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Death and the Dancing Footman Mass Market Paperback – March 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Dead Letter Mysteries (Book 11)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312964285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312964283
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,492,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." --New York magazine

About the Author

From her first book in 1934 to her final volume just before her death in 1982, Ngaio Marsh's work has remained legendary, and is often compared to that of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. During her celebrated fifty-year career, Marsh was made a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, was named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, won numerous prestigious awards, and penned 32 mystery novels.

Now St. Martin's Dead Letter Mysteries is thrilled to make all of Marsh's novels available again for old fans to relish and new ones to discover. So sit back, draw the curtains, lock the doors, and put yourself in the hands of Grande Dame of detective novels...

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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It has an interesting cast of characters and great atmosphere.
William
The book was a little too long...I think that's one of the things I found that seperated her from Christie was that she tended to ramble and stall a bit.
Prestina Thompson
This is the fourth mystery written by Ngaio Marsh I've had the pleasure to read.
LEMETRICE

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kristen A. Criado on January 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Mash's books that I consider a "comfort book." When I don't know what else to read, I reach for this one. The story begins with a house party and a clutch of very unique individuals... of course, murder can't be far behind. It is true that Inspector Alleyn doesn't enter the story until halfway through the book, but that is really incidental. The characters are fascinating studies of human folly and they more than carry the story until Alleyn shows up. Aubrey Mandrake, a guest at the house party, plays a "Dr. Watson"-ish character and is himself quite engaging. This book is a must read for its quirkiness and it's wit. A great Marsh mystery.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wealthy, self-indulgent Jonathan Royal has decided to amuse himself by hosting a houseparty--but not so much for the pleasure of his visitors as for the satisfaction of his own sense of mischief: his guests have been selected for their antagonism toward each other! Needless to say, a number of kettles soon begin to boil... And murder is the result!
Well read mystery fans will probably spot the killer on the basis of previous experience, but DEATH AND THE DANCING FOOTMAN offers one of Marsh's better plots--and as usual she creates a vividly drawn cast of characters and presents her tale with considerable style and plenty of wit. Long standing fans will enjoy it and newcomers will be converted! Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss Ivonne on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Needless to say, Dame Ngaio Marsh can write some riveting mysteries: "Death in a White Tie," "A Man Lay Dead (A Roderick Alleyn Mystery)," and "Enter a Murderer" come immediately to mind. However, at times, Marsh becomes so enthralled with ridiculing some of her characters that she spends entirely too much time on the backstory and her writing veers into tiresome parody. Such was the case in "Overture to Death," first published in 1939. So, too, with "Death and the Dancing Footman," published two years later.

The flamboyant Jonathan Royal cruelly invites six guests who are mortal enemies to a house party, counting on an upcoming wintry storm to keep them housebound and at each other's throats. Such is the twisted Royal's idea of fine entertainment. So far, so good. However, some of the other characters never transcend into three-dimensional characters: the Complines, Francis Hart, and Madame Lisse descend into exaggerated archetypes rather than real people. By the time of the murder, halfway through the book, I was ready to chuck it in, and I very nearly didn't finish the book! I never thought I'd say that about a Ngaio Marsh book! Additionally, as others have mentioned, Inspector Roderick Alleyn doesn't put in an appearance until two-thirds of the way through the book. The book could have easily be trimmed by 50 pages and have been vastly improved.

If you're looking to skip a Ngaio Marsh book, make it this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MK Writer on June 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In _Death and the Dancing Footman_, Jonathan Royal, an eccentric gentleman (in the old sense of the word) decides to amuse himself by inviting a group of guests who antagonize each other. With a group of people unable to stand each other staying in a house during a snowstorm, the inevitable occurs, namely, murder. While I almost always enjoy the plot, writing style, etc., of Ngaio Marsh, I really love Chief Inspector Alleyn. Therefore, I was disappointed when he didn't appear until the last third of this book. Yes, he solves the murder, but you don't really get to see him interacting very much with the other characters, which is part of the charm of these novels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Prestina Thompson on November 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an absolute sucker for the old fashioned English whodunnit murder mystery style. I have read all of Christie's works and thought never would I read her equal. I still haven't but Marsh makes the closet bid I've seen yet in this novel.

The stage for murder is set when a bored and mischevious rich Englishmen invites several guests with dangerous secrets and obvious dislike for each other to his house for the weekend.

Tempers fly when the characters are thrown together and the result is attempted murder. Snowbound, the characters are unable to leave the situation even after the the murderer finally succeeds.

I really kind of chuckled at the host as he got far more than he bargined for out of his little psychological soiree'. The book was very amusing and kept me guessing up until the very end. I narrowed my list of suspects to two but still wasn't sure which one it was when the story ended. The detective doesn't play a large role here so don't expect Poirot. Alleyn comes in late in the novel and just wraps things up. The book was a little too long...I think that's one of the things I found that seperated her from Christie was that she tended to ramble and stall a bit. I grew quite inpatient to find out who the killer was as the book really had a lull in between the last murder and the solution. Otherwise though it was really a fun little romp. If you're a Christie fan give it a shot...you won't regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kayakmom21 on April 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book started off well and I had high hopes for it, but the ending was predictable. This does not seem like an Inspector Alleyn book because he is barely a part of the book. Very disappointing.
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