Saturday, April 10, 2010
Artists in Crime
By Ngaio Marsh. (1938)
Artists in Crime finds Chief detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn investigating the murder of Sonia Gluck, a life model at Tatler's End, a house owned by Agatha Troy and used as an artists group studio. This is Alleyns first case back from his year away in the antipodes. He made the acquaintance of Miss Troy when she was a fellow traveler on his journey back to London and although he didn't think he'd made a particularly good impression on her, she'd made quite an impression on him!
Alleyn and his usual side-kick, Fox, have their work cut out for them working through a group of temperamental and often egotistical artists to find the killer. Throw in sex, blackmail and some illicit drugs and things get quite interesting.
I really enjoyed this novel, especially as Ngaio Marsh broke all of the rules and introduced a love interest for her star detective. I enjoyed the way she had Alleyn and Troy tiptoeing around each other, quite convinced the other didn't think that highly of them. It was well done.
We also get the pleasure of meeting Lady Alleyn, Rory's mum. It's always fun to have these highfalutin detectives be trumped by their mums.
I also really like the Fontana cover, it was one of that series of covers they did in the 1960s that were borderline psychedelic and really interesting. I have a few of them now, and am always on the lookout as they're my favourites.