A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn Series #1)

A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn Series #1)

by Ngaio Marsh


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Ngaio Marsh was one of the queens (she has been called the empress) of England’s Golden Age of mystery fiction. And in true Golden Age fashion, her oeuvre opens with, yes, a country-house party between the two world wars – servants bustling, gin flowing, the gentlemen in dinner jackets, the ladies all slink and smolder. Even more delicious: The host, Sir Hubert Handesley, has invented a new and especially exciting version of that beloved parlor entertainment, The Murder Game.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781934609842
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem, LLC
Publication date: 11/16/2011
Series: Roderick Alleyn Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 170,629
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

From her first book in 1934 to her final volume just before her death in 1982, Ngaio Marsh's work has remained legendary, and is often compared to that of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. During her celebrated fifty-year career, Marsh was made a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, was named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, won numerous prestigious awards, and penned 32 mystery novels.

Now St. Martin's Dead Letter Mysteries is thrilled to make all of Marsh's novels available again for old fans to relish and new ones to discover. So sit back, draw the curtains, lock the doors, and put yourself in the hands of the Grand Dame of detective novels...

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A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
C_S_R More than 1 year ago
For those who don't recognize the name Ngaio ('Ney oh) Marsh is one of the Queen's of Crime. This particular novel is reputed to be the inspiration for Britain's Inspector Alleyn Mysteries. It's a whodunit/murder mystery with top-notch writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all of Ngaio Marsh's books years ago and really enjoyed them. It is great to have this audiobook that I can listen to when I am doing other things. The narrator is very good. Like rereading a favorite book all over again. Quilting and reading at the same time. You can't get better than that!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brilliant introduction to Inspector Alleyn. The story is fast paced, the characters are engaging, and theplot has plentyof twistsand turns. This is my first mystery by Ngaio Marsh and I am definitely looking forward to reading more. Fans of Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, or Michael Innes should enjoy this.
CCTynan More than 1 year ago
I particularly like Ngaio Marsh's books because you learn a little about all sorts of things - the theater, New Zealand, painting (his sidekick is a painter.) The plots are excellent - I have never guessed who the murderer is!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Dame Marsh is, essentially, New Zealand's equivalent to Dame Christie. Where Christie had, mainly, Poirot and Marple, Marsh had Alleyn and Scotland Yard. Both writers created fantastic characters. They both wrote tightly plotted and well-paced mysteries laden with red herrings. Both authors let subtle humor pervade their stories when organic to the telling. Christie has more of an edge to most of her works. Her belief that there are people who are truly wicked/evil by nature is blatantly obvious. Some of Marsh's books lean to that mindset, too. However, she also has protagonists whose bad acts are done in the heat of the moment-- that are not premeditated. All of Marsh's books stand alone as complete mysteries, but I recommend reading them in order from first to last, because there are a wonderful group of core characters that develop and grow as her "Alleyn" series progresses. If I was forced to choose which of these two authors' works I preferred, I would have to say Christie. But, in my opinion, that is rather like asking would I prefer Clive Standen or Chris Hemsworth to take me out for a night of dinner and dancing: no matter whom I choose, I can't lose.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Roderick Alleyn series, a mystery very much in line with Agatha Christy's style of murder and mayhem: clever investigator (although Roderick happens to also be a police officer), a crew of suspects that all have secrets to hide even if they aren't the murderer, a death that frequently involves the upper class, and therefore lots of big, musty mansions that hold as many secrets as rooms to serve as the setting. I love this type of mystery, as formulaic as they can be. If you love the formula, then seeing an author employ it exceptionally well is quite enjoyable. Marsh does add some elements to make her series unique. Alleyn is actually an aristocrat himself, who has chosen to work in the police force. Many of the mysteries feature the theater and the stage in someway. She deals with more police procedural details than the usual sleuth investigator story. That being said, this first in the series starts out with a very standard plot: guests are invited to a mansion for a weekend of a mystery game, where a mock murder occurs and they must unravel the clues to discover the killer. Of course, a real corpse turns up all too soon, and a real investigator is called in to figure out "who (actually) done it". Done before? Yes. But Marsh does it so well that it can be said that many of the examples today are imitating her, and it was a fun read. Clever enough, with a good mix of interesting and shady characters, to push me into adding this mystery series to my list of old regulars.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book really isn't my favorite Ngaio Marsh mystery. It's understandable that it's not really that good (imho) since it was her first novel and that she was competing with two other mystery greats at the time this was written: Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. I know, having read others, that she could and did do much better, so we'll chalk it up to this being her debut.summary, no spoilers:Ah! The ever classic English country house murder in all of its glory. At this particular country house, Frantock, young reporter Nigel Bathgate has accompanied his cousin Charles Rankin for a weekend stay. While there, the guests are invited to play "Murders," in which an unknown "murderer" is supposed to tap someone on the shoulder and say "you're the corpse." At that point, a gong is sounded and the fun is supposed to begin with the rest of the company trying to deduce who is the murderer. Well, someone forgot to tell a murderer that this was just a game; after the gong sounds, one of the group is found dead, and it's for real. Enter Inspector Alleyn and his associates to solve the case.All the classic elements are here: the country house, the multitude of subjects & motives, several red herrings and a baffling solution. This was fine. What really was not fine was the "Russian element" that sort of took way too much time and energy in the book. I think that truly if she'd just focused on the murder & its solution, it could have been a lot better. But that's just my opinion, and god knows I'm a very hard-to-please mystery reader.
citygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A perfect bit of fluff. English manor, aristocratic investigator, intrigue, deception, love, and snappy dialogue.
mmyoung on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this I am surprised that Marsh goes on to become one of the grande dames of mystery writing. The seeds are hard to see. An utterly routine house party murder with the usual rube goldberg murder -- with a side dish of ridiculous secret societies that did nothing to advance the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and they're all excellent. Relative bargains too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the subtle suspense. I did get somewhat confused with the secondary plot involving the Russian brotherhood and why it was relevant to the overall story line but it worked out to a good finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first story by one of the great golden age writers of british mysteries. Not her best, and unfortunately badly proof-read for this edition, but nonetheless an excellent introduction for those who like to read authors chronologically.
Winfield_Potter More than 1 year ago
Nice set up, little finish. I like this genre; I'm a big fan of Arthur Upfield, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie. I had never read any Marsh despite hearing good things about her. I hope this is not her best work, because it is, at best, merely good. The characters, setting, and writing are wonderful, but the plot, which starts out promising, slowly fails to keep up and eventually resolves itself in a pretty pedestrian, and unsatisfying result.
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