Overture to Death, by Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh and I are totally BFFs, even if she doesn’t know it, largely because a bunch of her books are on OverDrive and so it is SO EASY to listen to them! After Death of a Fool, I was like, give me more! And so I found this little number, which promised music and therefore I was in.

There’s not really music. Unfortunately. But there is a FANTASTIC murder device, which is a gun attached by pulleys to the soft pedal of a piano, such that when our murderee sets down to play some Rachmaninoff, she shoots herself in the face. WHAT.

I am loving Marsh’s ability to murder people.

And then the story is even better β€” it’s established in the lead-up to the murder that this woman, called Miss Campanula, and her BFF/arch-enemy Miss Prentice, are not well-liked by anyone. And it is Miss Prentice who is meant to play the overture at the play that night, except that she has been injured and while she really really means to play, no one will let her and Miss Campanula takes her place at the last minute. So, first question: who was meant to be killed that night?

There are red herrings and seeming red herrings all over the place, and pretty much everyone is like, “I wouldn’t mind if both of them were dead, except I don’t really mean that, or do I,” and “everyone” is SO MANY PEOPLE and I suspected all of them at one point or another but only one person did it and it’s sort of interesting who and how that happened.

I’m learning Marsh’s tricks, so I’m not quite as awed by her mystery-weaving abilities this go-round, but trust me, she’s got them.

Recommendation: If you like a whodunnit, you’re gonna like this.

Rating: 8/10
(Vintage Mystery Challenge, RIP Challenge)

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4 thoughts on “Overture to Death, by Ngaio Marsh

  1. Steph says:

    I love “Golden Age” mysteries, so I've become familiar with Marsh's name, but admit I've never actually read anything by her. I'm so glad to hear you've found her so much fun!

  2. Alison says:

    Kailana β€” I didn't really do audiobooks, either, until last year when I had a long commute to school, and now this year when I have lots of busywork that doesn't require much attention. I've tried listening to them while just sitting around, but I always get distracted by other shiny things!

    Steph β€” Read her! Do it! Do it now!

  3. Bev Hankins says:

    I'm so glad you're loving Ngaio Marsh. She's one of my favorites! I've added this to your list on the Vintage progress site. You've actually reached the Murderous Mood level–so anytime you'd like to claim your prize, feel free to email me (phryne1969@gmail.com).

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