lørdag den 26. juni 2010

Ngaio Marsh, Artists in Crime (1938)


Ngaio Marsh (1895 – 1982) may still be the most famous crime fiction writer from New Zealand. This novel is the sixth in the Alleyn series, and the story where he meets Agatha Troy, the brilliant painter, whom he marries later.

Here is Alleyn´s first impression of Miss Troy when they meet on a boat from New Zealand back to England:

”Sitting on the canvas cover of one of the boats was a woman. She seemed to be dabbing at something. She stood up and he saw that she wore a pair of exceedingly grubby flannel trousers, and a short grey overall. In her hand was a long brush. Her face was disfigured by a smudge of green paint, and her short hair stood up in a worried shock, as though she had run her hands through it.”

This may not be art crime, but certainly artist crime. Alleyn falls for the interesting artist at first sight; she misunderstands him and feels annoyed by his unwanted attention while he, the nobleman, sees her beauty, her talent, her personality and her great intelligence behind the coat of paint.

Agatha Troy is going back home to Britain to begin a painting class for a handful of promising painters. As the reader expects, a murder soon takes place in the small, closed circle, and of course Alleyn is on the case, giving him a chance to be close to her.

There are several points of resemblance between this fine Golden Age whodunit and Dorothy L. Sayers´ Strong Poison, the novel where Lord Peter Wimsey meets Harriet Vane, the interesting and intelligent author who is accused of murder. Wimsey falls in love at their first meeting and does everything to save his beloved, but she is far too proud to accept his proposal.

2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge # 6

Coming up later this weekend: Competition - win a gift card.

11 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Oh, thank you for this review : ). Isn't this a terrific book? I'm glad you drew the comparison to Strong Poison, too, as I think it's an apt one. OK, now I will have to go and find this one and re-acquaint myself with it : ).

Bibliophile sagde ...

I have been slowly making my way through this series for the last 3-4 years, ever since I got nearly all of them for free at a local charity shop where they were being given away because the shop people didn't think anyone would want them!
Marsh, in my opinion, is quite on par with Christie and Sayers as a mystery writer and deserves more recognition. I loved Artists in Crime - I think Troy gave more interest to Alleyn as a character, allowing Marsh to develop him in a way that would have been difficult otherwise.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: yes, it is a very fine Ngaio Marsh. A real treat if one likes Golden Age mysteries.

Bibliophile: I agree that Marsh is a first class writer of mysteries, and I like the novels which feature Agatha Troy for exactly the same reasons that I like the Peter Wimsey stories which include Harriet Vane. Quite funny, really, as I rarely go for love stories in modern series.

Kelly sagde ...

Ngaio Marsh....an author I've heard of many times, but never read. His name has always stood out to me since I don't know how to pronounce it!

(Do I dare admit I've never read any Dorothy Sayers?)

Kiwicraig sagde ...

Thanks for your review of this Ngaio Marsh classic Dorte. It's one of the ones of hers I have on my bookshelf, but haven't yet read. I just read DIED IN THE WOOL recently (one of her four set in NZ), and will be posting a review soon.

I've linked to your review on my 'Links to Kiwi crime fiction reviews' static page - see:
http://djskrimiblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/ngaio-marsh-artists-in-crime-1938.html

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: actually it is a ´she´, and as far as I know you don´t pronounce the ´g´ of Ngaio. And if you like cosies, you *should* try Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. Their world is charming & quite innocent, despite the crimes. Wonderful escapism.

Craig: thanks for the link. I have a handful of her books on my shelf (bought quite cheaply in Danish second-hand shops), but I ordered this one because I wanted to read about Alleyn meeting Troy.

Kelly sagde ...

Yikes! Thanks for setting me straight on the gender! How to pronounce her name was obviously not the only thing I was confused about!

Kiwicraig sagde ...

Oops, I meant see: http://kiwicrime.blogspot.com/2010/06/links-to-external-crime-fiction.html

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: with a (traditional)Danish name you always know if it is male or female, but it is just not like that all over the world.

Beth F sagde ...

I've read lots of books in this series, but I'm not sure I read this one -- so this is where he meet Troy. Ahhhhh.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: Yes, I chose it because I expected it would be extra good - and it was!