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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of closed-circle country house murder
This is a very good example of Marsh's English countryside settings and an excellent example both of a closed-circle, claustrophobic, country house murder mystery and of a collection of unpleasant and mutually antagonistic characters.

Jonathan Royal, a batchelor with a love for theatre, hosts a tension-filled weekend party at his country house with seven...
Published on 4 Jan 2011 by A Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Alleyn novel
I personally found the story a bit difficult to follow at first but it got going in the end, to be fair it may be because this was an abridged version of the story.
Published 13 months ago by Peter Joiner


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of closed-circle country house murder, 4 Jan 2011
This is a very good example of Marsh's English countryside settings and an excellent example both of a closed-circle, claustrophobic, country house murder mystery and of a collection of unpleasant and mutually antagonistic characters.

Jonathan Royal, a batchelor with a love for theatre, hosts a tension-filled weekend party at his country house with seven guests, chosen deliberately because of their mutual animosity. The house and surrounding countryside, however, become snowbound and, during the subsequent mounting hysteria, one of the guests is murdered. Everyone present has a motive for murder but also an alibi for the time of death. Roderick Alleyn, as police investigator, soon realizes that Thomas, the dancing footman, has an important part to play in narrowing down the possibilities.

This is a great read and a 'must' for inclusion in any Ngaio Marsh collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ngaio Marsh Country House Murder, 7 Mar 2011
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Anton Lesser reading Ngaio Marsh and the 'handsome' Inspector
Alleyn as the hero...what more could you ask from a novel when
being read with such expertise. Country house drama at its best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toxic house party, 5 July 2012
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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Jonathan Royal decides on a little mischief making and holds a house party in which all the guests have quarrels or enmities with each other. The party starts during a snow storm with all the guests snowed in and unable to go anywhere for the duration. Two apparent practical jokes make the company uneasy and it starts to seem that maybe someone could end up dead. Nicholas Compline feels he is the intended victim and at least some of the guests think the perpetrator is a plastic surgeon - Dr Francis Hart.

When a murder finally takes place it leaves the guests shocked and chastened - and for a while without the police to investigate. Roderick Alleyn does not appear on the scene until two thirds of the way through the book - thanks to the snow. When he does appear, he and his team very quickly sort the wheat from the chaff and solve the murder. Another guest has died before the murderer is unmasked and the guests sent home.

I enjoyed this book and thought the relationships between the house party guests were well done. There are plenty of clues scattered around for the observant reader to pick up but it is all too easy to become mired in the detail and completely fail to spot the murderer. In my opinion you can't beat Ngaio Marsh's plotting skills or her ability to create believable characters.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Generic but Entertaining, 13 July 2003
Seven guests are chosen by their fiend-like host by reason of their mutual enmity and are imprisoned in a snow-bound country house to see what results from their tension and mounting hysteria; which is, of course, murder. Throughout, one is conscious of straining for effect, and, until the murder, the reader will find this one of the author’s most tedious and uninspired jobs since the early books. The matter is not helped by a particularly irritating hero, a snobbish and precious aesthete, nor by Alleyn’s late appearance, after which he does little except talk to witnesses. After the murder, if one can accept the large doses of hysteria, both masculine and feminine, the book becomes quite solid, and there is a novel twist on the alibi by wireless gimmick.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 19 Feb 2014
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My first Ngaio Marsh (pronounced Ni-oh, apparently). Not much to criticise. She's very 'basic' compared with Sayers but with better characterisation than Christie. Then again, Christie deliberately avoided it. If you want a puzzle, it's a good one. There's a huge clue at one point. It's . . . .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy, 20 Dec 2013
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Good buy, I love adding these to my collection. You can read them over again. I thoroughly recommend these as a very good read
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Alleyn novel, 23 Mar 2013
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Peter Joiner (England) - See all my reviews
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I personally found the story a bit difficult to follow at first but it got going in the end, to be fair it may be because this was an abridged version of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Second reading, 6 Jan 2013
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I do find these Inspector Aleyn mysteries fascinating. I really prefer the ones in which Troy takes part but this is a fascinating tangled tale and kept my attention.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best, 19 Nov 2012
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It's a country house murder mystery, but it's far from cosy. Eccentric, wealthy Jonathan Royle handpicks his weekend guests in the early months of the war, taking great care to ensure they will all hate each other. James Saxon reads the unabridged version. He's a great reader of Christie and especially Marsh, achieving feats of characterisation when faced with dodgy Australian parsons and rough-diamond tourists. But he doesn't do so well here - he seems daunted by this cast of upper middle class guests, a couple of Viennese refugees, and a chorus of domestics and rustics. He responds by making all the house party members sound affected. Lesser doesn't fall into this trap - he's a very good reader and I look forward to listening to his Dickens. But unfortunately this version is abridged. Marsh's original book could do with abridging, and sensibly this version has trimmed the yokels and servants. However, a lot of dialogue is cut, meaning that the dramatis personae lose personality, and the romance seems rushed and uninteresting. Dialogue that isn't cut ends up as reported speech, which is dull. The abridger seems to have concentrated on the mystery at the expense of atmosphere and human interest.
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