Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Singing in the Shrouds

Singing in the Shrouds. Ngaio Marsh. 1958. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: In the Pool of London and farther east all through the dockyards the fog lay heavy. Lights swam like moons in their own halos. Insignificant buildings, being simplified, became dramatic.

Premise/plot: Singing in the Shrouds is the twentieth novel in Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn mystery series. Cape Farewell is about to steam out to sea when a body is discovered near the docks. It is believed that the murderer is a passenger on the ship. Inspector Alleyn joins the ship--in disguise--the next day. He not only wants to find the murderer--who has already struck three times--but to prevent another murder from occurring. This serial killer is striking every ten days. And the voyage is much longer than ten days! Can Alleyn discover the murderer among the passengers without being discovered himself?

My thoughts: I am loving Ngaio Marsh. I am. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to her mystery novels. I enjoyed getting to know the passengers. There were some interesting characters among them--some prove Alleyn's great allies. One of the passengers was a 1950s version of Jerry Springer--a television personality of a reality talk show where guests bring him their personal troubles. 
When it comes to separating the easygoing from the exacting passenger, stewards are not easily deceived. But Dennis had been taken in by Mr. Merryman. The spectacles, the rumpled hair and cherubic countenance had led him to diagnose absence of mind, benevolence and timidity. He was bitterly disappointed when Mr. Merryman now gave unmistakable signs of being a Holy Terror. (24)
It's the greatest mistake to think that jealousy is necessarily a fault. On the contrary, it may very well sharpen the perception. (54)
'Alibis,' Mr. Merryman said grandly, 'are in the same category as statistics: in the last analysis they prove nothing.' (85)
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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