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A Man Lay Dead [Paperback]

Ngaio Marsh
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Dec 2000

Ngaio Marsh’s classic first novel, which introduced Inspector Alleyn and set Ngaio Marsh on the path to international recognition.

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, with a real dagger in the back. All seven suspects have had time to concoct skilful alibis – and it is Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn who has to try and figure out whodunit…



Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (4 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006512518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006512516
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

‘Faultless story-telling.’
New York Times

From the Back Cover

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers" TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

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, with a real dagger in the back. All seven suspects have had time to concoct skilful alibis – and it is Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn who has to try and figure out whodunit…

NGAIO MARSH'S CLASSIC FIRST NOVEL, WHICH INTRODUCED INSPECTOR ALLEYN AND SET NGAIO MARSH ON THE PATH TO INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION.

"Read just one of Ngaio Marsh's novels and you've got to read them all…" DAILY MAIL

"The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress" THE SUN

Don't miss the other Inspector Alleyn novels available in this series, including: 'Death on the Air, Tied Up In Tinsel, Off With His Head, Dead Water' and' Death at the Bar'


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, if rather old-fashioned, whodunit 19 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was Marsh's first detective story, written as a pleasant diversion in 1932. As such, it's really quite impressive, although not up to the standard of her later books. The plot is very conventional - a Murder Game producing a genuine corpse - but the solution is clever and original, and the murderer comes across as pitiable, rather than evil. The only thing that spoiled the book for me was the introduction of a silly sub-plot involving members of a Russian brotherhood: this sort of thing belongs to the spy thriller,not the classical detective story. Marsh's detective, the urbane, public-school educated Inspector Alleyn, is a pleasant change from the "ordinary" plodding policeman preferred by many writers of the time. Less successful, however, is her creation of a "Watson" figure in the shape of journalist Nigel Bathgate, a completely stereotypical young Englishman. Thankfully, he is absent from most of her later novels.
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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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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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Was this review helpful to you?
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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead
One of a series of detective crime novels. Inspector Alleyn is one of my fictional detective heroes, a hard working character. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dr. R. Jameson
3.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead: Ngiao Marsh - Enter Alleyn
A man lay dead (first published in 1934) was Ngiao Marsh's first novel to feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead: Ngiao Marsh - Enter Alleyn
A man lay dead (first published in 1934) was Ngiao Marsh's first novel to feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead: Ngiao Marsh - Enter Alleyn
A man lay dead (first published in 1934) was Ngiao Marsh's first novel to feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars A man lay dead and A surfeit of Lampreys: Ngiao Marsh, BBC full cast...
A man lay dead (first published in 1934) was Ngiao Marsh's first novel to feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Victor
4.0 out of 5 stars The man lay dead
You would think that people in murder mysteries wouldn't go on weekend trips to remote mansions... and definitely wouldn't play murder games. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2010 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Game
An utterly charming introduction to DI Alleyn, Ngaio Marsh's eccentric sleuth. This is a timeless classic. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2008 by Jane Baker
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