• Death and the Dancing Footman

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: James Saxon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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....

©1942 Original Text of 1942 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"On the plane of art." ( Tatler)
"She is astoundingly good." ( Daily Express)
"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." ( Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about Death and the Dancing Footman

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

NOT PHILIP FRANKS READING!!!

I love James Saxon reading Ngaio Marsh. I have every Marsh he's ever read that audible offers. However, Death and the Dancing Footman is not my favorite of his readings, which is why I thought I would have Philip Franks reading of it, as Philip Franks is a WONDERFUL reader and I hope that he will do every single one of Marsh's books for us in the near future. This, however, is NOT Philip Franks reading, it is James Saxon reading . Buyer beware.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Never guessed it!

Once again, she had me hooked all the way to the end wondering who did it and exactly how? A peculiar and unsettling set-up this time, tinged with wartime jitters, with lots of snow and a number of unlikable suspects. The dancing footman proves to be a key witness, but the few moments he witnesses are hard to piece together even after they are recapped over and over. This is okay, of course, for the story is meant to be intricate in that way. And despite the malevolent intentions of many, I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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Reader well past his best

What would have made Death and the Dancing Footman better?

Another reader!

What didn’t you like about James Saxon’s performance?

Mr Saxon's performance sounded as if he had just of the stage of a Victorian melodrama. His characterisation of the females was almost as bad as his German accent! I have only just recently finished a couple of Philip Franks renditions of Ngaio Marsh novels and the difference is extreme.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narrator is not Philip Franks

Philip Franks beautifully narrated two other books in this series, but not this one. The narrator is James Saxon. His style is far less natural and appealing.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This is the book of Ngiao Marsh’s which broke out as far as her language

Beautifully written. It’s the first of her books that I read and the first paragraph hooked me. A fantastic Country house murder with the snow storm that isolates the house from the outside world. Great stuff! Great production and reading.

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Ok but not great

Even tho the writing is as good as usual this one reads more like a contractual obligation with no really like able characters and a slightly boring mystery.

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classic manor house murder

A classic manor house murder in the play fair tradition. Beautifully acted by Saxon. Highly recommended

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The only Ngaio Marsh book I don't enjoy

I've been reading Ngaio Marsh books for years and have enjoyed them all, but somehow I missed "Death and the Dancing Footman", so I was delighted to see a previously unread (by me) Inspector Alleyn book here on audible.

Unfortunately, for me this book lacks the character and the spark of the author's other books. Sure, some are better than others, but for me, this one is the bottom of the barrel. The narrator wasn't bad, but the story never really pulled me in. Most of the characters were either blah or unpleasant, the concept is contrived - and I don't mind a contrived concept with great characters, but this wasn't that. And after throwing so many red herrings at us, some of which would have made for an interesting ending, the person I felt was the most obvious was who done it.

If you're looking for a classic who done it featuring a house party full of people who either don't know each other or hate each other, could be worth a listen.

I think I'll go re-listen to "Surfeit of Lampreys" to clean my palette.

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A perfect mystery!

Wow, this had it all! Clues, snowstorm, twists, characters! Loved it and would recommend to any who like a British house mystery.

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Great mystery

Ngaio Marsh again finds a fascinating way to subvert the conventions of the sleuth mystery. The reader is somewhat jowly, and not so great with the women, but very good with the men's voices. This is a fascinating story I never came close to anticipating the solution.

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  • Keithj
  • 06-26-16

Not much Alleyn in it.

The story rambles on from the beginning as do other books in the series, introducing characters and muddying the waters. So far, so usual but Alleyn appears very late in the proceedings and plays, I think, a lesser part than previously. The story is still a good one and the confusions are not resolved until the last few minutes but I didn't feel it was quite as good as the earlier books.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • M McKenzie
  • 12-01-15

Dissatisfaction incorrect narrator

Not the advertised narrator. This is narrated by James Saxon. Audible appear unable to correct this despite repeated complaint.

4 people found this helpful

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  • jim
  • 03-12-20

don't bother

Book one to book ten in this series are fabulous and easy to listen to but THIS one is not worth the effort, Started three times but could not pass chapter ten. It is overly complicated and painfully slow. I would like to return it, if I only KNEW how.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-30-20

Fine Traditional Murder Mystery!!

An excellent Golden Era murder/mystery, written by one of the finest writers of the genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 09-23-22

"I boggle at the cloak."

I first discovered Ms.Marsh's detective stories over half a century ago, was mesmerized by, and loved, them. Her characters spring to life, like watching them through a telecope, one which also allows for the conversations to be hrard, and her detailed accuracy of location, be it driving in a a snow and ice covered countryside to the interior of a house room bring the surrounding clearly into focus with minimum effort. Even though set in an earlier era - the isolated country house of seventy years ago - Death and the Dancing Doorman didn't even really feel dated. Despite the largely unpleasant characters within, the book was thoroughly enjoyable, a who-dun-it peppered with clues to allow the reader to get the solution before the reveal.

I have mixed feelings about the narrator, James Saxon, whose deep, rich timbre seemed very fitting for the time of original publication (1942), somewhat reminiscent of broadcasters of that era. Although giving a good performance, with fine upper class English accent except when a protagonist foreign accent was required,, and maintaining good verbal texture throuhout, a lighter timbre was needed to lift this story of the party arranged for drama deliberately gone horribly wrong.The

A very enjoyable read, overall, and recommended to all appreciating the closed house, who-dun-it detective novels, similar to, but arguably better than, Agatha Christie.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-30-21

My least favourite Audible Book

Story slow to get going. Allen didn't appear until last half of book. Narration was at times indistinct making it hard to distinguish between characters' names which were being discussed. I didn't find the plot plausible.

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  • Just Some Woman
  • 05-19-21

A superb reading of an excellent story

I much prefer Ngaio Marsh to Agatha Christie, and this is my favourite of her Inspector Alleyn books. Her story telling is wonderful and she creates a thoroughly authentic atmosphere. Although the culprit is perhaps the most obvious of her murderers, the story is so well told that it really doesn't matter. James Saxon is, as always, magnificent in his characterisations, and it really is easy to forget he is one man, rather than a whole cast.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-21

Death and the Dancing Footman

Intricately plotted, vividly written and richly portrayed by the reader, the late James Saxon. Another absorbing taken on the Alleyne series.

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  • Vanessa Young
  • 06-10-18

Ngaio Marsh: A Queen of Crime

If you enjoy Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie, you will probably enjoy Ngaio Marsh. The story is well read by James Saxon.