2007: 128. Death and the Dancing Footman

“On the afternoon of a Thursday in early 1940 Jonathan Royal sat in his library at Highfold Manor.”

Death and the Dancing Footman, Ngaio Marsh

This mystery starts with a nastily engaging premise.  Jonathan Royal has decided to play God, and plans a house party completely comprised of people who loathe each other.  This, unsurprisingly,* leads to murder.  The characters are pretty good - the mother who favors one son over the other, the woman with the face destroyed by plastic surgery (well, actually those are the same women but you get my drift), the modern social climbing playwright who is brought in to observe Royal’s show, but ends up being pulled into it all.    In fact, the characters (especially the above mentioned playwright, Aubrey Mandrake** of whom I grew quite fond!) are so good that you can ignore the fact that the method of murder was pretty must stolen from Sayer’s Busman’s Honeymoon.  Um, Ngaio, just because you reference the book in your novel doesn’t make the theft any less lame.

*Well, for a mystery novel. I mean, in real life it would just be massively socially awkward and people would go home.  Or there would be screaming rows, which was what Royal was looking for, I think.

** Né Stanley Footing

Recommended for:  People who like mysteries with engaging character and haven’t read Busman’s Honeymoon.   But, actually, read that instead.  OMG DO I LOVE LORD PETER.


Date/Place Completed: 8/13/07. D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Re-read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017