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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1939 Original Text of 1939 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Admirably mysterious." ( Daily Mail)
"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." ( New York magazine)

What listeners say about Overture to Death

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Story, Passable Narrator

Overture to Death meets all the criteria of a great whodunnit - means, motive, opportunity, a cast of compelling characters and an exquisite plot. Although the murderer was obvious from the beginning, this does not detracts from the storyline. The narrator, Ric Jerome, reads well but does not do a very good job of bringing the characters to life. His Inspector Alleyn was poor almost a caricature. Similar voices were usd for some characters making them appear lackluster and inconsequential.

1 person found this helpful

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A Classic Page-turner

I first discovered Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh in the mid 70s when I was living in Australia. Sadly, I was not able to bring my set home with me. I slowly reacquired the novels - and now the incalculable boon of the internet has made them available to me electronically. These stories are crime mysteries, books of manners and many are love stories. "She writes better than Christie" --New York Times Book review.(year?)is an understatement. Despite the gruesome nature of murder, these are gentle tales. There is very little violence, and what there is has been muted. I am listening to them in order. I just finished Overture to Death.There is something of timelessness about them, despite changes wrought by technology during her writing years. The tone never varies from her original civilized, discreet, well paced, sometimes humorous style. I strongly recommend all of Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn stories

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Overture to Death

Very intriguingly plotted. Highly enjoyable to read. In plot and language, one of her best.

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Life in a Small Village Can Be Murder

Another wonderful mystery from one of the original Queens of the Golden Age. It has all the ingredients of a good "cozy." A typical English village. An interesting cast of characters. One or two likely victims. Some good red herrings. And the charming and brilliant Chief Inspector Alleyn to sort it all out. Nicely performed by Ric Jerrom.

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a few good red herrings...

A unique murder weapon, a few viable suspects, and the incomparable Roderick Alleyn, Inspector Fox, & Nigel Bathgate. My Ngaio Marsh binge continues to pay off.

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A thoroughly entertaining read.

This is my favorite Ngaio Marsh tale. It has a great plot, is well narrated.

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Maybe 'cozies' are not for me!

The narrator does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life, the story is artfully written, the dialogue is believable. I'm learning, however, that books need to have a certain gravitas before I really want to listen to them. This was a bunch of silly, rich village people, none particularly likable, trying to cope with life and the changing times. I prefer Agatha Christie - she knew how to create situations that seemed important. This book was more of a satire than I like in a mystery story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MS P WILSON
  • 07-01-16

Charming period piece

Detailed scenes setting and characterisations together with a far fetched plot combine in an enjoyable entertainment. Expertly narrated.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nile_Etland
  • 03-27-19

A classic of the Golden Age

Ngaio Marsh is one of the great writers of detective fiction - far superior to Agatha Christie, in my opinipn - and this is one of her best.Very well read too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • T Dinn
  • 01-05-18

Absolutely enthralling!

There is a deliciously improbable murder, characters and language set firmly in their period, complex plotting and a narrator who brings it all to life with a myriad of voices and just the right amount of ham! I loved it!

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  • Mufflana
  • 11-02-16

Good book

Would you consider the audio edition of Overture to Death to be better than the print version?

Have not read the book itself

What was one of the most memorable moments of Overture to Death?

The reveal!

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Little too theatrical for me on some of the characters but still well worth a listen

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs C
  • 09-29-20

Ric Jerrom faultless

Best narration I've heard. I loved it. It's kept me going on my daily commute

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  • Mrs. D. I. Reynolds-hale
  • 08-31-20

Has not aged well.

I read this book many years ago, together with Ngaio Marsh's many other whodunnits, and enjoyed them very much. However I have to say that this audio book was something of a disappointment and the writing, idioms etc, seemed downright dated. The narrator's interpretation of the script did not help much either - much too hearty and over-acted. I find it interesting that Agatha Christie's books - though written around the same period in many cases - have retained their freshness and originality even though one is perfectly aware that one is reading (or listening) about a different era. Disappointing.

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  • Kris
  • 08-19-20

This is where

Just working my way through the oeuvre again. This is where the books take off and become more nuanced. Ngaio Marsh is an excellent writer of her age of detective fiction.

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  • Helen Garlick
  • 01-15-20

in the best tradition

terrific country house murder mystery superbly read , I'm about to look up and subscribe for more readings by Ric Jerrom

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  • M. Steel
  • 06-27-17

Best so far

I'm making my way through the Inspector Alleyn series, by Ngaio Marsh. It's interesting to see how Alleyn's character develops, and how Marsh's writing style and pace develops too. This is undoubtedly her best so far, in plot and writing terms. It's read well, too.
It's also a fascinating insight into the society and culture of the 1930's, when it was written. All quite ridiculous now. It occurred to me that such a close working relationship between a high up policeman and a reporter would be very suspect now.

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  • Sheila
  • 03-02-17

Enjoyable if predictable

Ric Jerrom narrates with gusto, but not one of Marsh's best. I guessed whodunnit pretty early on, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment. Listen out for the sultry temptress Mrs Ross.

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  • Karyn
  • 07-29-20

SO GREAT!

An amazing book narrated beautifully, but deffinitly not for young kids.I loved this book and so did my girl Cadence though I still don't recommend it for kids.