- Paperback: 752 pages
- Publisher: Harper (7 Jan. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007328788
- ISBN-13: 978-0007328789
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Black As He's Painted / Last Ditch / Grave Mistake (The Ngaio Marsh Collection, Book 10) Paperback – 7 Jan 2010
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"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." --"New York "magazine
From the Back Cover
At first it looked as if Sybil Foster had intentionally left the world: with two husbands dead, a daughter marrying the wrong man and – it later appeared – a debilitating disease, it was no wonder she took her own life.
But no one believed she was the type – especially Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn. For the field was ripe with unfortunate engagements – one of them a very grave mistake…
'The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers'
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
'A brilliant traditional detective story by Dame Ngaio: two bodies in a grave, a stolen stamp, a suicide that wasn't. Impossible to say much more without revealing the telltale clues so cleverly sown in our path.'
'Splendid… intelligence, wit and sheer skill of storytelling.'
'The finest writer in the English language of the pure classical puzzle whodunit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress'
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Top Customer Reviews
The aptly named Bruce Gardener has returned to the village to live with his widowed sister and offers his services as a gardener to the locals. Some are not too sure he is trustworthy, others welcome him as a Godsend. Sybil decides she needs a rest and goes off to stay in a hotel which offers nursing home facilities. In her absence her step-son, the shifty Claude Carter, arrives to stay.
When Sybil dies in what appears to be a suicide some do not believe her death is what it appears to be and the police are called in to investigate in the person of Roderick Alleyn. What follows is an interesting and very well plotted mystery with plenty of suspects and motives and many strands reaching back into the past. The end is tense and atmospheric and well written.
I enjoyed reading this mystery and even stayed up late and then woke up early the following morning in order to finish it because I had to know who the murderer was. There are just so many suspects with plausible motives and suspicious behaviour that it is only a very perceptive reader who will have worked out who the guilty person is.
As with all mystery novels which centre around one individual, the writer is forced to create a situation where her detective and his family are constantly falling over bodies. Of course, if this happened in real life they'd either have a nervous breakdown or end up being the chief suspect, since people die under suspicious circumstances wherever they go! One simply has to accept this somewhat ludicrous situation, whether the detective is Poirot, Campion or Alleyn. Marsh writes intelligent, literate novels with a sly sense of humour, good pace and vivid, convincing characters. She has a good sense of place and makes the setting come alive for the reader.
Ngaio Marsh seems to me to have struggled to accommodate the social changes of the sixties and seventies in her writings. She belonged in the more structured world of her youth, when life was slower and social distinctions were rigid. However, she was a theatrical and no prude and she did reflect social change in her writings. This is an enjoyable, entertaining story and there is lots of fun as well as tension and excitement,
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just love her books...all so varied, so descriptive, would definitely recommend the. Book arrived swiftly and as described.Published 6 months ago by Mrs. F. Dynowski
Anyone like to add a good story to their collection cant to any better than to have this book. Enjoyed it and will read again.Published on 31 May 2013 by Amazon Customer