MONEY IN THE MORGUE by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy
Ngaio Marsh was one of the four golden age crime queens along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. All four were very different in their approach to their novels. Marsh was exceptional in her depiction of setting and with her interest in the theatre, her stories often took on the feel of a stage play. When she died in 1982, she left behind the first few chapters and title of Money in the Morgue, which Duffy has completed seamlessly. At no place is it evident where Marsh’s story ended and Duffy’s begins.
It’s World War II and DCI Roderick Alleyn is undercover as a patient at Mount Seager Hospital in New Zealand. The hospital is filled with convalescing soldiers and his job is to determine whether or not there are spies amongst them. When Mr. Glossop arrives with the military payroll and it goes missing from the matron’s safe, a search is launched. Instead of finding the money, a corpse is found and Alleyn is forced to shed his disguise and take over the investigation.
Alleyn is at his best here as he unravels a complicated attempt at obfuscation, complete with the requisite red herrings, which are meant to send him off in the wrong direction.
A “cracking” good mystery that has me heading to the library for more of Marsh’s Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn stories!
BRYANT & MAY: HALL OF MIRRORS by Christopher Fowler
In Fowler’s latest Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery he takes us back to swinging London in 1969 and a younger Bryant and May. Here we get the back-story to many of the iconic things that we associate with these two detectives. There’s still a chuckle on every page along with many belly-laughs in this very clever telling of a “country house murder”.
Bryant and May have been tasked with keeping Monty Hatton-Jones safe until his testimony at the trial of a developer of shoddy flats. What they hadn’t counted on was leaving London for a party at the estate of Tavistock Hall, which Hatton-Jones insists on attending.
When the owner of the Hall goes missing and a dismembered corpse is later found, Bryant and May use the cunning and ingenuity that they are later known for to solve the case.
A first-rate read for followers of this series.
*Read Joanne’s other Bryant & May reviews!