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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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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Fontana Collins (1964)
  • ASIN: B001PYF26W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,352,033 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.

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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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3.0 out of 5 stars "Perhaps the butler did it." 31 Oct 2007
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Taking place at an English country estate during a house party weekend, Ngaio Marsh's first Roderick Alleyn mystery, written in 1934, forecasts the later success of her successful thirty-two book Alleyn series. Invited to the home of Sir Hubert Handesley, where they will participate in a "murder" game, the houseguests know that one of them will be chosen to be the "murderer" and that s/he will select and "murder" one of the other guests. In this case, however, when the gong sounds and the lights come on, they discover that one of the guests has actually been murdered.

Written in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Margery Allingham, this "closed room" mystery draws Inspector Alleyn of Scotland Yard into the case. A character who, at this point, has yet to achieve the unique characteristics which eventually made him such a popular detective, Alleyn interviews the guests and staff, and, surprisingly, draws guest Nigel Bathgate, the cousin of the victim, into the investigation of the murder. As Alleyn and Bathgate investigate, subplots involving an antique Oriental dagger, an anarchist Russian secret society, a grisly murder in London, and the romantic attachments of the victim unfold.

No more realistic than other mysteries of the period, this one, too, follows a formula, with surprising discoveries which strain credulity, at the same time that the author is tempting the reader to solve the case. Much is made of the floor plan of the estate and the alibis of the guests, but ultimately, the solution depends not on logic, but on information which the author does not give her readers until the conclusion, making logical deduction impossible here. Still the novel is fun to read as a period piece, a mystery which calls to mind a long-lost way of life with all its superficial pleasures and amusements. Mary Whipple
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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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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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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 9 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 15 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 15 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 15 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 15 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 15 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 15 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 15 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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