2007: 120. Artists in Crime

“Alleyn leant over the deck-rail, looking at the wet brown wharf and the upturned faces of the people.  In a minute or two they would slide away, lose significance, and become a vague memory.”

Artists in Crime, Ngaio Marsh

Marsh is supposed to be part of the great Golden Age mystery writers, like Christie and Sayers.  I came to Marsh much later in life, and am not quite so familiar with her work, but I went on a tear in law school and bought and read a whole bunch of her work, and I am now (starting with this book and continuing on for the immediate future) rereading all the books I amassed back then, since I am lately in the mood for moderately taxing reasonably interesting light fiction, and this fits the bill.

Marsh’s detective is Roderick Alleyn, a gentleman (of course!) police officer.  He works with Inspector Fox (a regular bloke) and occasionally brings along his Watson in the form of Nigel Bathgate, reporter.  This is actually a pivotal Alleyn novel, as this is the one in which he falls in love with his (SPOILER ALERT) future wife, Agatha Troy.  It is a murder that takes place in an artists colony, and has a nice flair for the artistic types, and a reasonably clever solution.  

I find that Marsh is more hit or miss than Christie - her very best characters are more realistic - like real people, even - but her not so good stuff is much, much more dull than the weakest Christie.  She is no Sayers, but no one, sigh, is.*

Recommended for:  People who have read all of Christie and want to find a new detective series; artists who have secretly wanted to kill the competition (to live vicariously through, of course!!)


*Seriously, Lord Peter, call me!!


Date/Place Completed:  8/3/07; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction; Re-Read (though, as with all of these, I had completely forgotten whodunnit!!)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017