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Death at the Bar Paperback – 21 Aug 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (21 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006512356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006512356
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 417,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Full marks… a really clever problem in detection. It will need a really sharp brain to discover the criminal’
Times Literary Supplement

‘Read just one of Ngaio Marsh’s novels and you’ve got to read them all…’
Daily Mail

‘The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress.’
The Sun

From the Back Cover

At the plume of Feathers in south Devon one midsummer evening, eight people are gathered together in the tap-room. They are in the habit of playing darts, but on this occasion an experiment takes the place of the usual game – a gruesomely fatal experiment which calls for investigation.

A distinguished painter, a celebrated actor, a graduate, a plump lady from County Clare, and a Devonshire farmer all play their parts in the unravelling of the problem…

'The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers'
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

'Full marks…it will need a really sharp brain to discover the criminal'
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

'Read just one of Ngaio Marsh's novels and you've got to read them all…'
DAILY MAIL

'The finest writer in the English language of the pure, classical puzzle whodunit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress.'
THE SUN

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not one of her best. The characters are mainly unappealing, apart from Norman the artist and an amateur watercolourist called the Hon. Violet Darragh. A couple of them are positively repellent. There's a "Rashomon" structure - we are not present at the murder, and only see it being set up, the aftermath, and the various characters' retelling of events. Of course each one will reveal or omit a vital detail. This could have been an opportunity for character studies, too, but they mainly seem rather flat, and the girl in the case is a cipher apart from her orange lipstick. At one point Alleyn looks on them as marionettes. He'd never get away with his methods today - he does his own forensics, and seems to have everything necessary in a Tardis-like case. There's an irritating Chief Constable who speaks entirely in literary quotations - is she sending up herself and earlier writers? Marsh pokes fun at left-wing politics as she did in the Nursing Home Murder, but this time the raillery is unconvincing (Communists in Devon?). She brings in a pompous character called Mr Nark to make communism and evolution sound absurd. Meanwhile the middle class characters make grating remarks ("Well, she's his class") and dear Mr Fox makes a cringing speech about how Alleyn has never let him feel their vast separation in the class hierarchy. Too many of the characters speak in painful dialect (thiccy, howsomedever etc). The Hon Violet has a theatrical brogue, but this is more convincing. It ends with the explanation of who, why and how dunnit. We don't see anybody leave, not even the lovers skipping off into the sunset or the Hon Violet returning to the Emerald Isle.
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Format: Paperback
One of Marsh’s most tightly-knit jobs. Victim a famous K.C., poisoned with KNC in the private taproom of a Devon inn while taking part in a demonstration of darts-throwing; plenty of good circumstantial detail leads to supposition of impossible crime. Alleyn, called in both by publican and by local police, does a splendid and fast (24 hours) job of discovering murderer, whose identity is a masterly demonstration in diverting suspicion from the most likely person. Method ingeniously simple, and hence convincing: a very neat job. Virtuoso display of logic at the end, including a delightful false solution propounded by a most amusing Chief Constable.
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Format: Paperback
Just finished this title. A thoroughly enjoyable read with a good mix of characters. Occasionally the layout of the scene was a little confusing but it does not detract in any way from the plot or its denouement. The plot winds its usual way, gradually building up a good collection of possible motives and murders. The author sprinkles plenty of clues as you go and may seem as if you have cracked it - but no, probably not... you are in for a great finale. Definitely a suspenseful read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very clever plot 31 May 2000
By MK Writer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've just started reading Ngaio Marsh's mysteries, so I don't know if this book is a "typical" Marsh mystery, but I certainly hope so. The characters were well-drawn, and the plot quite brilliant. A man dies while playing darts, because it appears that a dart daubed with cyanide sticks in the back of his hand. Almost everyone has a motive, and the evidence at hand can point to almost any of them. Reading this novel is like threading a conch-shell. You slip in a piece of string and it snakes through various chambers and entries until it finally comes out at the end. I was a big Christie fan, but now I think I'll be moving on to Marsh.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Intricate Poisoning 13 July 2003
By hacklehorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of Marsh's most tightly-knit jobs. Victim a famous K.C., poisoned with KNC in the private taproom of a Devon inn while taking part in a demonstration of darts-throwing; plenty of good circumstantial detail leads to supposition of impossible crime. Alleyn, called in both by publican and by local police, does a splendid and fast (24 hours) job of discovering murderer, whose identity is a masterly demonstration in diverting suspicion from the most likely person. Method ingeniously simple, and hence convincing: a very neat job. Virtuoso display of logic at the end, including a delightful false solution propounded by a most amusing Chief Constable.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dart over to this one! 27 Nov. 2000
By c. john evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps not one of her more richly written efforts, but buoyed by a marvellous mystery plot, set in a wonderful English pub. Darts and beer, a fatal combination.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Member of Bar fingered in Bar--4.5 stars 15 April 2009
By Neal J. Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the longest Marsh novels of the 25 I've read so far (of the 32). She has lots of style. This one includes Inspector Fox but not the others in Alleyn's usual crew. The additional characters are well-drawn & intriguing IMHO, including an actor (Marsh has many stage-oriented novels--cf. Curtain Calls: Three Great Mysteries; Enter A Murderer; Night At the Vulcan; Killer Dolphin), an artist (she also has art-oriented ones such as Artists in Crime & Alleyn's wife Troy is a celebrated artist), a Barrister (the victim), & numerous country folk. The setting in a country inn adds charm to the novel as well. But, the best part is the mystery itself. Lots of motives, of course, & a supposedly impossible crime. The finger points to different suspects in cycles--very clever. I did guess part of it, but not the main part. The only drawback to me was the seeming serendipity of the storm & lights going out--and the rapidity of the culprit's movements. Poetic license I presume. My favorite lines in it are: p. 9: "His cousin had a trick of saying things that sounded a little like quotations from an interview with himself" & p. 293: "as conspicuous as a pitchfork in Paradise." It's a delightful book--I'm torn between giving it 4 or 5 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death on holiday 21 Jun. 2012
By Damaskcat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Three friends form London arrive at a remote inn to spend a couple of weeks on holiday. Norman is an artist and wants to spend his time painting; Simon is an actor and is taking a break and his cousin, Luke is a successful barrister. One of them will meet his death in this idyllic spot. Is it a terrible accident or is it murder? The inquest rules it is accident but the publican of The Plume of Feathers wants to clear the name of his hostelry and pays a visit to Roderick Alleyn at Scotland Yard.

The local Chief Constable agrees to Alleyn investigating and it soon becomes clear that this is really murder. This is a well plotted novel with some fascinating twists and turns and a really ingenious murderer. Almost all of the suspects have secrets they are hiding from the police and almost all of them appear to be guilty though they seem to have no opportunity to actually do the deed.

I totally failed to work out who did it though of course when you look back the clues are there staring you in the face! An excellent crime novel by a master of the genre.
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