Superintendent Roderick Alleyn, brought to Italy by an international probe of drug smuggling, finds himself in the middle of the most baffling case of his career, an intricate web of "Anybody's Guess" in which each and every one of his suspects could be a killer, or a victim. Or both.
©1971 Ngaio Marsh; (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks
"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around". (New York)
One of the rich crop of British (well Australian by birth in this case)"lady" mystery writers, Marsh sometimes can be a bit tardy in getting her stories going. Not in this one. It hands us a villain quickly and moves right along with a nice balance of quirky characters and a bit of romance without our having to sit through yet another of those sex scenes thrown in to add spice and readers. (At my age, my only reaction is "cut out that mush and get back to the story".)
The setting is Rome and Alleyn is working undercover cooperating with the Italian police.We do not get a travel tour but as in the later, very popular books by Elizabeth Peters (another of my favorites)the key action takes place underground in several archaeologic layers of resurrected churches.The writing is highly professional and interesting, the reading by Nadia May is up to her customary high standards. The book was originally published in 1971 and thus omits some of the customary "feminine touches" which mark the books by the current crop of (often very fine) mystery writers. Alleyn's artist wife, Troy, appears only off-stage in the letters written to her by her detective husband.
I can recommend this to people who want some good listening without high drama, intense suspense, or realistic coverage of death. Fans of Marsh will be happy to hear a good reading of a book they may have read years ago.
Ngaio Marsh is reliably great. this unusual story (for her) is set in Italy, and this country's color and life are well presented, despite the poor Italian language skills of the reader. Inspector Alleyn, undercover, at his charming best.
Not wanting to waste a credit, I continued listening to this book to the bitter end. I had never read anything by this author and was looking for a mystery. I found it uninteresting and almost annoying. That's it for this author.
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