enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Ngaio Marsh, Colour Scheme

I read this book about 8-Dec-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1943. This note was last modified Monday, 05-May-2014 22:25:59 PDT.

This is book 12 of the "Roderick Alleyn" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A WWII vintage book, and set in her native New Zealand. At a minor hot-springs. The Claire's are really sad; both adults and one child. The second child is moderately sad. An amazing blend of inability, snobbery, and short-sightedness. Probably very realistic.

There's a neat technical trick. Inspector Alleyn isn't actually identified until the last sentence of the book; he appears in disguise considerably earlier. I did finally notice about half-way between.

The plot includes spies, some of them real, cads and bounders, and Maori, including one man raised in their traditional culture who has been an MP in their parliament and a journalist, but is now retired and living back with his tribe. Two ships are sunk, too; one of them loaded with gold.

I think of this one as mostly a set of character studies. Many of them are very good, if not that pleasant. It's darker somehow than most of hers (appropriate for 1943 in New Zealand; the Japanese getting there wasn't that unlikely), and the main focus of the war was elsewhere.

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David Dyer-Bennet