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Publisher's Summary

Ngaio Marsh’s most popular novel begins when a young New Zealander’s first contact with the English gentry is the body of Lord Wutherford - with a meat skewer through the eye....
The Lampreys had plenty of charm - but no cash. They all knew they were peculiar - and rather gloried in it. The double and triple charades, for instance, with which they would entertain their guests - like rich but awful Uncle Gabriel, who was always such a bore. The Lampreys thought if they jollied him up he would bail them out - yet again.
Instead Uncle Gabriel met a violent end. And Chief Inspector Alleyn had to work our which of them killed him....
©1941 Original Text of 1941 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." (Times Literary Supplement)
"The queen of the straight crime novel - long may she reign!" (Sunday Times)
"Brilliantly readable...first class detection." (Observer)
"Ngaio Marsh transcended the detective genre by the power of her writing and the rich variety of characters who people her novels." (P. D. James)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Meep on 11-26-15

Worth waiting for!!!

Hooray!!! I've been waiting forever for an unabridged recording of Surfeit of Lampreys to appear here at Audible, and it finally has with the added bonus that the reader is absolutely stellar. I can not overemphasize how good Philip Franks is, what a treat that new recordings are being offered with a reader that does justice to the work.
As far as the actual story goes, it's not one of my favorites, because I don't really like the Lampreys all that much (except for Henry), but they have many charming or funny moments to recommend them and are well worth visiting. The mystery is good, I think, and sticks to the rules of providing the reader with the critical clue, but obfuscating it so effectively that I, for one, did not notice it at all until we reached the reveal at the end. This is a golden age mystery, and not a modern police procedural, so some may find it slow, but if you are a fan of golden age works as I am, I think you will very much enjoy this one.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

By Anita Hagins on 12-16-15

1930's "Cosy" murder mystery perfection.

Inspector Allen! Upper class twits! Can't be beat.
Ngaio Marsh never fails to deliver a tightly plotted believable mystery. Excellent character development.
If you live Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey) you will love this and any other of Marsh's books.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Jean the Bean on 12-11-16

Marsh joy

Even if you have heard the dramatised or abridged versions of this story, this is well worth a listen. It's one I am sure I will enjoy again and again (as I do with other Insoector Alleyn stories. Ngaio Marsh never did produce a pot boiler. Every single one of her full length Alleyn mysteries is beautifully written - a joy to read or hear. You

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By slb on 10-31-16


Wonderful reading of possibly the best Alleyn story. Just wish Mr Franks could do all the Alleyn books......he is far and away the best interpreter.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 08-18-17

An enjoyable period piece

Where does Surfeit of Lampreys rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is an enjoyable audiobook and the narration is very pleasant. I don't think I'd listen to it twice but it passed the time very nicely while I was doing long commutes.

What other book might you compare Surfeit of Lampreys to, and why?

Any other Ngaio Marsh book.

What about Philip Franks’s performance did you like?

Philip Franks can do accents and voices for different characters without making you feel like screaming. There's a dozen or so characters to keep track of which is easy with the very identifiable voices.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A Surfeit of Lampreys and a Plethora of Red Herrings.

Any additional comments?

The story is more than a little dated and the attitudes of the characters are definitely more difficult to understand or find sympathy for in the modern day. At times, despite being assured by the narrator and authorial comment, that these people were utterly charming I found them annoying and entirely culpable for their own problems which jarred a little.

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By Vanessa Young on 12-02-15

Good golden age detective mystery.

Would you listen to Surfeit of Lampreys again? Why?

Yes, I enjoy Ngaio Marsh mysteries. I have read the story in book form and there is enough humor and the story is dense enough that it will stand hearing again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Surfeit of Lampreys?

The opening. The heroine's life is wide open from the start and the reader is never sure what is going to happen to her.

What does Philip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Phillip Franks is a very pleasant reader, he paces the story perfectly, his different character voices are excellent. You never get the feeling that he is thinking "Oh now I better put on a woman's voice". He is also good at the class distinctions, a very difficult task for modern readers of classic detective fiction of the Marsh, Christie, Sayers type. Many get the voices wrong for any characters who are not 'upper class', as Alleyn is in this book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, when the twins stubbornly stuck together and near the end when Roberta and Henry were trying to process what had happened.

Any additional comments?

If you like Agatha Christie you will enjoy Ngaio Marsh, but if you like gritty realism, or lots of blood and gore, a detective who has a troubled past/personal life and lots of scientific or DNA type evidence then this is probably not for you.

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