Death of a Fool (Roderick Alleyn Series #19)

Death of a Fool (Roderick Alleyn Series #19)

by Ngaio Marsh


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The village of South Mardian likes the old ways. This may be 1957, but South M. still features a blacksmith, a village idiot, and an elaborate fertility ritual performed at the winter solstice. There's squabbling, of course, and things come to a head when one of the ritual's main players is found be-headed, everything north of his neck having been neatly lopped off by a ritual sword.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631940163
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem, LLC
Publication date: 12/07/2014
Series: Roderick Alleyn Series , #19
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 496,952
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ngaio Marsh was one of the queens of British mystery. Born in New Zealand, she was the author of 32 titles in the Inspector Roderick Alleyn series.

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Death of a Fool (Roderick Alleyn Series) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NormaDruid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here I enjoyed Marsh's very thorough research on old English folk plays. She had a background in theater and is always amusing when she uses a theater background.The setting is an English village not all that long after WWII. They are still coming to grips with changing their old ways. The rather threadbare aristocrats of the tale are obviously getting their fun out of tradition, since they are not yet comfortable with much else.
mmyoung on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At this point in my rereading of Marsh I realize that I am having trouble seeing the books as they were received when first written and published. This particular story bothered me particularly for a number of reasons:First, Marsh's books continue to be painfully class ridden. Members of the gentry are well educated, speak standard English and either privately wealthy or hold down jobs as artists, lawyers or doctors. Members of the lower class are badly educated, speak painfully broad dialect and carry on the modern day equivalent of the jobs of their forebears. The books was published in 1956 and yet it reads as if it were a flashback to a time far earlier.Second, one expects the murder mystery writer to use smoke and mirrors to distract the reader from the "truth" of whodunnit. What is not reasonable is that her detectives should be able to solve the crimes they are investigating in little time if it were not for the fact that they are constantly unwilling to do their actual work. In earlier books Alleyn felt uncomfortable requiring fingerprints from suspects and in later books he seems to feel uncomfortable actually asking questions. People don't answer questions. Police don't ask questions. Suspects are allowed to mill around and move things. In this particular case the SPOILER WARNING!!!!! murderer spends much of the book ordering those who witnessed the murder to shut up whenever they come close to spilling the truth--in front of police officers. The only way Marsh can account for the difficulty of solving the case is to have the local police officers act like bucolic yokels and the men from Scotland Yard to spend more of their time deferring to the gentry and feeling uncomfortable asking questions than doing the work they were called in do to.Marsh does not limit her stereotyping to the gentry and the "peasants" either. The German woman in this book acts not like someone who has lived in England for years but rather as a recent refugee from the movie version of Nazi Germany. Marsh also throws in, for good measure, a rather nasty picture of the those who are 'inappropriately' interesting in British forkways. Appropriate interest is felt by members of the British gentry. Inappropriate interest is felt by foreigners who wear "different" clothes and speak with accents.Throw in a thoroughly broad and uninformed picture of epilepsy and you have a book that seems to have been designed to reflect the biases and preconceptions of the fairly narrow demographic that made up Marsh's readership.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot, and her biographers consider it one of her best. The characterizations are brilliant. The book's failing lies in the fact that the ritual dance, which is the centerpiece of the book, is very hard to follow, and since the murder takes place during the dance, those who read mysteries in order to guess whodunnit don't have much of a chance. Still, the setting is very vivid, and the characters are beautifully drawn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank goodness I had read many of her other mysteries before I picked up this one. If this had been my first book by Ngaio Marsh it probably would have been my last. The language in it is very difficult to follow so the story is also difficult to follow. If you must read it, save it for last and remember all of her other fine books.