Death in a White Tie : Roderick Alleyn

  • by Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by James Saxon
  • Series: Roderick Alleyn
  • 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A body in the back of a taxi begins an elegantly constructed mystery, perhaps the finest of Marsh’s 1930s novels.
The season had begun. Débutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim.
But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend, Lord Robert Gospell, at the scene. But someone else got there first....

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What the Critics Say

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Ngaio Marsh’s Death in a White Tie is the best detective story I have ever read..." (Dashiell Hammett)
"[This audiobook has] a distinction that puts the author in the front rank of crime story writers." (Times Literary Supplement)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Terrible sound quality ruins the experience

Ngaio Marsh and Inspector Alleyn are as reliable as ever in this mystery, and I don't feel much need to review the story itself. If you enjoy Ngaio Marsh novels, include this in your reading, it's a no brainer. Unfortunately this narrator is not so great, and the sound quality of the recording is atrocious, which makes this overall a mixed review.

First of all, the narrator James Saxon does a good enough job of speaking clearly and getting pauses, inflections, and pronunciations correct. And he does possess the capacity for a wide range of character voices. But he's not disciplined enough in their use to make it a great rading. As noted by others, he is hit and miss about giving the characters distinctive voices consistently, and the accent of one character often bleeds into surrounding prose or even other characters' lines. So, when you have a choice among narrators for a Ngaio Marsh title, I would definitely recommend Nadia May over James Saxon, and Philip Franks did a frankly masterful job on the title he narrated.

Finally, the recording quality here is downright atrocious. It's not just a matter of some general noisiness common to 90s-era and earlier audiobooks that were recorded or archived on tape. That's annoying, but one gets past it relatively quickly.

In the case of this book however, chapter by chapter there are variations in volume levels, background hiss, and recording quality. Some chapters sound like a 70s-era cassette recording of a 30s era radio broadcast. Even then, if the quality were consistently bad, it would be one thing, but it jumps around and every time it gets worse, you get more annoyed. This is just plain bad product, and that makes it all the more enraging that Audible is charging a premium price.

I expect an $18 audiobook to be a new recording, or a really excellent older recording. But this is just terrible, and Audible shouldn't be charging more than five bucks for it.
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- David Adams

Very Poor Recording Quality

The book was good but the recordings itself was so poor it was hard to enjoy. I had to listen to the entire recording at three-quarter speed in order to distinguish the words. Disappointing.
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- Katherine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-01-2015
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK