Ngaio Marsh's most popular novel begins when young New Zealander Roberta Grey comes into contact with the Lamprey family, a peculiar bunch with plenty of charm but no money. The Lampreys revel in their eccentricity and entertain their guests with complicated charades. But when one game goes wrong and rich Uncle Gabriel is found murdered in a most grizzly manner, the only person capable of solving the crime is Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn.More
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Good ... But what did they leave out?
AN OLD FAVORITE FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF MYSTERY
Nagio Marsh is perhaps on one of the least well-known of the Golden Age mystery writers, but her plots are always well-knitted and her characters intriguingly quirky. They don't come any more eccentric than the Lamprey family, from whom the title comes, and her device of inserting the shrewd, but unsophisticated New Zealander allows for telling commentary on both the other charaters and English society in a gentle manner. The murder is suitabley gruesome and mysterious,. The murderer is not at all obvious and yet clearly indicated in hindsight, a feat easier to read than to write. I certainly recommend this book as one of the author's best.
Marsh's estimable hero, the upper-class, oh-so-suave Roderick Alleyn, does become a little tiresome, but the fault is in the writing. Alleyn needs a few faults and foibles to be truly lovable. The performance itself is workmanlike and enjoyable.
- Jennifer R. Golden