Inspector Alleyn Strikes Again!

I got four more Ngaio Marsh mysteries from the library, and I’ve read three of them over the past few days: Hand in Glove, Singing in the Shrouds, and Final Curtain. Taking the last one first, it wasn’t bad. It was a little difficult for me to judge since I already knew who the culprit was, having seen this particular story on the DVD I watched. I did think it was better done than the movie version, and I liked that Marsh was apparently less squeamish than the producers about killing off more than one character. The story called for it, I think, and so it needed to be done.

Singing in the Shrouds also wasn’t too bad. It took place almost entirely on board a ship from London to Cape Town which was a nice little twist. And there was an excellent (and well-hidden) clue to the identity of the victim that I didn’t pick up on until the ultimate exposition by the detective. I was also pleasantly surprised by the identity of the culprit as well as pleased that it did seem obvious in retrospect. A little too much psychology, but just about every detective has to bring that in. If the crime was solved merely on the evidence, most crimes wouldn’t be that mystifying to the reader.

Hand in Glove I liked least of the three. Some of the important characters ran together in my head (though I may just not have paid enough attention) and I thought the murderer was crashingly obvious because of an ill-hidden clue to the identity. The story lacked the zest that most of Marsh’s other books have, I thought.

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