Monday, September 28, 2015

Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh

cover of Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh
I have been busy with other things, but somehow I managed to finish two books at around the same time. How did I do that, you ask? It's because one was on Kindle and the other was in print from the library. Overture to Death was the print book, and it was a re-read of one of Ngaio Marsh's novels. I've been feeling in the mood for some good classic mysteries and Ngaio Marsh never disappoints. Overture to Death was the eighth Roderick Alleyn book, and it was published in 1939. The plot centers around a small village of Chipping, where two elderly, and by elderly I mean early fifties, women want to make the local rector her own. Eleanor Prentice is the maiden aunt who lives with the local squire and his son, Henry. Henry has his eye on the rector's daughter, Dinah, and Eleanor is apposed to it. Idris Campanula is the other spinster. The local group, with the local doctor and the Mrs Ross, a beautiful newcomer to town, decide to put on a play to pay for a replacement piano. When Idris replaces Eleanor at the piano the night of the play, she is shot in the head by a booby trap in the piano. Alleyn is called in to solve the murder, and there are a tangle of clues to make things even more muddled. This is one of the earlier Alleyn's, so Nigel Bathgate makes an appearance.

Overall, the mystery was not easy to solve, and there were red herrings to wiggle around. My favorite part of any of Marsh's novels is the depiction of the characters. I felt that I could really visualize the characters, and I found myself drawn into the plot. All in all, it was a very enjoyable mystery.

As a note, I loved the cover of the book. Yes, it is rather graphic, but I think that it's eye catching. Don't you just want to read a book with a picture of a dead body sprawled on a piano?

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