The brilliant glitter of a London social season acquires badly tarnished edges when a blackmailer goes to work against some of England's most notable social lions and lionesses. Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn turns to one of his friends, Lord "Bunchy" Gospell, known as everybody's favorite uncle and a very smart investigator in his own right, for help in uncovering the blackmailer.
And then there is a murder. And Alleyn finds himself deeply involved in the hunt for a ruthless killer and determined blackmailer in Ngaio Marsh's 1938 Golden Age classic, Death in a White Tie. It's the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the entire review by clicking here.
To me, this is one of Marsh's strongest books - only the seventh she wrote about Alleyn and his investigative team. Her characters are strong, her setting, the "coming out" parties of London's high society, is beautifully described and envisioned. Marsh could be a very good writer indeed, and readers will find a good deal of pleasure in her prose.
What we have in Death in a White Tie – as is so often the case with Ngaio Marsh’s best novels – is something of a grand comedy of manners mixed with a murder investigation and more than a touch of blackmail. It is a potent mix. Death in a White Tie has been reprinted by the Felony & Mayhem Press, and I do recommend it to you.
The 2015 Bingo Challenge
I have already mentioned that I am participating in the 2015 Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge. The Bingo card has 36 squares to be filled by reading a book appropriate to each square's instructions. Death in a White Tie is my entry for the square (sixth row, sixth column) called Eat, Drink & Be Merry: featuring food, drink or a party.