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Final Curtain (1947)

by Ngaio Marsh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Roderick Alleyn (14)

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678323,471 (3.82)24
Sir Henry, the Shakespearean actor, had died following his birthday dinner. His large eccentric household of flamboyant characters are suspect, including his glamorous young fiancée who is to benefit from Sir Henry's change of will in her favour. Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn is called to investigate with his wife, Troy as the star witness.… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
A marvelous book! We get Troy and Roderick both, which I do love. And both points of view, which I find fun. The puzzle is complex, and I wasn't sure till the very end who was the culprit, which is the very best.

It's important to remember, if you haven't the context, that Alleyn was sent to New Zealand for his war work, and Troy was in England doing hers, so they were apart 3 years. And remember, you couldn't really phone NZ from UK at that point - calling from one part of the country to another required a live operator and a waiting period for an open line. So for 3 years, they had only letters. And he didn't just fly home - he takes a ship, and she doesn't know for weeks when he will arrive. They manage to get her 3 days notice when the ship is close. So different from our lives today!

It's well worth a read - and if you aren't reading the whole series, you might want to read Artists in Crime first, the 6th in the series, which is the book where Roddy and Troy first meet.

( )
  mirihawk | May 21, 2020 |
Ultimately a let down. Much of this book is written as an examination of a particular type of English upper class family -- a family that wallows in the "specialness" and whose eccentricities are accepted where similar behaviour would be considered acceptable in members of another class. Marsh's obsession with this type of family goes back to her earliest books. Behaviour that would be considered narcissistic and even pathological is presented as tragic, annoying but charming or quirky if expressed by members of the correct class and educational background.

If the book were simply an examination of this type of family -- caught in amber at the last moment in time in which they could exist -- this book would be interesting. Marsh's need to cram a murder mystery into this scenario ultimates results in the book ending in a damp squib rather than a explosion let alone a satisfying conclusion.

Books like this underline how much Marsh's Scotland Yard and her detectives are mired in a world that was already dying before WWII and was moribund by the time this book reached publication. ( )
  mmyoung | May 23, 2010 |
I enjoyed this more than the other Marsh mysteries I've read. More character to it. ( )
  MrsLee | Nov 12, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ngaio Marshprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schmidgall, BenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Joan and Cecil With My Love
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"Considered severally," said Troy, coming angrily into the studio, "a carbuncle, a month's furlough and a husband returning from the antipodes don't sound like the ingredients for a hell-brew."
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