Thursday, December 20, 2018

Colour Scheme: Mini-Review

Possibly Spoilerific....Read at your own risk if you have any desire to read Ngaio Marsh's mysteries.

So...the last time I read Ngaio Marsh's Colour Scheme (1946), I gave it a very unenthusiastic two stars. Unfortunately, I have to report that I still don't think much of it. If you'd like a review that goes a bit more in-depth, then please see my earlier review (HERE). This time around, I'd just like to reiterate what a very long wait we have for A. the murder and B. for Alleyn to show up. And it's not like first-time readers are going to know that it's Alleyn when he does show up. Other than, obviously, the series says that it's all about Inspector Roderick Alleyn. When he does show up, there isn't the usual investigation. Quite honestly, most of the detective work goes on off-stage and the only point where alibis and what-not are examined is when the household gathers for a little pow-wow while the local police are off collecting clues or some such thing. 

The best thing about the book is the way Marsh brings Maori culture and people into the story without making a major production of it. It's just there, so to speak, and the reader absorbs it along the way without having to think about it or be distracted by it too much. Her descriptions of the countryside is particularly good as well. And I do like the characters of Dikon Bell and Barbara well s Barbara's uncle, Dr. Akrington, and his bickering relationship with his brother.

Currently, this is my lowest-rated Marsh book. I'm on a mission to reread her novels (most of them as part of the Ngaio Marsh Reading Challenge this year and next on Goodreads), so we'll see if any others disappoint me in the future. ★★

{It may seem hard to believe...but , and this is definitely a spoiler, the method of murder really is in the title.}


Kate said...

I'm surprised at your low rating. Not because I have read it and immensely enjoyed it, but I have always understood Marsh's New Zealand books are some of her strongest efforts. However at least you've help me dodge a bullet with this one.
I'm impressed that you're re-reading Marsh and so extensively. I can't say she is an author I desperately wish to re-read. Probably two I would, but the other I am not that fussed about.

Bev Hankins said...

Kate: I hadn't read Marsh extensively since I was a teenager (and had discovered her shortly after having worked my way through our library's collection of Christie novels). When I saw the Marsh challenge I thought it would be a good time to revisit her books and see what I thought of them now. I did enjoy her previous book with a New Zealand setting (Vintage Murder) and I have fonder memories of Died in the Wool (also in New Zealand and up first in January).