Death in a White Tie Hardcover – 20 Jul 1987
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|Hardcover, 20 Jul 1987||
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‘The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers’
Times Literary Supplement
‘Ngaio Marsh’s Death in a White Tie is the best detective story I have ever read…’
‘[This book has] a distinction that puts the author in the front rank of crime story writers’
Times Literary Supplement
‘A brilliant, vivacious teller of detective novels.’
‘The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunnit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress.’
A body in the back of a taxi begins an elegantly constructed mystery, perhaps the finest of Marsh's 1930s novels. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Published in 1938, and impeccably set in the upper-class world of debutantes coming out for the season, Alleyn gets swept into this particular investigation in part through his mother, who is chaperoning his niece and her ‘bestie’ into their first season. And coincidentally Alleyn is already beginning to hone his intellect and his team into an investigation of the society set, as it appears a blackmailer is moving amongst them. Our hero has to tread carefully, using his society credentials without alarming those who are running the racket.
Things get much darker and much nastier though, when a murder which touches Alleyn personally turns the desire to find the killer into far more than a dispassionate solving of a crime. Grief and anger, not to mention a sense of personal responsibility are in this mix.
Further complications, making this more than just the routine solving of a crime are also on the agenda. Alleyn has some unresolved business to sort out with the well-respected artist Agatha Troy, who was involved for a while as a potential suspect in the previous outing, ‘Artists in Crime’ She is certainly guilty of capturing Alleyn’s heart, although being a suspect in a murder investigation does not necessarily make the best way for a far from faint heart to win a fair lady.
Alleyn (as ever) is a very human, very real person, getting more and more three dimensional as the series progresses
The story "Death in a White Tie" was excellent but buy the book rather than the kindle download as then you will actually get the product as described.
Couldn't say if this is sharp practice by Amazon or just incompetence.
As ever, Ngaio Marsh's accomplished prose is a pleasure to read. She writes intelligently and with sharp wit and acute observation. Every detail is telling and vivid. As ever, too, the characters are beautifully imagined and drawn. One really likes Lord Robert and feels Alleyn's grief and anger at his death. This means that one does no read the book merely to find out the solution to the puzzle, but for the sheer pleasure of the journey.
Alleyn's relationship with Agatha Troy is developing nicely, from his point of view, and he is a little obsessed with her. Personally, I find her a bit irritating and much preferred Belinda Lang in the TV dramatization of this story, who was less eccentric and complicated than the Troy of the books. She is so dishevelled and hung up about actually committing to Alleyn that she got on my nerves. It is interesting to me that Ngaio Marsh originally planned to be a painter before becoming an actress and producer and a writer. This caused me to wonder whether she was Troy, in the same way as Dorothy L Sayers was Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey the ideal man of her fantasies. There are similarities between Roderick Alleyn and Peter Wimsey, both from the upper crust, both gentleman detectives, both attractive and highly intelligent, though one was an amateur and the other a Detective Inspector. Well, that's my little theory! If so, perhaps what occupied Ngaio Marsh's mind (and therefore Troy's) may have been the struggle between insisting on being an independent woman with a career and the pressure to surrender to a man and therefore to his needs and lifestyle. in the thirties, to be both married and your own person was undoubtedly very difficult, because of the then perception of a wife's role in life. And that's my little digression.
There are plenty of plot twists and red herrings before Alleyn finds the murderer. As ever, Marsh's strong sense of place and scene brings the background vividly alive and the story progresses at a good pace. She really is an excellent writer!
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