Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Vintage Murder

Scotland Yard's Inspector Alleyn cannot take a holiday without falling into a murder investigation. While vacationing in New Zealand Alleyn finds himself investigating the death of a theater company magnate. During a birthday celebration for his leading-lady wife Alfred Meyer is killed by a hurtling magnum of champagne, falling from the eaves of the theater. Finding the killer seems impossible; many had motive, but no one seems to have had the opportunity. Alleyn steps in to help the local police investigate.

While I generally enjoy this sort of murder mystery, this one was rather ponderous. So much of the investigation relies on highly technical measurements: exactly how was the bottle rigged, where was the ladder placed, and so on. The book also features a large cast of characters, most of whom are entirely uninteresting. I had a hard time keeping track of all of the characters, and I didn't particularly care about most of them. There's also the issue of Marsh's somewhat racist treatment of native New Zealanders. I will likely try another Inspector Alleyn mystery, but I will look for one outside of a theatrical setting.

Ngaio Marsh, Vintage Murder (Amereon, 1983, orig. 1937) ISBN: 088411497X


Bev Hankins said...

There are definitely better Marsh books to be had. Overall, I like the ones set in Britain better.

Got you updated!

Laurie said...

Thanks very much- more reviews will be coming shortly- I'm a bit backlogged!