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23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Matter of Taste 18 décembre 1999
Par frumiousb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This is not my favorite Ngaio Marsh novel. One of the things I like about her later books is where they break from the more classic chamber mystery form. This, her first book, (while still being very readable and enjoyable) is much more in the line of the tried and true formula. The characters are, as always, interesting and well-drawn; the red herrings are sufficiently misleading. Solid all the way around.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A beginner's classic cozy 7 décembre 2003
Par Karina A. Suarez - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Until now, I had never read anything by New Zealander Ngaio Marsh. Shall I ever again? Well, yes, especially when I feel in the mood for a `classic cozy'; and I mean that quite literally. This is Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn's first mystery. He has to be the most shrewdly charismatic of all the sleuths created during the Golden Era of mystery. In its most classic sense, "A man lay dead" takes place at an English country house. A party of five guests arrives for a weekend at Frantock, Sir Hubert Handesley's residence. Quite the tycoon, Handesley distinguishes himself in party planning and antique weapon collecting. One of his guests, Charles Rankin, brings with him not only his dull journalist cousin; but also a very old (and priceless) dagger of Mongolian origin. Upon perusal by Sir Handesley and the other guests during cocktails, the weapon appears to have a bloody past: it is believed to have been savagely used by some secret Russian organizations during the time of the Bolshevik revolts. Needless to say, after seeing the specimen Sir Hubert's mouth waters, his Russian butler disappears mysteriously, his only Russian guest, a Dr. Tokareff, starts acting weirdly then ever; and... Charles Rankin is stabbed in the back with the weapon during `The Murder Game', which was supposed to be the entertainment of the weekend. Thus, the innocently planned party becomes quite eerie, its guests more tense than ever; even though they all appear to have cast-iron alibis.
This first novel is somewhat general at times, but two thirds into it, I couldn't put it down. I found ingenious the way Marsh would not give away whodunit right up to the last two or three pages in the book. Alleyn keeps everyone on their toes during a constant guessing game, and even though at times he may appear disconcerting to everyone else involved - including the reader - he is very much in control of his ideas, suave as ever. I did find, however, that the Russian element in the story was pushed a bit too much. Even though the dagger does have a bloody past, it has really nothing to do in the end with the actual solving of the crime. In bringing on a complicated background of Russian espionage, Marsh confuses the reader with so many new characters and plot twists. In the end, it all goes back to the beginning - literally - to Frantock, where Alleyn, in a most dramatic display of his powers of persuasion, taunts the murderer into self discovery. I very much enjoyed reading the descriptions of the English country settings and the way the game is planned - perhaps I shall try it for my next party? No dagger, mind you - and I look forward to more Inspector Alleyn mysteries, where, due to Marsh's love of the theater; everything has quite a dramatic development.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
What a wonderful start 19 mars 2003
Par J. P Spencer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
In 1934 Ngaio Marsh gave us the first of a series which for lovers of the English cozy deserves to be known better than I think it is. This, the first in the series gets things off to a great start. True, this may not be Ms. Marsh's best crafted pure mystery; she got better with time and the plot here is so much a paradigm for the genre that it is at least now a cliche. But Roderick Alleyn arrives on the scene as an interesting and believable centerpiece with enough of an enigma about him to make us want to know more. I have read a half dozen others before coming to this one but wish I had started here.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Far superior to Christie. 17 décembre 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Ngaio (Nye-O) Marsh is by far the greatest mystery writer to grace this earth. In this, her first book, she introduces her detective, Roderick Alleyn. Her attention to detail, incredible ability to describe the minutae of her locales, and willingness to provide the reader with all necessary information to solve the mystery (and still make it very difficult to do so) are just a few of attributes. If you only read one Marsh, make it "A Man Lay Dead."
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A very well-done Golden-Age mystery 16 mai 2001
Par Matthew Gladney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
"A Man Lay Dead" is a tight, well-written, and fun little murder mystery. It isn't a very long book, and reads quite fast, so it serves its purpose well as a quick and cozy get-a-way to 1930s England and the crime that seemed to run rampant there in the world of detective fiction.
The set-up is deliciously wicked. A group of people gather at an old country estate for a game of Murder. Someone is secretly selected to play the murderer, and then at some point during the weekend has to pick a person to kill (not for real, of course). Well, someone takes the play-acting a little too far, and a man does, indeed, end up laying dead.
The characters are delightful representations of 1930's stock murder suspects, and they are all well-drawn by the author. The protagonist, Detective-Inspector Alleyn, is quite an "all-business" kind of man, but his character develops remarkably, and naturally, well as the story unfolds. Some of the tedious things he does early-on make sense by book's end.
This was a very enjoyable mystery. I only deduct one star due to its rather superfluous nature (it's not a classic of the genre, or anything), however, in my opinion, it does everything a detective story should, and in the best possible way.
Short, sweet, and highly entertaining.
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