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A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

A Man Lay Dead (1934)

by Ngaio Marsh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Roderick Alleyn (1)

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684None13,931 (3.52)36
  1. 00
    Hamlet, revenge! by Michael Innes (themulhern)
    themulhern: A much superior country house murder, with an obligatory romance, a murder within a play (rather than a game), and a detective who lives in London. Published just a few years later (1937) when war was definitely in the air.

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Six-word review: Cheerfully outlandish cozy delivers comfy quickie.

Extended review:

Ngaio Marsh's first Inspector Alleyn mystery, and my first Ngaio Marsh, is everything we look for in a British detective yarn of the golden 1930s. A house party at a country estate takes a ghastly turn when one of the guests is found with a knife in his back, and no one is above suspicion. Secret romances, jealous triangles, Russian conspirators, and watchful domestics keep the pages turning while a clever sleuth ferrets clues and sets traps. What more could we ask? ( )
  Meredy | Mar 14, 2014 |
A very superficial country house investigation. The forced whimsicality is just awful and Alleyn's snottiness is unbearable. The casualness with which people who have published pamphlets attacking the government can be arrested makes one really value the Bill of Rights of one's own country. The whole Communist subplot is woefully dumb. The obligatory romance is just pathetic. The mystery itself is not bad at all, but the unmasking of the murderer is ridiculous. This was published between the two world wars (1934), but WWII is not on the mind of any of the guests.

Michael Innes did this so much better. Even, e.g. Hamlet, Revenge! (1937), which does contain a romance is so much more interesting. ( )
  themulhern | Jan 16, 2014 |
This is closer to 4 stars, really, but I think Alleyn could have been developed better. The country house mystery is very good though I would have appreciated more humour. Will definitely read more, it's not outstanding but it's a cut above the rest, for sure. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
At a house party with a mix of guests there's a murder game planed which turns terribly messy when the body turns out to be really dead. . Inspector Alleyn is called and with the help of a young journalist and one of the young ladies at the party he investigates.

Intermingled with some dastardly Russian plotting! The Russians are is very cliched and the accents... the less said the better. But a product of it's time and quite a good read for all that. I enjoyed it and the characters. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Oct 15, 2013 |
This is a classic, country house murder mystery, and the first of the Alleyn mysteries. I really think Marsh is at her best writing this sort of English countryside whodunit. A weekend house party leads to a body with a ceremonial dagger thrust in its back. In the house there are blossoming relationships, some mysterious Russians, a secret brotherhood, and Alleyn is called in to investigate. The result is a fast-moving and satisfying mystery. ( )
  lahochstetler | Aug 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ngaio Marshprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saxon, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For My Father and in memory of My Mother
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Nigel Bathgate, in the language of his own gossip column, was "definitely intrigued" about his week-end at Frantock.
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Book description
Ngaio Marsh's classic first novel

Wealthy Sir Hubert Handesley's original and lively weekend house parties are deservedly famous. To amuse his guests, he has devised a new form of the fashionable Murder Game, in which a guest is secretly selected to commit a "murder" in the dark and everyone assembles to solve the crime.

But when the lights go up this time there is a real corpse with a real dagger in the back. All seven suspects have had time to concoct skilful alibis - and it is Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn who has to try and figure out whodunnit...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312963580, Mass Market Paperback)

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Murdered.

At Sir Hubert Handesley's country house party, five guests have gathered for the uproarious parlor game of "Murder." Yet no one is laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse, the good-looking and mysterious Charles Rankin. Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to find a complete collection of alibis, a missing butler, and an intricate puzzle of betrayal and sedition in the search for the key player in this deadly game.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:49 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A game of "murders" at Sir Hubert Handesley's country house party becomes far too realistic for anyone's liking. First a guest arrives with a dangerously lethal dagger and then, when the gong sounds to announce the start of the game, the victim plays dead with a very convincing manner.… (more)

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