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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Enter a Murderer (Roderick Alleyn #2)

Enter a Murderer - Ngaio Marsh

I've had Ngaio Marsh on my TBR pile for a few years now, and kept putting her off because the titles I have are all related to acting (Marsh herself being a former actress), and the stage and it's behind-the-scenes drama doesn't interest me much.  Still, she's a Golden Age writer of note, and I was determined to give the books a try.

 

I got off to a rough start; Golden Age writers generally have a very different writing style from most of today's fiction.  More staccato, more concise, and it takes me a period of adjustment to find the rhythm.  Enter a Murderer felt like that adjustment period took longer than usual, but once I found the groove, it was easy reading.

 

Alleyn has pale shades of Holmes about him; he's a thinking man's detective, and he likes to hold the clues close.  This was not a fair play mystery, though it was written smack in the middle of the era of Fair Play.  Still, I liked Alleyn well enough and I quite liked his sidekick, Nigel Bathgate.

 

The plot was, perhaps, trying too hard to be clever.  By the end (after the reveal) it's obvious what Marsh was aiming for, and it was an admirable goal, but achieving it required a fair amount of convoluted plotting.  I don't know if it didn't work for me because it was overdone, or because it required too much time with the secondary characters, all stereotypical stage actors of one sort or another, and hence, unreliable in the extreme.  Either way, I was unable to buy the motive, although I did enjoy the ride for the most part.

 

I have a few other Marsh books on the TBR pile, and I'll happily read them; there's enough here to peak my interest, if not quite enough to spark my devotion.