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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three good whodunnits
'Death in a WhiteTie' is the seventh Alleyn mystery and has Ngaio Marsh's favourite upper-class English background. Alleyn learns that some prominent women are being blackmailed and he asks his friend, Lord Robert Gospell, to help him in his investigation. Lord Robert is a charming and sympathetic character of whom Alleyn is fond, and we become fond of him too. While...
Published 11 months ago by Aletheuon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best
Found the plotting very complex and rather repetitive. That said, it was still a pretty good read and I finished it.
Published 13 months ago by Vole


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three good whodunnits, 31 May 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
'Death in a WhiteTie' is the seventh Alleyn mystery and has Ngaio Marsh's favourite upper-class English background. Alleyn learns that some prominent women are being blackmailed and he asks his friend, Lord Robert Gospell, to help him in his investigation. Lord Robert is a charming and sympathetic character of whom Alleyn is fond, and we become fond of him too. While observing the behaviour of certain people at a social get-together. Lord Robert learns something he regards as vital, telephones Alleyn but is interrupted before the call can be completed and then he is found in his homeward cab, murdered. It seems that his killer had shared the cab with him. Lord Robert had asked a lot of questions, even making some of the blackmail victims suspect that he could be the blackmailer. Did he draw the attention of the blackmailer, or was it someone else who murdered him?
As always, Ngaio Marsh writes with elegance and wit. Her characters are always interesting and well-drawn. She makes us feel the same anger and regret as Alleyn himself feels when Lord Robert is killed. These fictional people are often larger than life, so that some of them come near to being caricatures - but not quite, for they have too much depth. The pace of this well-plotted story is good, too, and I did not guess the murderer. I found the book interesting and entertaining and enjoyed the period atmosphere. All popular whodunnits require the suspension of disbelief, especially in an ongoing series where the main characters seem almost to fall over bodies wherever they go. One just has to accept this convention and enjoy each story for what it is.

'Overture to Death' is the eighth Alleyn book. It features a murder during a village theatrical performance; Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor plays a prominent part in the story, as does a "Venetian Suite" by Ethelbert Nevin. The murder weapon is a booby-trapped piano! Who in the uneventful village of Chipping, Alleyn must discover, would kill Idris Campanula? She turns out to have plenty of enemies, including other members of the cast of a charity production that went wrong. Wealthy Miss Campanula had a vicious tongue and enjoyed damaging other people or even destroying their lives. However, Alleyn thinks it possible that the wrong person may have been murdered and, if so, another murder could follow...
Ngaio Marsh takes her time setting up the mystery before introducing Alleyn. She is brilliant at description, scene setting and characterisation, and she has a keen wit, slyly sending up the upper classes and dropping clues carelessly into the mix. She writes intelligently and vividly and even the music really comes to life. The book was published in 1939 and really is a classic 1930's mystery.
There are plenty of suspects in this intricately plotted mystery, as two unmarried ladies of a certain age fight over an attractive curate, amateur theatricals are rife with village rivalries; this picture of village life throws up a Squire, eccentric upper class residents, young lovers and more mature adulterers, not very bright local policemen and a couple of yokels.
Ngaio Marsh has really got into her stride and Roderick Alleyn's smoothly upper-crust English character, and the solidly reliable Inspector Fox, are by this eighth book, nicely established. This is a very enjoyable and entertaining book with enough blacker themes, alongside the fun, to keep it interesting. Great!

