Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: A Man Lay Dead

A Man Lay Dead A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have fond memories of Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn, so I picked up this book, in which he makes his debut, with a great deal of eager anticipation. The image I had of Alleyn was that of a sophisticate, well-mannered sleuth from Scotland Yard. I don't know whether my memory is all-wrong or whether he changes in the course of the series but in this he is pretty facetious, even over-bearing and rude at times.

The novel itself is a mish-mash. It begins well in a country house where guests assemble, one of them with a Mongolian dagger, to play a game of Murder. And we all know how that game would end, don't we? With hardly any suspects, it is not too hard to solve the mystery. But the writer tries to confuse the issue with some Russian brotherhoods operating in England. In fact, the book reminded me of another boring book: Margery Allingham's The Crime at Black Dudley.

*

First Line: NIGEL BATHGATE, in the language of his own gossip column, was "definitely intrigued" about his week-end at Frantock.

Series: Roderick Alleyn #1

Source: Open Library
Other books read of the same author: (Among others) Artists in Crime.

View all my reviews

13 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the complications, Neeru. Still, I have to say, the country house setting is great, I think. And Marsh wrote, in my opinion, some fine dialogue.

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    1. Perhaps since I have read some very good mysteries by Marsh, I expected a lot more from the book, Margot. This one just didn't work for me.

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  2. I recently read the first Dorothy Sayers and was similarly saddened.

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    1. I have never dared to read a Sayers after that disastrous Whose Body? Glad you too are of the same opinion, Patti.

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  3. Someone just donated 8 Ngaio Marsh mysteries to the Library Book Sale and I bought them all. I'll have to check to see if A MAN LAY DEAD is among them.

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    1. I have read some good mysteries by Marsh, George. Hope the lot you bought has the good ones:)

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    1. This one didn't work for me, Mathew but others have quite liked it:)

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  5. It's not my favorite Ngaio Marsh book, but still I'd rather read it than lots of the stuff being published today in the guise of 'mystery'. Still, I understand your reservations, Neer. It's not topnotch. For that you have to go to DEATH OF A PEER or DIED IN THE WOOL or ARTISTS IN CRIME or A CLUTCH OF CONSTABLES or NIGHT AT THE VULCAN or OVERTURE TO DEATH or....well, you get my drift. :)

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  6. It's not my favorite Ngaio Marsh book, but still I'd rather read it than lots of the stuff being published today in the guise of 'mystery'. Still, I understand your reservations, Neer. It's not topnotch. For that you have to go to DEATH OF A PEER or DIED IN THE WOOL or ARTISTS IN CRIME or A CLUTCH OF CONSTABLES or NIGHT AT THE VULCAN or OVERTURE TO DEATH or....well, you get my drift. :)

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    1. Yvette, I am very fond of ARTISTS IN CRIME which was the first Marsh that I ever read. I will definitely read the others that you have mentioned.It is just that there was a big disconnect b/w how I remembered Alleyn and how he turned out to be in this book. And yes, whole-heartedly agree with you as regards what are called 'mysteries' nowadays.

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  7. I am not a fan of this book much either - I'm not really much of a Marsh fan to be honest (I prefer Allingham, though I know you are I have our differences about her). I did actually find this one pretty irritating as I recall!

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    1. Thank God after our massive disagreement about Allingham's Police at the Funeral, we agree on this one, Sergio:)

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