plus-sized femme fatale, an alcoholic television personality, a retired schoolmaster, a priest, a psychiatrist, and more. I found myself really liking some of the characters and disliking others. To me, narrator James Saxon perfectly embodies the character of Alleyn and added to my enjoyment of this mystery.
Marsh was an artist as well as a writer, and she uses her artistic eye to bring the scenes to life. In particular, the fog-drenched opening scene brings the dockside setting to life; I can almost hear the slap of the water against the wharf and feel the fog against my skin. This artistic talent also makes her character descriptions more fully rounded than most, with far more depth of character provided to each suspect than is typical in other writers of this golden age of British mysteries.
The plot is quite clever. Marsh also had a background in the theater, and it really shows in the blocking of the story. First you are led to suspect one, then another, then another of the characters of being the murderer. Although I am usually surprised by the solution to a Ngaio Marsh mystery, this one was more startling than most. The entire story hinged mainly upon the character make-up of each member of the “cast” and the story affected me for quite some time after I listened to the ending. In fact I may need to hear it again, now knowing the solution! I highly recommend this story.
A great shipboard mystery with brilliant characterization, pace, and writing style. Fans of Marsh and Christie probably will be delighted with this book, too. Excellent narration with voices acted out.
I'm a fan of Golden Age mysteries, and this is one of my favorite Ngaio Marsh mysteries. James Saxon made it just as much a pleasure to listen to as it has been to reread for most of my life. Nowadays it seems a mystery isn't a mystery unless it has a serial killer in it, but Roderick Alleyn's detection of his serial killer is psychologically consistent, a rational study of clues. The shipload of passengers he is traveling with are colorful and interesting, reacting in their different ways to the situation and each other.
A cozy psychological mystery with a banal idea of psychology. Any "Law & Order" episode has more depth in the motivations. Plus, it's overwritten. The plot is encased in language, like a mirror in a fancy frame that does not reflect. The language is lovely, but its utility is missing, and this is, after all, a murder story.
Yes, because the author is great. She has passed away so all of her stories are great.
The gathering in the lounge after the murder on board.
No, but I could cry at the death of Denice.
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