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A Man Lay Dead (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) [Kindle Edition]

Ngaio Marsh
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Commemorating 75 years since the Empress of Crime’s first book, the first volume of the 32 Inspector Alleyn mysteries.

Sir Hubert Handesley's extravagant weekend house-parties are deservedly famous for his exciting Murder Game. But when the lights go up this time, there is a real corpse with a real dagger in the back. All seven suspects have skilful alibis - so Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn has to figure out the whodunit…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 289 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9F18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,911 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dame Ngaio Marsh was born in New Zealand in 1895 and died in February 1982. She wrote over 30 detective novels and many of her stories have theatrical settings, for Ngaio Marsh's real passion was the theatre. She was both actress and producer and almost single-handedly revived the New Zealand public's interest in the theatre. It was for this work that the received what she called her 'damery' in 1966.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man Lay Dead 28 Feb. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn mysteries and it contains everything that a great Golden Age mystery should. First, the house party, complete with varying guests - an adulterous wife, jealous girlfriend, mysterious Russian, etc. In this case, the country house in question is Frantock and Nigel Bathgate (a journalist) is accompanying his cousin Charles on one of the much coveted entertaining weekends, for which invitations are hard to obtain. The host intends to hold a 'murder' game, which naturally goes completely wrong, when there is a real victim. Lots of implausable plot twists (via the Russians) and an even more implausable conclusion, but the whole thing is great fun. Ngaio Marsh never cheats and you could, if you are extremely clever and keep notes, work it out. Personally, I am happy to relax in her highly competent hands and enjoy. Beware, though, you could easily get hooked on these brilliant books. Just out of interest, I read the kindle edition and it was perfectly edited - not a typo to be found.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a ripping yarn 31 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The wildly improbable plot of this 1934 novel shows how far Ngaio Marshhad gone in her craft by the time she wrote 'Enter a Murderer.' 'A Man Lay Dead' is very much of its period, with an eclectic assortment of weekend guests, mysterious weaponry, an unwise party game and a Russian element. As in all her novels, the theme is that nobody is entitled to define themselves as judge, jury and executioner... except the Law? When this novel was written, capital punishment was the penalty for murder in Britain. In all Ms Marsh's books, whatever the ostensible or immediate motive, murder is the mark of the ape who rejects order in favour of self, the ape who steps into the dark beyond the social group. Here, although Ms Marsh makes you dislike the victim and judge his killer beyond the Pale, few of the characters escape some degree of responsibility for the crime.

Anybody with a reasonable vocabulary and a logical mind will like this book, even though its betrays the youth of the author and the influence of the conventional Thirties' posh house party 'shocker.' It is a curious and possibly irrelevant fact that several of Ms Marsh's novels feature repellent children or adolescents. A few introduce charming, sweet-natured ones. That's life, and so are the vagaries of her adult characters, especially those who consider themselves grown-ups. A Man Lay Dead' may creak a bit but it asks uncomfortable questions about the moral values of privileged British society between the wars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead: Ngiao Marsh - Enter Alleyn 21 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A man lay dead (first published in 1934) was Ngiao Marsh's first novel to feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At a country house party the guests play a game of murderers, which seems a lot of fun until one of them really is murdered. Alleyn is called in to investigate, and he soon finds that everyone has shaky alibis and motive, and what physical evidence there is suggests a very remarkable method indeed. It's a decent enough mystery as Alleyn peels back the layers to get to the truth, though I felt that the ending was a little weak, with Alleyn seeming to base his accusation on very little evidence and the murderer just admitting it when s/he could have kept quiet and probably have got away with it. It is certainly not the best in the series, but for all that is a decent read. 3 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab! 6 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliant book. Love my Kindle. Lay in bed, download the book and start to read. Bliss. Great story. Looking foward to getting more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nostalgic revisit 9 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read these books years ago - and was very happy to reread this one. This is an old style detective story where, despite the deaths, there is no actual violence!! The price will probably stop me reading many more in the series though!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The very first Alleyn book - great fun 30 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This book, first published in 1934, introduced the character of Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn whose investigations were recorded in thirty two books, the last published in 1982, and other short stories.

This is the period of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham but it would be unfair to compare this debut novel with the contemporary works of these other Queens of Detection Fiction since their first novels were published in 1920 [Christie], 1923 [Sayers] and 1929 [Allingham]. Certainly the character of Alleyn, a gentleman policeman, is somewhat fluid – at times a silly ass, sensitive, cerebral, good with children, remote and intense. This improbable make-up is refined in Marsh’s subsequent books.

The murder mystery revolves around a house party at the Frantock home in of Sir Hubert Handsley, a collector of archaic weapons, who have gathered to participate in one of his famous Murder Games. No prizes for guessing what happens next.

The guests include a young journalist on the Clarion, Nigel Bathgate; his cousin Charles Rankin [‘odd sort of fellow. One never knew much about what went on behind that long dark mask of his’], archeologist Arthur Wilde and his neurotic wife, Marjorie [the kind of woman ‘who when they dance, express a depth of feeling and of temperament that actually they do not possess.’], Rosamund Grant [‘a tall, dark woman whose strange, uncompromising beauty it would be difficult to forget.’], Angela North [Handsley’s niece, with whom Bathgate is besotted] and the token foreigner, Dr Foma Tokareff. Handsley’s resident staff includes an aged Russian servant, Vassily, whose role includes ‘choosing the murderer’ and serving ‘corktails’. Since the front door was locked the murder must have been an inside job.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 1 month ago by lindalah
5.0 out of 5 stars a thoroughly good read
Simply a masterpiece, pulled nicely together at the end. Characters are described so well you can picture them and they take substance.
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, quick read but a bit dated.
The plot was okay(ish). Very much of it's time i.e. the 20's/30's. As an author Ngaio Marsh is good but in my opinion not as good as either Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayer. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ernie FOSKER
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 6 months ago by dennis
5.0 out of 5 stars Ngaio Marsh is a great author. Her books are a so good and ...
Ngaio Marsh is a great author. Her books are a so good and satisfying to read. I recommend her highly to those who have never read any of her books
Published 6 months ago by Mary Macdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Roderick Alleyn introduced
This is the first of the Roderick Alleyn novels, published in 1934 and introducing the elegant, upper-crust sleuth. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Aletheuon
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Anyone like to add a good story to their collection cant to any better than to have this book. Enjoyed it and will read again.
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Ronald S. Unsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars well up to standard
As delightful and intriguing as Ngaio Marsh mysteries always are. When I first read them some 30 years ago they seemed old fashioned, but this has now become a historically... Read more
Published on 30 April 2013 by Bill Mackenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Another good read. You can always rely on Ngaio Marsh for a good story. Looking forward to the next one
Published on 26 April 2013 by MRS C GRONERT
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