The crime scene was the stage of the Unicorn Theatre, when a prop gun fired a very real bullet; the victim was an actor clawing his way to stardom using bribery instead of talent; and the suspects included two unwilling girlfriends and several relieved blackmail victims. The stage is set for one of Roderick Alleyn's most baffling cases.
Ngaio Marsh’s most popular novel begins when a young New Zealander’s first contact with the English gentry is the body of Lord Wutherford - with a meat skewer through the eye.... The Lampreys had plenty of charm - but no cash. They all knew they were peculiar - and rather gloried in it. The double and triple charades, for instance, with which they would entertain their guests - like rich but awful Uncle Gabriel, who was always such a bore.
"Worth waiting for!!!"
The luxury mansion on New Zealand's Lake Waihoe was the ideal place for the world-famous soprano to rest after her triumphant tour. Chief Superintendent Alleyn and his wife were among the houseguests - but theirs was not a social visit. When tragedy struck, the peace of the island was shattered. With a houseful of suspects now isolated by one of the lake's sudden storms, Alleyn was to face one of his trickiest cases....
Wealthy Sir Hubert Handesley's original and lively weekend house parties are deservedly famous. To amuse his guests, he has devised a new form of the fashionable Murder Game, in which a guest is secretly selected to commit a 'murder' in the dark, and everyone assembles to solve the crime. But when the lights go up this time, there is a real corpse....
"Classic Upper Crust Mystery"
Holed up at Hilary Bill-Tasman's manor estate for Christmas, Troy Alleyn is to paint the man's portrait and, while she's there, view the Druid Christmas pageant. Along with a pack of eccentric guests, Troy enjoys the festivities, until one of the pageant's players mysteriously disappears into the snowy night
Sir John Phillips, the Harley Street surgeon, and his beautiful nurse, Jane Harden, are almost too nervous to operate. The emergency case on the table before them is the Home Secretary - and they both have very good, personal reasons to wish him dead. Within hours he does die, although the operation itself was a complete success, and Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn must find out why....
The poison was cyanide, slipped into the sacred wine of ecstasy just before it was presented to Miss Cara Quayne at the House of the Sacred Flame. The victim was a deeply religious initiate who had trained for a month for her last ceremony. She was also a very beautiful woman.... The suspects were the other initiates and the high priest. All claimed they were above earthly passions. But Cara Quayne had provoked lust, jealousy - and murder.
Beautiful Troy Alleyn, artist wife of Inspector Alleyn, had been warned about the famed old Shakespearean actor, and his eccentric household. But she was not prepared for their acts of malice and mischief.
"Visit Troy & Roderick Alleyn near the end of WWII"
A classic Ngaio Marsh novel in which a game of darts in an English pub has gruesome consequences. At the Plume of Feathers in south Devon one midsummer evening, eight people are gathered together in the taproom. They are in the habit of playing darts, but on this occasion an experiment takes the place of the usual game - a fatal experiment which calls for investigation.
The April Fool’s Day had been a roaring success for all, it seemed - except for poor Mr. Cartell, who had ended up in the ditch - forever. Then there was the case of Mr. Percival Pyke Period’s letter of condolence, sent before the body was found - not to mention the family squabbles. It was a puzzling crime for Superintendent Alleyn.
"The audiobook would have been better if Saxon narrated"
On a cold February night, the police find the third corpse on the quayside in the Pool of London, her body covered with flower petals and pearls. The killer walked away singing. When the cargo ship Cape Farewell sets sail, she carries nine passengers, one of whom is known to be the murderer. Which is why Superintendent Roderick Alleyn joins the ship at Portsmouth on the most difficult assignment of his professional career....
"Ending was Meh"
It was planned as an act of charity: a new piano for the parish hall, an amusing play to finance the gift. But its execution was doomed when Miss Campanula sat down to play. A chord was struck, a shot rang out and Miss Campanula was dead. A case of sinister infatuation for the brilliant Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn.
"A thoroughly entertaining read."
A touring theatre company in New Zealand forms the basis of one of Marsh’s most ambitious and innovative novels. New Zealand theatrical manager Alfred Meyer wanted to celebrate his wife’s birthday in style. The piece de résistance would be the jeroboam of champagne which would descend gently into a nest of fern and coloured lights on the table, set up on stage after the performance. But something went horribly wrong. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn witnessed it himself.
"Great Imagery of New Zealand"
Rickie Alleyn, son of the famed detective Roderick Alleyn, had taken to the peaceful Channel Island village of Deep Cove to write his book. However, soon enough the tedium of provincial life threatens to send him packing - until, that is, he finds a dead stablehand, and the sleepy community's world is upturned. His father is called to take proceedings into hand, but as a darker side to island life emerges, one of illegal drugs and smuggling, Rickie goes missing.
Dreams of stardom had lured Martyn Tarne from faraway New Zealand to make the dreary, soul-destroying round of West End agents and managers in search of work. The Vulcan Theatre had been her last forlorn hope, and now, driven by sheer necessity, she was glad to accept the humble job of dresser to its leading lady. And then came the eagerly awaited opening night.
"Intensely written, performed and enjoyed"
One of Ngaio Marsh’s most famous murder mysteries, which introduces Inspector Alleyn to his future wife, the irrepressible Agatha Troy. It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model’s pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been reenacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed forever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. It’s a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn.
The elderly Emily Pride is perfectly pleased to have inherited an island, even if her starchy pragmatism is ever so faintly appalled by the Pixie Falls spring and its reported miraculous healing properties. But really, the locals' attempts to capitalize on the 'miracles' are entirely too tacky - Ye Olde Gift Shoppe, the neon signs…not on Miss Emily’s watch, thank you.
"Murder in the Highlands"
A body in the back of a taxi begins an elegantly constructed mystery, perhaps the finest of Marsh’s 1930s novels. The season had begun. Débutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend, Lord Robert Gospell, at the scene. But someone else got there first....
"Terrible sound quality ruins the experience"
A spa stay turns into a homicidal holiday.... A bit snobbish and a trifle high strung, Sybil Foster prides herself on owning the finest estate in Upper Quintern and hiring the best gardener. In fact she is rapturous over the new asparagus beds when a visit from her unwelcome stepson sends her scurrying to a chic spa for a rest cure, a liaison with the spa's director...and an apparent suicide. Her autopsy holds one surprise, a secret drawer a second.
A winter weekend ends in snowbound disaster in a novel which remains a favourite among Marsh readers. It began as an entertainment: eight people, many of them enemies, gathered for a winter weekend by a host with a love for theatre. They would be the characters in a drama that he would devise. It ended in snowbound disaster. Everyone had an alibi - and most had motives as well. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn, when he finally arrived, knew it all hung on Thomas, the dancing footman....
"NOT PHILIP FRANKS READING!!!"