©1942 Ngaio Marsh; (P)2001 BBC Audiobooks Limited
A good, solid story. As usual, Marsh here excels at defining her characters. An interesting variation of the snowbound-with-a-murderer scenario. However, be warned: do NOT listen to this book before reading/listening to "Overture to Death". In the author's world, "Death and the Dancing Footman" takes place a few years later than "Overture to Death" and characters make references to events in the earlier case that could spoil your enjoyment.
A combustible mix of quirky individuals gather for a weekend house party. Their intertwined histories, jealousies, resentments, and passions spiral into murder. All the classic elements of the Golden Age mystery are here, realized ingeniously. Plot, character, and writing are rich in colorful detail. Narration is elegant, with each character's individuality realized with perfect nuance and consistency. Excellent choice for fans of Dorothy Sayers and P. D. James.
I have enjoyed other Ngaio Marsh books, so was disappointed in this one. None of the characters was likable and I lost interest in them, and lost interest in the plot.
The first half encompassed a story around characters that I did not like. The second half, I liked the characters. It was not up to my personal "mystery" standards. I love inspector Allyen so I tolerated this story. Sorry...the truth!
Absolutely! I have given copies of this book and Black as He's Painted, another Ngaio Marsh book, to many friends for Christmas. I love the premise that Marsh set up, where any one guest in the party may become the victim, as each person hates everyone else! The book is creative and enjoyable. It is a good example of a "cozy mystery"!
Marsh takes her time setting up the premise of the book and the character development, with all characters being complex and with plenty of motivation to kill anyone else in the snowed-in weekend party. Alleyn didn't even appear until the last third or so of the book. I can't tell you the most memorable parts in detail without giving away the victim and criminal, but the murder attempts and success, as well as the unveiling of the criminal were most dramatic and creative.
Certainly! I've listened to this book probably about a dozen times, and some have been in one setting, all 8 hours or so and all!
Dame Ngaio Marsh is considered to be one of the three queens of the golden age of mystery, along with Dame Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, but of all mystery writers, she does the best job of developing her characters effectively before the murder, so the mystery is based less on clues, psychology (AKA Hercule Poirot's "little gray cells"), or tracking down the thief than on the character of the people involved in the books. Well done!
I always enjoy a good cozy, and Marsh is one of the best at writing them. This effort has a lot to recommend it--intriguing characters, a glimpse into the "country house life," hints of WWII which was just beginning, and a good plot--but Alleyn comes into it so late that we don't get the full chance to enjoy him. The reader was fairly good, but his Viennese characters, especially Mme Liis, got annoying. Still, a pleasant way to get through March in Maine!
Veterinary Technician, book addict.
This is one of my favorite Ngaio Marsh stories and I am very happy to have it in audio. The preview snippet stops just before the principal narrator character speaks and his "voice" is very important to the book. The reader chose to give him a deep, quiet voice that is prefect for the character of an introspective dramatist that surprises everyone (including himself) by being a tower of strength.
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