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Vintage Murder Paperback – 18 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (18 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006512550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006512554
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 476,993 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

‘The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers’
Times Literary Supplement

‘The theatre detail is engrossing.’
Margaret Lewis

‘A far more ambitious novel than anything Marsh had attempted before.’
American Journal of Popular Culture

‘Her work is as nearly flawless as makes no odds. Character, plot, wit, good writing, and sound technique.’
Sunday Times

‘The finest writer in the English languange of the pure, classical puzzle whodunnit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress.’
The Sun

From the Back Cover

THE ALLEYN MYSTERIES

Caroline made her usual dramatic entrance. 'Darlings!' she exclaimed. 'What's all this? Too exciting – and all for me!'

She picked up the scissors. Dimly-lit faces peered at the beautiful woman who stood with one arm raised, while a small fat man bent over the table. Suddenly Alleyn felt intolerably fearful – but at that moment Caroline cut the cord. Something enormous flashed down among them from the hidden heights and Allen's growing sense of horror became reality…

"Her work is nearly flawless as makes no odds, character, plot, wit, good writing and sound technique."
SUNDAY TIMES

"The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunnit. Among the crime queens, Ngalio Marsh stand out as an empress."
THE SUN

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This story once again involves Inspector Alleyn and the theatre, this time in a case in New Zealand.

Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn witnesses the death of Alfred Meyer, a theatrical manager, and has to work out which of the theatre company's members is responsible and whether Maori superstitions are in some way responsible.

The travelling theatre background is an excellent and ambitiously created example of Marsh's theatrical-related books with convincing characters and New Zealand backdrop. A noteworthy feature in this book is a floor plan of the theatre that, unusually, really is useful to solve the murder.

Do note that the solution to the author's earlier story entitled 'Enter a Murderer' is disclosed in this book.

This is definitely one of my favourite Marsh stories and I would recommend crime fiction readers to this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DCI Roderick Alleyn is on holiday in New Zealand recuperating from an operation. He travels on the same train as an English touring theatre company. He has met two of the company's members before and tries to make sure his job his kept secret but he is not successful. When an attempt is made on the life of one of the owners of the company Alleyn is drawn into the mystery. When the man is subsequently murdered Alleyn finds himself helping the New Zealand police in their investigations.

This is a complex and intriguing mystery which is very well plotted and certainly kept me guessing until the last few pages. I loved the background of the theatre and thought the way actors behave when they aren't acting was very well done. I liked the detail about Maori culture and I thought New Zealand and its scenery were brought to life in evocative writing.

Vintage Murder is a classic of detective fiction and any aspiring crime writer would do well to study it closely. It is also a very enjoyable read for those who like their crime fiction in the classic mould.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lacey Green on 31 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this Marsh novel the reader gets two of her great strengths, the worlds of theatre and New Zealand. Her respect for both displays itself in the detail. For instance, you can almost smell the manuka bush, and feel the changes of air in the (fictional) town and its wild hinterland. Her ability to create such different characters as Weston and Dr Rangi Te Pokiha is one of Ms Marsh's great strengths, but every single character is rounded and engaging. The crime, which begins by seeming incredible, turns out to be just what you might expect, but you won't guess the killer until the end. Just buy it and get involved.

I have now read all of Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn novels and, although the earliest one, (A Man Lay Dead) creaks here and there, because she was very young when she wrote it, she got into her stride very quickly and there isn't a dud. Even Alleyn's facetiousness in some of them has its explanation: he hates murder and yet pities the damned soul.

Interestingly, however, at least one killer, not in this book, wins her sympathy and escapes the law...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aletheuon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the fifth Roderick Alleyn whodunnit, published in 1937 during the Golden Age of murder mysteries. Having struggled a bit to establish the characters of Alleyn and his assistant, Inspector Fox, Ngaio Marsh is really getting into her stride. The queens of that Golden Age were some great women writers, Agatha Christie, Marjorie Allingham, Dorothy L Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. My favourites are Allingham and Marsh because of their wonderful characterisations, keen sense of humour and wonderful writing styles. I first read this book many years ago and it was good to revisit it.
Ngaio Marsh set eight of her books in the theatre and four of them in New Zealand, her native land, In this one, an English touring theatre company in in New Zealand. The leading lady is stunningly beautiful and no one (including her lover) understands why she has married the pudgy producer, nice man though he is. Planning to give a surprise present to his darling wife, he dies a horrible death when a huge jeroboam of champagne strikes him. Was it she who rigged the trap that killed her husband during a cast party, or her lover, or some other person? Roderick Alleyn is on holiday in New Zealand when he finds himself cornered into having to try to solve this mystery...
The new Zealand setting is fascinating. Apart from a very unusual Maori doctor and an amusing, likeable antipodean policemen, Alleyn's picnic trip into the countryside is beautifully described. Miss Marsh loved her homeland and makes some enjoyable observations about what life is like there.
Ngaio Marsh knew the theatrical world very well, too, and her witty description of the lives and foibles of actors in a theatrical troupe enliven the plot; she was herself a successful theatre director.
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Spoilers alert!!! This book has some good bits and some bad bits and some terrible bits. She reworked the backstage drama several times (this one comes after the excellent Enter a Murderer); in this one we see the seeds of later books (Death at the Dolphin, the wonderful Opening Night). It starts well, with Alleyn convalescing in New Zealand (Marsh's home), spending a night on a train with a theatrical company. (When young, Marsh spent some time as an actress touring Australia and NZ.) He meets and chats with several of the cast as the manager thinks someone has tried to push him off the viewing platform. Many of the characters are attractive: Hayley Hambledon, leading woman Carolyn Dacres, and her husband Alfred Myers - a gentle and affectionate buffoon; even the feckless George Palmer. There are good scenes - particularly when Alleyn takes Carolyn for a picnic in the bush to try and get the truth out of her. But the book as a whole doesn't hang together; the interrogation scenes drag. She tried her hand at complicated murder methods without much success. Some characters are tedious (the Shakespeare-spouting alcoholic doorman). There's some embarrassing "business" with a fat copper. People may throw up when they've seen a friend killed, but she does like to dwell on it. There's a "rotter" character called Francis Liversedge whose conversation is peppered with "What?" and "Old bean". "Is this supposed to be the Oxford manner?" Alleyn asks himself. I ask myself if he's supposed to be a parody of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey. (What was the Oxford manner? Did people really call each other "old bean"?)
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