Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Ngaio Marsh's Death at the Bar

"If thurr's not a corpse on the premises afore long, I'll be greatly astonished."

Don't you worry...

Abel Pomeroy is the proprietor at The Plume of Feathers and he's got a rat problem. He goes off to buy rat poison, but the ordinary stuff is not in stock; the pharmacist has only got the extra strong. But that's not a problem for Pomeroy: he's got a plan. Locked cabinet, gloves, whatever it takes to keep it safe.

Well, you know how that goes. By the time the lawyer Luke Watchman is dead, we've got a good half-dozen suspects lined up: two beneficiaries under his will, a girl who previously had an affair with Watchman, young Will Pomeroy who's in love with the girl, the cousin of a man whom Watchman sent to prison, and the mysterious Legge, whom Watchman knows from somewhere, but nobody's saying where. 

The murder takes place on the coast of Devon, and the local police officials are good, but not good enough. Abel Pomeroy wants this solved, it's ruining his business. So Roderick Alleyn and his trusty assistant Br'er Fox are sent to have a look:

"Yes, look at the colour of the sea, you old devil. Smell that jetty-tar-and-iodine smell, blast your eyes. Fox, murder or no murder, I'm glad we came."

Me, too, Mr. Alleyn. 

It's the ninth in the series and dates from 1940. It's a pretty good entry, though I preferred the opening drollery about the poison; the unwinding of events I think could have been clearer. But in just now looking at the date, I realized this was the one I meant to save for the 1940 Club in April. Oh, well...

Vintage Mystery, Gold, Bottle of Poison. Yup, there's definitely a bottle of poison in this one...


  1. Oops! You reminded me also that I've meant to read Christie's Sad Cypress in April for 1940 Club, but then I forgot, and am reading it now, because I thought, why delaying till April if I can read it now, LOL!
    I don't think I've ever read Marsh, well.. maybe just one very long ago (I thought Marsh is a male writer, back then!) Maybe I need to start reading from her again.

    1. Hate to wait! Fortunately I have one other mystery I was saving so I have to remember NOT to read it.

      Ngaio Marsh isn't my absolute favourite, but she's pretty good, especially the earlier ones. Not Dame Agatha, though...

  2. I need to make it one of my bookish goals to read a Ngaio Marsh mystery this year!

    1. She's not the absolute best, but she is pretty good!