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Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh
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Grave Mistake (1978)

by Ngaio Marsh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Roderick Alleyn (30)

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476721,697 (3.8)8
Recently added byIcarpenter, c8bt, vrullan, K_Weston, aussiecowgurl, private library, EdJWebb, flashMinor, Askapart
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English (6)  Danish (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
1978, Inspector Alleyn, small village and upper crust-y society; cosy police procedural, classic. Story wonderful, narration poor.

When a spoiled and self-indulgent middle-aged woman suddenly dies at a posh “rest hotel”, the initial verdict appears to be suicide. But her many friends swear it was most unlike her, and Alleyn and Fox aren’t comfortable with the case either.

Nifty little time-capsule of a story that although set in early 1970s seemed to fit far better in the early 1950s, with its tightly structured social strata and its attitudes towards women. Yet this is a superbly crafted “village cosy”, complete with a long, leisured set-up, complicated unraveling, and careful denouement.


For this reread I listened to
1986, Chivers Audio Books, read by Jane Asher

Asher’s narration was extremely annoying, progressing to downright aggravating by the end. Her use of European accents was abominable, and a definite problem, as one of the major characters is supposedly Swiss in origin; she couldn’t make up her mind whether he had a French or a German accent, and every now and then threw in what appeared to be some sort of Balkan just for contrast.

And we won’t mention The Greek Millionaire’s accent, which was sometimes Italian, sometimes almost Greek, often also Balkan. And she’d slide accents around, not keeping the lines clear as to which character was speaking at any given time. aggggh. Never going to listen to Asher again if I can help it!! Think she’s been “fair” on some other reads I've listened to, but on this one with its multitude of foreign accents? Terrible.
( )
  Abbess | Dec 11, 2012 |
1978, Inspector Alleyn, small village and upper crust-y society; cosy police procedural, classic. Story wonderful, narration poor.

When a spoiled and self-indulgent middle-aged woman suddenly dies at a posh “rest hotel”, the initial verdict appears to be suicide. But her many friends swear it was most unlike her, and Alleyn and Fox aren’t comfortable with the case either.

Nifty little time-capsule of a story that although set in early 1970s seemed to fit far better in the early 1950s, with its tightly structured social strata and its attitudes towards women. Yet this is a superbly crafted “village cosy”, complete with a long, leisured set-up, complicated unraveling, and careful denouement.


For this reread I listened to
1986, Chivers Audio Books, read by Jane Asher

Asher’s narration was extremely annoying, progressing to downright aggravating by the end. Her use of European accents was abominable, and a definite problem, as one of the major characters is supposedly Swiss in origin; she couldn’t make up her mind whether he had a French or a German accent, and every now and then threw in what appeared to be some sort of Balkan just for contrast.

And we won’t mention The Greek Millionaire’s accent, which was sometimes Italian, sometimes almost Greek, often also Balkan. And she’d slide accents around, not keeping the lines clear as to which character was speaking at any given time. aggggh. Never going to listen to Asher again if I can help it!! Think she’s been “fair” on some other reads I've listened to, but on this one with its multitude of foreign accents? Terrible.
( )
  Abbess | Dec 11, 2012 |
Another great Marsh book, and I often love how she can put across so much in so few words.

Anyway, this is the story of lost loves, previous lives, lies, blackmail, murder, rich people and expensive items.

Sybil, a widowed woman who suffers from "her nerves" takes to the local hotel/hospital, where several weeks later she is found dead of a suspected suicide. The inquest can find no reason for the suicide (despite her daughter getting engaged to a rich but "unsuitable" - to Sybil - man) and her deplorable stepson from a previous marriage returning to the family home. However, the discovery of a new will, leaving money to the new Gardener and her new doctor, and writing her daughter out of it all if she goes ahead with the marriage makes people start looking deeper.
  nordie | Aug 20, 2011 |
I really didn't enjoy it all that much. I didn't like who was picked to be the murderer and it is set in the late 50's or early 60's, which is very annoying. Edwardian England is enchanting. England of the middle part of the century is simply depressing and vulgar. I didn't pick up on hardly any of the clues, mostly, I think, because I really wanted the murderer to be someone else. ( )
  Atlas | Dec 27, 2008 |
This was my first exposure to the Inspector Roderick Alleyn mysteries, and friends have told me that it probably wasn't the best one to read "first" (as it is near the end of the 30+ book series). Honestly, however, I enjoyed it. It's quite slow to get into at first, with perhaps too many characters introduced in the first few chapters. But, once the "murder" occurs, I got sucked into the story and the character interactions. Alleyn himself doesn't appear as fully developed as some of the "guest" characters, but that allowed the rest of the cast to shine.

Although I figured out parts of the "mystery" before the big reveal at the end, I was reading this one mainly for the atmosphere and the interesting characters. Ultimately, I found this one to be quite entertaining, and will certainly track down more Ngaio Marsh when the opportunity presents itself. ( )
  cannellfan | Feb 28, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ngaio Marshprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Törngren, DisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Gerald Lascelles
First words
'"Bring me,"' sang the ladies of Upper Quintern, '"my Bow of Burning Gold."'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Greengages Hotel was a sumptuous sanctuary for the super-rich. Until its most pampered hypochondriac too the cure. And then her life.
                  Or did she?

to find out, Scotland Yard sends Superintendent Alleyn to knock at the gilded gates where murder has paid a secret call.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312972970, Mass Market Paperback)

A spa stay turns into a homicidal holiday...

A bit snobbish and a trifle high-strung, Sybil Foster prides herself on owning the finest estate in Upper Quintern and hiring the best gardener. In fact, she is rapturous over the new asparagus beds when a visit from her unwelcome stepson sends her scurrying to a chic spa for a rest cure, a liaison with the spa's director...and an apparent suicide. Her autopsy holds one surprise, a secret drawer a second. And Inspector Roderick Alleyn, C.I.D., digging about Upper Quintern, may unearth still a third...deeply buried motive for murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:46 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Sybil Foster of Upper Quintern is terribly proud of her gardener and of her new asparagus beds, but when her unwelcome stepson arrives, she heads for "a chic spa for a rest cure, a liaison with the spa's director ... and an apparent suicide."--Cover.

» see all 2 descriptions

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