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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
13
4.7 out of 5 stars


TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 April 2014
This is one of my favourite Ngaio Marsh whodunnits. The plot centres around a few upper-class, long-standing families in the village of Swevenings, an old-fashioned, class-ridden society which now seems charming and secure, although really it was already dying. Roderick Alleyn is called in to investigate the savage murder of Colonel Carterette, because Alleyn is of the same class and will find it easier to penetrate this group of friends - and enemies. Ngaio Marsh has a lively style and a sense of humour and her characters are vividly drawn and just a little larger than life. The nosey local midwife, the heavy-drinking ex-military man, the snobbish aristocrats, the quarrel ostensibly about a trout and fishing rights, even the trout, the women forced into marrying for money and position because they have few other opportunities to make a way for themselves in life, the lonely bachelors, all are sympathetically drawn and very recognisable. This is what I like most about the Roderick Alleyn books.
The plot is a little dated, in a civilised way, but not obvious or boring. I never try to guess the murderer, but sometimes one can't help realising who it is. This has happened to me only once while reading a Ngaio Marsh novel, and it wasn't this one! I found it absorbing and enjoyed the story of the characters more than the actual murder mystery, so that I was sorry to say goodbye to them at the end of the book.
This book was published in 1955, when Marsh had been writing about Alleyn for 21 years. She went on writing about him until 1982, so obviously he aged more slowly than the average man! She was a very good writer, more on a par with Marjorie Allingham than Agatha Christie, in my opinion i.e. witty, versatile and skilled with words. I recommend this book to those who enjoy a gentle, intelligently written village whodunit.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 August 2012
A group of country families have lived in the village Swevenings for many years. They do not always get on and there are arguments over who has fishing rights to precisely which stretch of river. When one of the anglers is found dead it is thought that maybe an argument had escalated especially as a very large trout - known as the Old `Un has finally met is match and is also lying dead beside the angler.

But murders are rarely simple and Roderick Alleyn is called in to investigate. An observant District Nurse who sees more than her patients might want her too; a scandal from the past which connects two of the families; young love which threatens to turn into a Montagu and Capulet situation and a matriarch who is far from stupid make for a difficult investigation for Scotland Yard.

This story is well up to Ngaio Marsh's high standard and I found the information about fish very interesting. I liked the characters especially Lady Lacklander and Commander Syce as well as Octavius Danbury-Phinn and his cats. An entertaining mystery well told with some amusing incidents and asides from Alleyn's colleague, Inspector Fox.
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on 25 August 2009
One of my favourite Ngaio Marsh novels. The "rampant snobbery" is no more obvious in this book than in most of the other Roderick Alleyn stories, where he is constantly mistaken by his upper class suspects as "one of themselves" and the more earthy Inspector Fox perceived as the lower class norm of policing in the Marsh landscape. It was of the period, and Alleyn, although an actual policeman, followed in the footsteps and the tradition of Lord Peter Wimsey and Albert Campion.
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on 9 December 2016
I only bought it because I'm a fan of Cumberbatch, particularly his deep British English voice. I'd recommend it to everyone sharing the same obsession.
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on 25 November 2013
In the 1950s this author and Agatha Christie were amongst the few writers of crime fiction available. This novel is worth reading.
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on 31 August 2013
To add this to your collection is a fantastic read. I have a lot of Ngaiao Marsh and every one is great.
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on 21 March 2013
Writing as a fan of this novelist, I can say that I found it to be well up to expectation
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on 8 October 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch has such a beautiful voice, and is a brilliant reader!
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on 5 April 2013
Another excellent Ngaio Marsh, brilliantly read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Love his understated Alleyn, and the excellent quality of the women's voices , but am a huge Cumberbatch fan anyway :) I like the unusual story, (you dont get many about fish) and I love the ending with the nurse. Enjoy.
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on 2 May 2014
gives new life and vigiur to these golden age detective stories and showcases what is one of Benedict Cumberbatch's great gifts in the quickfire alternation and mental agility to inhabit the voices and accents of such a variety of characters.
Great fun to listesn to and that is what these stories were intended to do after all - entertain !
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