Monday, July 23, 2018

Artists in Crime: Review

In Artists in Crime (1938) Ngaio Marsh introduces Inspector Roderick Alleyn to his future wife. It'snot exactly an auspicious beginning to a romance. Alleyn is on his way back to England by boat from his extended leave and encounters Agatha Troy on the boat deck where they both had sought solitude--he for a quiet, contemplative pipe and she to do a bit of painting away from the other passengers.

    "I had an idea," said the painter, "that if I worked up here on this hideously uncomfortable perch, I might possibly have the place to myself for a bit."

She definitely makes him believe that she doesn't care for him at all.

Then when they've both returned to England, she heads to her country home, Tatler's End, where she paints and hosts students and fellow painters. He stops at his mother's home not far away for a final respite before returning to London, the Yard, and work. They are brought together again when the artist's model hired for the latest class is killed by the very method demonstrated in response to an illustration that one of the students needs to do for a book. A knife was driven through the modeling dais and when Sonia Gluck (the model) was pushed into position the blade went through her heart. Who did it? Was it the sculptor who had tired of their affair? Was it one of the women who were jealous of Sonia's way with men? Maybe it was the man with a title who dabbled in art and who had his own secrets with Sonia. There are hints of blackmail, a whiff of poison, and motives galore. Will Alleyn manage to find the murderer among Troy's friends without alienating the woman he's begun to love?

A clever little mystery with plenty of red herrings and interwoven motives to distract the reader. In addition to reading this, I also listened to an audio novel version read by Benedict Cumberbatch. He does a very good job giving voice to all of the characters--making it quite easy to keep them all straight. A thoroughly enjoyable story in both mediums. ★★★★

[finished on 6/17/18]


Yvette said...

Benedict Cumberbatch narrated this? Oh, wow. I have to find that. I liked this book a lot, Bev. Read it a while back when I was in thrall to Ngaio Marsh and read all her books one after the other. :) Roderick Alleyn in love - sigh.

Bev Hankins said...


Yes, he did. He also has narrated Death in a White Tie. :-)