There will always be an England, and in the world of traditional crime fiction, there will always be an Upper Quintern, the sort of Little English Village that is home mostly to the very rich and the servants who make their lives delightful. But Sybil Foster’s life is not delightful, even if she does have an extremely talented gardener. Exhausted from her various family stresses – a daughter, for instance, who wants to marry a man without a title! – Sybil takes herself off to a local hotel that specializes in soothing shattered nerves. When she’s killed, Inspector Alleyn has a real puzzler on his hands: Yes, she was silly, snobbish, and irritating. But if that were enough motive for murder, half of England would be six feet under.
About the Author
Dame Ngaio Marsh was one of the queens of the golden age of mystery and the author of 32 titles in the Inspector Roderick Alleyn series. She was born and grew up in New Zealand.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Grave Mistake based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This was my first exposure to the Inspector Roderick Alleyn mysteries, and friends have told me that it probably wasn't the best one to read "first" (as it is near the end of the 30+ book series). Honestly, however, I enjoyed it. It's quite slow to get into at first, with perhaps too many characters introduced in the first few chapters. But, once the "murder" occurs, I got sucked into the story and the character interactions. Alleyn himself doesn't appear as fully developed as some of the "guest" characters, but that allowed the rest of the cast to shine.Although I figured out parts of the "mystery" before the big reveal at the end, I was reading this one mainly for the atmosphere and the interesting characters. Ultimately, I found this one to be quite entertaining, and will certainly track down more Ngaio Marsh when the opportunity presents itself.
It's been interesting to read this series in order. Her later books have more modern dialogue and the main characters are more relaxed with each other. This book finds Alleyn and company doing what they do best, poking around in a murder in a small village. The conversations between Alleyn and Fox are what I enjoy the most and are at their best in this book. Everything is satisfactorily resolved, well, almost everything. I like it when the best not so good people don't reward for the misdoings and that doesn't happen here. It's probably a better reflection of real life though.