2007: 125. Overture to Death

“Jocelyn Jernigham was a good name.  The seventh Jocelyn thought so as he stood at his study window and looked down the vale of Pen Cuckoo toward that precise spot where Salisbury Cathedral could be seen through field glasses on a clear day.”

Overture to Death, Ngaio Marsh

This is the book that kept me reading Marsh.  Compared to the last two, which were dull at best and slogs at worst, this murder had absolutely compelling characters that perhaps were “better than Christie.”  The book concerns a play at Pen Cuckoo where two nosy, sex-starved spinsters are fighting for the affections of the vicar, and one ends up dead.  The question isn’t who could have wanted to do it, but who didn’t - both women were meddling, prying, and awful.  It’s almost like murder meets Mapp and Lucia, but the characters aren’t played for laughs, but rather shown as how unbearable people like that can be.  Plus, the murder itself is rather ingenious - the victim played the piano, and once she hit the soft pedal, she was shot by a gun rigged inside of the body.  Fancy!

Seriously, if someone was interested in Ngaio Marsh, or indeed, just a good 1930’s murder mystery, this is the one I would recommend.


Recommended for:  Someone interested in Ngaio Marsh, or indeed, just a good 1930’s murder mystery (hee!)


Date/Place Completed: 8/10/07; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction; Re-Read


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017