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The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh

The Nursing Home Murder (1935)

by Ngaio Marsh, Dr. H. Jellett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Roderick Alleyn (3)

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6831722,170 (3.57)56
For one unlucky Member of Parliament, a simple visit to the hospital (the & ldquo;nursing home & rdquo; of the title) proves fatal. But as Inspector Alleyn will discover, any number of people had reason to help the gentleman to his just reward, including the sour surgeon, his besotted nurse, a resentful wife, and a cabinet full of political rivals.… (more)



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English (16)  Danish (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A double helping of Ngaio Marsh linked by poisoning!
The Nursing Home murder is the third Alleyn book and again features Nigel Bathgate as Alleyn's Boswell. A rather nicely put together mystery with plenty of red herrings but again Alleyn hasn't quite taken shape as the much loved character of the later books. There's the 1930's stock in trade sub plot involving anarchists/communists which is rather fun and some uncomfortable stuff about eugenics as well as a reenactment of the murder scene which is becoming a rather tired gambit (it's a feature of the first four books but dropped after that I think).
Final Curtain is the fourteenth book in the series and the characters of Alleyn, Troy and Fox are much more realised. Unfortunately the suspects are a little less well delineated - Troy has taken a painting commission from the family of a retired great actor and the multiple middle aged daughters and daughters-in-law are rather confusing, particularly given the convention of calling them by their husbands names (e.g. Mrs Henry Ancred). However Marsh's knowledge of theatre people shines and the picture of life in a Britain still coming to terms with the end of the second world war is well drawn.
Both are enjoyable reads. ( )
  Figgles | Sep 10, 2019 |
In this Inspector Alleyn mystery, a politician dies while undergoing an emergency medical procedure, but his wife insists it was murder. When the post-mortem confirms her belief, Alleyn is called in to sort through the political and personal entanglements that may have brought about his death. Alleyn has no shortage of suspects to review. Sir Derek O'Callaghan was in the process of pushing forward a bill to curtail communist activities, and the people associated with that political group are not happy. However, Alleyn believes the motive may have been a much more personal affair. The head surgeon, Sir John Phillips, was a former friend of Sir Derek that was nursing a bitter grievance against him. Sir Derek had had an affair with the woman Sir John loved, Jane Harden, and dropped her. Jane also happened to be a nurse working the operation that took Sir Derek's life. Other suspects include the other doctors and nurses in attendance that day, and his well-meaning sister who thought her experimental drugs would be the cure. Alleyn interviews the suspects, gathers clues, and disguises himself to drop in on secret political meetings. In the end he catches the culprit, and the motive is more surprising than all the red herrings suggested.

I would say this is a fun and quick mystery, and a fast read, but not my favorite Inspector Alleyn mystery. Sir Derek is not a likable character. The first fifth of the novel focuses on this rather unpleasant man and his political machinations, followed by a lot of medical jargon in the operating room, and while it may add realism, it wasn't that gripping. The story picks up after he's killed (a morbid thing to write, but this is a murder mystery, so it's what I was waiting for), and Alleyn comes on the scene. We were finally into the meat of the mystery investigation and that was better, even if the anti-communism intensity was not as interesting as the parts that focused on personal relationships. The ending was an unexpected twist that was surprising yet justified. And I do enjoy the regular characters that peopled these pages, such as Alleyn, Fox, Nigel, and Angela. Overall, a satisfying mystery experience, but there are other stories by the same author that held more suspense and excitement for me. ( )
  nmhale | Sep 2, 2019 |
The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh is part of the Inspector Roderick Alleyn series and this one is an interesting whodunit where the murder occurs in an operating theatre. When Britain’s Home Secretary Derek O’Callaghan dies shortly after an emergency appendicitis operation, no-one suspects foul play at first. It is only after his wife insists that someone killed him that an autopsy is performed and indicates that the Home Secretary was poisoned by a high level of a drug that was used during the operation but supposedly in extremely slight amounts.

Chief Inspector Alleyn is called and finds that very nearly everyone in the operating room had a reason to kill O’Callaghan, one nurse was his ex-lover, the surgeon was in love with the nurse and furious with O’Callaghan for his casual use of her, the second nurse is a Communist sympathizer who believed O’Callaghan and his government was ruining the country. Also in consideration are his icy cold wife and his rather pushy, naive sister.

Lots of suspects, lots of red herrings to keep the reader guessing right up to the final reveal that occurs during a re-enactment of the operation. I enjoyed this mystery during the reading but I suspect it won’t long be remembered. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 14, 2019 |
Continuing my sequential read of Marsh, she's hit upon what is a very early example of a police procedural. For which, bravo, but for bringing in eugenics, "hereditary insanity" and Bolshevism, boo. And then there's that consistent endangering of Alleyn's civilian buddies. Another demerit for the most uses of "rum" as an adjective in mystery history. ( )
  wdwilson3 | Feb 19, 2017 |
I have been reading Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn mysteries for the best part of 50 years,and have reread many of them. I had never heard of The Nursing Home Murder,never came across it in libraries or discussions about her books. So I was eager to read it when I decided to reread all her books in order. This was book 3 in the series,and I found it very strange. Inspector Alleyn is almost unrecognizable as the character I have known. This man is often facetious,rather like the young Peter Wimsey on a very bad day. The relationship with his sidekick is off too,far too much fun is poked at our dignified Brer Fox,and we see Alleyn stifling laughter at him on several occasions. This is NOT the Alleyn I know!
We often go to Marsh not for complicated plots,which they are often are,but for the discerning eye for social quirks that Marsh brings to her depictions of the British class system,as she was a New Zealander,slightly on the outside in some ways,and that leads to wry ,and sometimes sly digs at the upper classes.
I have now found out that she wrote this book in collaboration with another person,so maybe that accounts for the oddities. The murder method is exceedingly lame,a mere contriving to hide the weapon. There is no characterisation at all,except for the peculiar Alleyn himself.There is a lot of poking fun at communism,a very common thing at that time,but so crudely done as to be farcical,and not to be taken seriously at all as a murder motive. Bit off a letdown,I hope the next book in the series will be better! lol. This certainly will NOT be a Marsh book that I would want to read again! ( )
  dustydigger | Jun 24, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ngaio Marshprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jellett, Dr. H.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Jellett, Dr. H.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jellett, Henrysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Home Secretary, with an air of finality, laid down the papers from which he had been reading and glanced round the table.
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