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Book Note: Ngaio Marsh, Grave Mistake

I read this book about 6-May-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1978. This note was last modified Monday, 05-May-2014 22:28:44 PDT.

This is book 30 of the "Roderick Alleyn" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


My first dip into Marsh, so far as I can remember. This must be a rather late work given the date.

It was fun to read, and I rather liked Inspector Alleyn. I noticed one reference to a brand of car -- a Heron, the same thing Archie drives for Nero Wolfe (and which Stout made up because at the time he was writing you didn't mention brand names).

There's a big glitch that really spoils the technical argument for me. The doctor and nurse, when finding the dead body, immediately pump the stomach and preserve the contents, while otherwise being careful to preserve the scene for the police. This, to me, is a clear sign that they're involved in the murder. The stomach contents could have been alterd (like adding the barbituate) to help conceal the smothering. The tablets in the back of the throat would then have made sense as overdoing verisimilitude. But in fact, no mention is made of the possibility of altering the stomach contents, either by the police of the doctor who performs the autopsy. Oops!

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David Dyer-Bennet