lørdag den 5. september 2009

Ngaio Marsh, Death in a White Tie (1938)

This cozy mystery is a fine example of the Golden Age of crime (the 1920s and 30s). Though written by a New Zealander, the setting is London, and the novel gives a fine sense of the environment and the period.

To be totally honest, I reread this novel as part of a competition to win a book. On the other hand, why shouldn´t I, as I enjoyed reading Mrs Marsh´s mysteries years ago and own several of them.

The first lines which should give you an impression of the environment and the period:

“Roderick,” said Lady Alleyn, looking at her son over the top of her spectacles, “I am coming out.”

“Out?” repeated Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn vaguely. “Out where, mama? Out of what?”

“Out in the world. Out of retirement. Out into the season. Out. Dear me,” she added confusedly, “how absurd a word becomes if one says it repeatedly. Out.”

Like Lord Peter Wimsey, Detective Inspector Alleyn of Scotland Yard is a handsome and charming, noble investigator, and he seems quite taken by the painter Agatha Troy. (Not quite his class, and as she has been involved in a criminal case, she is too proud to marry him, Dear Reader).

Alleyn is engaged in a case of blackmail among the upper circles in London at a time when scandals mattered. Soon the dead body of one of Alleyn´s friends appears in a taxi, however, making him even more determined to solve the case.

This 7th Alleyn story is vintage Marsh – strongly recommended for lovers of the classic, cozy mystery.

Ngaio Marsh, Døden i kjole og hvidt (1969).
Denne krimi, som først blev udgivet i 1938, er et fint eksempel på kriminalromanens guldalder (1920erne og 1930erne). Selv om forfatteren er New Zealænder, udspiller serien sig i London, og romanen giver et udmærket indblik i perioden og miljøet.

For at være ærlig, genlæste jeg den i et forsøg på at vinde en bog. På den anden side, hvorfor skulle jeg lade være, eftersom jeg nød Alleyn-serien meget, da jeg var yngre.

Ligesom Lord Peter Wimsey, er inspector Alleyn fra Scotland Yard en smuk og charmerende adelig detektiv, og han er stærkt interesseret i maleren Agatha Troy. (Hun er ikke helt af hans egen klasse, og eftersom hun har været indblandet i en kriminalsag, er hun for stolt til at gifte sig med ham).

Alleyn bliver engageret i en sag om pengeafpresning blandt de bedre kredse i London på en tid, hvor skandaler virkelig betød noget. Og snart efter bliver liget af en af Alleyns personlige venner fundet på bagsædet af en taxi, og naturligvis er han endnu mere opsat på at opklare sagen.

Den syvende Alleyn-krimi er en klassisk Ngaio Marsh – anbefales for tilhængere af den traditionelle, ´britiske´ hyggekrimi.

16 kommentarer:

Bibliophile sagde ...

I am reading the whole Alleyn series in order of publication and have found them to be of a consistent good quality where the mystery element is concerned, while the settings and/or characters are sometimes a bit over the top (such as those in "Spinsters in Jeopardy"). My favourites of the series are the theatre mysteries. Marsh was in her element in the theatre and always managed to make them interesting.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

Thanks for your review, Dorte. I haven't read this one and it sounds like a beaut!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Bibliophile; I have probably read a dozen or so, most of them rather good mysteries, but I don´t plan to collect all of them - mainly because there are so many new crime novels out there.

Elizabeth; One could almost say that Ngaio Marsh ought to be part of your cozy mystery curriculum ;)
She is considered one of the classics together with Christie, Sayers and Allingham, and as you can probably see from my review, Alleyn has much in common with Peter Wimsey, and the series feels very British. (Most of them are set in London, as far as I know, but there is at least one, Died in the Wool, which takes place in New Zealand).

R. T. sagde ...

Bravo, Dorte! I enjoy your comments about Marsh, one of my favorite "golden oldies." More people ought to "rediscover" Marsh's works.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks sagde ...

I love the vintage cover! Is this edition from 1938, or is it a reprint?

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T. Thank you very much. Whether you call it a Golden Oldie or Olden Goldie, Marsh was very good at what she did and deserves being mentioned together with Christie, Sayers and Allingham.

Dorte H sagde ...

Dawn, I think it is a reprint. I couldn´t find ´my cover´ so I picked the most charming one I was able to find. At least it looks reasonably 30ish.

Heather sagde ...

Isn't wonderful to find that many of these books are able to transcend the passage of time and still be a captivating read.

Julia Smith sagde ...

' Dear me,” she added confusedly, “how absurd a word becomes if one says it repeatedly. Out.” '

I love that - I often find myself in that circumstance.

I really like the cover of your vintage book, Dorte.

Petty Witter sagde ...

Hi, just visiting via Sherries books, where I also received the zombie chicken award - congratulations on your award. Happy blogging.

Dorte H sagde ...

Heather; yes, it is certainly not necessary to pick brandnew books to have a great reading experience :D

Julia; I am glad you enjoyed my quotation. I think it says so much about the atmosphere of this book. If you ever read mysteries, I think this one could be a good one for you.

Hi Petty; great to meet you. I am glad you popped in.

Petty Witter sagde ...

Hi, thanks for getting back to Pen And Paper and your kind comments. I do read some crime - I have all the Kathy Reichs books (at the moment I am reading 206 Bones) as well as all of Faye Kellermen's. If you pop over to see me again in the next day or two I will be reviewing 206 Bones - I hope to see you then.

Dorte H sagde ...

Petty: I have added your blog to my ´secondary blogroll´ - the one with book blogs of all sorts :D
See you around!

Beth F sagde ...

I love this series. It was one of first ventures into the genre -- Marsh and Sayers. I love Alleyn. Last year I started the series over on audio. I got sidetracked after the second book. I'm gong to have to make a better effort because it was fun to revisit the books.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth, I agree that Alleyn is a charming protagonist, but I think I read too many of them in a year or two (cheap second-hand paperbacks), and after some time on the same diet I sometimes feel I need something completely different. It was fun to meet him again, though. And if I don´t win this competition, I may have to reread more of them.

Ms. Bookish sagde ...

I grew up on Marsh and Christie - I've always preferred Alleyn over Wimsey. When I first started blogging about books, I got so very lucky - a very nice blogger sent me a whole batch of Marsh paperbacks in exchange for some of my old paperbacks! I haven't had a chance to reread any of them yet - I really should.