©1938 Ngaio Marsh; (P)1994 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Artists in Crime is Miss Marsh's best....Her touch is light, without lapsing into the facetious, her characterization excellent; her plot neat and precise." (Spectator)
I've become enamored with Nagio Marsh having stumbled into listening to her books. If you like a good mystery with likeable characters and just the right number of clues, then you will like this book.
Ngaio Marsh creates another closed community, in this case, a group of artists studying together, in which disparate characters with outsized personalities and flaws compete for the reader's suspicions. The writing is a pleasure with both description and dialogue creating a vivid multi-layered fictional world. The narrator is superlative.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Ngaio Marsh was a better writer than Agatha Christie and created one of the early English aristocratic detectives. Urbane and self-effacing, Roderick Alleyn still stands up well against Elizabeth George's and Martha Grimes' modern examples.
"Artists in Crime" is one of the important series stories, as it introduces the character who will become the inspector's wife. A classic British whodunit from the 1930's, this is an ideal listen for those who appreciate the genre.
Nadia May has the perfect clear, crisp, no-nonsense voice for this kind of book. If you haven't yet discovered Marsh, this is a good place to begin.
This is not my favorite book in the series, but it is an important one to help establish background for later ones. I highly encourage the audience to read or listen to this series in order to avoid confusion and often characters re-appear in later books.
Overall this book is a nice classic mystery and fans of this age of mystery will enjoy it. I first started reading this series based on a recommendation for Agatha Christie fans and I have been hooked ever since. I have read and/or listened to many of the books multiple times.
The plot of this one runs from slow to medium but is well constructed if a bit overdramatic for my tastes. The biggest issue for me though is that I am not a huge fan of Nadia May's narration of this series. I much prefer James Saxon and I have a harder time staying engaged with her reading. The characters in this story are also harder to like, even the ones who reappear and I like much better later in the series. If this had been my first introduction to Marsh I am not sure I would have kept going, but being as it is the 6th book in the series (which I read in order), I kept reading. This book focuses quite a bit on Inspector Alleyn's personal life and there are some truly enjoyable scenes involving his mother which were my favorite moments of this book.
I didn't realize this was written in the 1930s. Mea culpa. It's vaguely interesting as a period piece, but it's not a great mystery or a great character study. I suppose it's almost good at both.
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