Saturday, April 28, 2007

Night at the Vulcan review

I like detectives. Not all of them by any means, but I like them. Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, Inspector Grant, and most recently, Inspector Alleyn. Any new-to-me Alleyn mystery is a cause for rejoicing, the donning of a smoking jacket and the putting up of an 'occupied' sign on my (non-existent) study door. Lord Peter is perhaps my favorite but Alleyn comes close.

I'm not sure how many Alleyns I've read so far; my wild guess is about ten. They have, at this point, started to get a bit formulaic, although the characters are always a delight. Night at the Vulcan was interesting partly because it varied the formula a bit and also because Alleyn managed to solve the mystery in a single night.

The story starts out with a young woman named Martyn Tarne who intended to audition for a small part in a play but arrives too late. She obviously has no money and is at the end of her rope. She manages to wing a job as the leading lady's dresser. They very quickly notice Martyn's strong resemblance to the leading man, Adam Poole. A complicated situation results. Of course there is a murder--someone no one likes or will miss very much. Alleyn arrives on the scene accompanied by Fox and Mike Lamprey, from A Surfeit of Lampreys. And of course the murderer is caught, although not quite in the usual way.

Night at the Vulcan is one of Marsh's more clever mysteries. The cast of characters is not as appealing as they often are, but the two main characters remain sympathetic. All in all, it was an enjoyable book and satisfying book.


Krakovianka said...

I've only read two Ngaio Marsh mysteries, and I noted the fact that they involved the theater or theatrical people in some way. And here is another one! I've been told they don't all involve the theater, but it seems to be a popular theme for her.

MaureenE said...

There definitely are some that don't involve the theater but evidently that and painting were two of her greatest loves so she includes them quite often.