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Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Old Bag of Tripe

Enter a Murderer
Ngaio Marsh

St Martin, 1998, 1935

This classic whodunit mystery is the second in the series by Ngaio Marsh. Roderick Alleyn is a detective working for Scotland Yard. His friend, Nigel, is a newspaper reporter who invites Alleyn to a play in which his good friend is starring. One of the cast members is a disagreeable drunk who has rubbed several people the wrong way. As you might expect, this actor gets “accidentally” shot during one of the scenes. Luckily, Alleyn is there to conduct an immediate investigation and everyone in the theater is a suspect.

Ngaio Marsh is considered one of the “crime queens” that wrote mysteries during the thirties and forties. As opposed to Christie, however, Marsh uses quite a bit of slang that was popular in England at the time, and which most modern American readers will have absolutely no idea what it pertains to. I found the detective to be a pompous jerk who ridiculed others while acting smug and self-righteous. Nigel, his dumb sidekick, wasn’t much better. This was a difficult book to read and understand; too bad the experience did not justify the effort.

Some inexplicable quotes from the book:
“You old sausage”
“We’ve got to come all over scientific”
“You couple of boobies”
“Shut your silly face up”
“You fatuous old bag of tripe”
“He’s been the cat’s paw”

And the winner:
“If Diogenes had rolled up against you, he’d have got out of his barrel, filled it with booze and made whoopee.”


Rating Explanation:
I couldn't give it one cupcake because I had to finish the book for a book discussion group.

There are many other books in the Roderick Alleyn Mystery Series. Go to to see the library catalog.

Other authors you may enjoy:
Agatha Christie
Dorothy Sayers
Josephine Tey
Michael Innes

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