'Death at the Bar' is the ninth of the series. In a small pub in a sea-side village in Cornwall, holidaymakers and locals mix. Three friends from London often holiday there; Luke Watchman is a well-known lawyer, Sebastian Parish is an actor and Norman Cubitt, a painter, is currently painting Parish's portrait. Among the locals, Robert Legge is a member of a very left-wing political group,as is the pub's owner, Will Pomeroy. Legge's fiancee, Decima, previously had a relationship with Luke Watchman. One stormy night, Legge demonstrates his skill at darts and Watchman is stabbed by a dart as he helps Legge in one of his tricks. It seems accidental, but within minutes, he dies. The pub's owner is convinced it was not an accident and - since his business is suffering - he is insistent and Alleyn is called in. There are plenty of suspects, most of whom seem to have a reason to want Luke dead. Did Watchman die from tetanus or was there something else? It turns out that cyanide rat poison was bought only the day before but if this was used to kill Watchman, how was it administered?
This is an atmospheric and cleverly-constructed book with plenty of twists and turns, and the occasional red herring. Well-drawn characters and a smartly-paced story keep one's attention. There are quite a few main characters, hard for any novelist to handle, but Marsh does it pretty well. The victim is drawn in depth; he is sophisticated and charming, but not very likeable, and one feels that he had been asking for trouble.
The relationship between Fox and Alleyn is quite touching, marked by humour and affection, especially when Fox is in danger and Alleyn tries in vain to protect him. The relationship between these two is one of the key elements of the series and adds some nice touches.
As usual, Marsh creates a nice sense of place and time. I prefer her 'upper crust' settings, because she doesn't write as well or as amusingly about more working-class people, but this book is still a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved them, 1 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Inspector Alleyn continues to charm as the gentleman detective with his faithful hound (Fox) at his side. It evokes an era that is long gone . Ngaio Marsh 's books are a delight to read and I look forward to the next ones. Good value as you get three for one (although the third is usually a short story).
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2.0 out of 5 stars Going backwards, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
This is the third ómnibus collection and the worst. In the first book we encounter her most endearing charácter to date, Bunchy, only for him to be bumped off. It is the Season, and Alleyn's mother is chaperoning her granddaughter. It is after one of the many balls that Lord Robert is found murdered in a taxi. Alleyn, a personal friend of Bunchy, had asked him, in an unofficial capacity, to keep his ears and eyes open about the possibility of blackmail amongst their circle of friends. The investigation is of the usual people of this class. The second story takes place in Dorset among the squirarchy, with the usual members, doctor, rector, spinsters galore etc. In this book and the next, the method of the murders is more cunning, giving Alleyn the opportunity to show how clever he is. The third book, set in a small Devon fishing village drops down a level in social class but the result is possibly the worst book NM had written up to this point. The ingenious murder but suspects of such limited intelligence that only someone of doublé digit IQ or over could have committed it. I do wonder in what kind of circles NM moved in London. Her characters are almost cartoons and the dialogue wooden. Possibly her arty friends thought them " screamingly " funny but these books, particularly, the second and third have not passed the test of time well. In each one we have the gay young things saying " you must think me hard and very modern " - no, simply spoilt, tiresome and stupid. On this evidence NM was not a Queen of Crime Fiction, more a Lady Jane Grey.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Found the plotting very complex and rather repetitive. That said, it was still a pretty good read and I finished it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rinspector Allyen Series Book 3, 15 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
LoVe the Roderick Allyen mysteries by this author.I watched the TV series but read Miss Marsh's books year ago so this is a re-visit. Very enjoyable and this kindle edition is excellent value for money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bought these years ago and loved them then lost them in a house move, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Bought these years ago and loved them then lost them in a house move. Delighted to see them on Kindle and bought the lot! Incredibly difficult to buy in paper back so absolutely made up to get them all back again - and on Kindle which saves us a bookshelf!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love all the 'Golden Age' mysteries so it was good ..., 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I love all the 'Golden Age' mysteries so it was good to get 3 of them in a bundle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
love these books
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
enjoyed these
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some of Alleyn's best cases, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Inspector Alleyn 3-Book Collection 3: Death in a White Tie, Overture to Death, Death at the Bar (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I am very glad to have been able to renew my acquaintance with these Ngaio Marsh stories. They are just as good as I remembered, and having them now on my kindle means I can reread them whenever I like.
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