Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Although she was a New Zealander, Ngaio Marsh has been considered one of the five great British ladies of Golden Age mysteries, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Josephine Tey, and Margery Allingham.  (where, I wonder, is Gladys Mitchell?)  Dame Ngaio is best known for her 32 novels featuring Detective Chief-Inspector (later Chief Superintendent) Roderick Alleyn.  As a member of the gentry (his brother had recently ascended to a baronetcy just prior to the events in the first novel in the series), Alleyn is cast as a gentleman detective, much like Elizabeth George's much later Inspector Thomas Lynley.

In his first book adventure, A Man Lay Dead (1934), Alleyn must solve a murder at a week-end house party where all seven suspects have strong alibis.  The death had occurred during a seesion of the Murder Game, a very popular pastime in Britain at the time.

The radio adaptation of A Man Lay Dead was the first of four Alleyn mystery novels presented by the BBC starting in 2001.  Alleyn was portrayed by Jeremy Clyde, who -- along with being an actor -- was one-half of the Sixties folk group Chad & Jeremy.

Enjoy matching wits with Dame Ngaio and Roderick Alleyn.