• Title: Final Curtain
  • Author: Ngaio Marsh
  • ISBN: 9780884114857
  • Page: 190
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Final Curtain A country house murder artistic insight and the post war reunion of Alleyn and Troy combine in Ngaio Marsh s wittiest and most readable novel Agatha Troy world famous portrait painter is inveigled
    A country house murder, artistic insight and the post war reunion of Alleyn and Troy combine in Ngaio Marsh s wittiest and most readable novel Agatha Troy, world famous portrait painter, is inveigled into accepting a commission to paint the 70 year old Sir Henry Ancred, Bart the Grand Old Man of the stage But just as she has completed her portrait, the old actor dies.A country house murder, artistic insight and the post war reunion of Alleyn and Troy combine in Ngaio Marsh s wittiest and most readable novel Agatha Troy, world famous portrait painter, is inveigled into accepting a commission to paint the 70 year old Sir Henry Ancred, Bart the Grand Old Man of the stage But just as she has completed her portrait, the old actor dies The dramatic circumstances of his death are such that Scotland Yard is called in in the person of Troy s long absent husband, Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn

    One Reply to “Final Curtain”

    1. The reviewer notes on the cover said it was "time to stop comparing Marsh to Agatha Christie, and start comparing Christie to Marsh", implying (and elsewhere boldly stating) that Marsh was the better writer. I've read just about everything Christie put out, and quite a bit of Marsh's oeuvre, and while I like Marsh's work, it doesn't seem to be any better than Christie's. (Yeah, I used the word "oeuvre" in a sentence. Jealous much?)This particular work is pretty good, but (of course) there are a [...]

    2. When a book is written in the 1940's it can be expected to have the prejudices of the day, but this one had the trifecta of comments about Jews, black people and a character who embodied all of the most offensive gay stereotypes. All this stood out in sharp relief because the plot was not that interesting, and all the characters were horrible. The murder was not even convincing.

    3. I don't think I'll ever get bored of a good mystery: Christie, Tey, and Marsh being my favorite authors.

    4. Famous painter Agatha Troy has three weeks to wait for the return of Detective Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn from four years’ service in New Zealand during the Second World War as Ngaio Marsh’s Final Curtain opens. She gets invited (well, pretty much commanded) to go to Ancreton, the home of Sir Henry Ancred to paint the old actor in his most famous role as Macbeth. After initially turning the “great man” down, Troy gives in and travels to the castle to paint the man’s portrait. Whil [...]

    5. More enjoyable than the last few because of the reunion in London of Alleyn with Fox and, of course, Troy. I hadn't realized that Alleyn's wartime duties had taken him away for three years or more. Marsh's interest in the theater and fine arts continues in the setting.

    6. Originally published on my blog here in August 1998.The war is finally over, and Alleyn is returning from New Zealand - where the previous two books in the series, Colour Scheme and Died In The Wool, are set - to join his wife in London. Just as Troy is expecting him back any day, she receives an extremely pressing invitation: distinguished actor Sir Henry Ancred wishes to commission her to paint his portrait at his family seat, Ancreton. This invitation is occasioned by Sir Henry receiving the [...]

    7. I read somewhere that "Died in the Wool" was Marsh's favorite in her Alleyn series, and I liked it a lot but this one is even better. It's not quite five stars to me, since it ends a bit suddenly and it was not as personally satisfying a conclusion as I would have preferred. But it was a lot of fun to read.This Alleyn installment has a group of vivid characters, representing the steady growth in fiction-writing that I am seeing as I work my way through the series. The story does in a way remind [...]

    8. 4.5 stars, but I thought I'd round up, because it's a high point in the series. Hearing about this one made me come back to this series. This one I quite like.The Ancreds are interesting enough. Some of the character moments are quite good within the family, and between the family and Troy. I like Troy as a narrator in the first half. I also like some of the discussion of her painting. I like Alleyn and Troy both struggling with worries about a reconciliation (and whether they will feel the same [...]

    9. Like a lot of parlor mysteries, this one pursues a logic all its own. Well, not quite all its own -- it's pretty heavily influenced by the dodgy psychological insights of the day, even while it thinks it's mocking them. And yet it's a very comfortable tale with familiar and colorful characters, and I was a bit disappointed when it came to its (more or less arbitrary) end. So I suppose I "really liked it."

    10. This is not as riveting as some of Marsh's books, but is still a very good read. I had read it a couple times before and was pretty sure I remembered who the murderer was, which removed some of the immediacy. Troy has been commissioned to paint a portrait of an old actor, Sir Henry Ancred. Although she is given a very short amount of time to do it, he is someone she has wanted to paint, so she accepts. Also her husband Rory Alleyn has been gone for a couple years on duty, so she is at loose ends [...]

    11. I do enjoy a good country house whodunit but I'm starting to have a problem with some of Marsh's solutions. This is the second one of hers I have read recently where most of the characters are upper class and frankly horrible. The only two characters who are NOT aristocrats are one person who is "rather common" and gets murdered and one who is "rather too MC" (presumably Middle Class) and turns out to be the murderer (excluding servants of course, but they Know Their Place). The previous one I r [...]

    12. I am reading my way through the series, with great pleasure in the writing. Winter branches are “the scaffolding of summer.” A 2018 book about the 1940’s would have a lot right, but would be a bit cleaned up for contemporary readers’ sensibilities. This 1947 book is of the time with the attitudes of the time. One line leaped out at me for its casual use. Alleyn says, “That’s the colour of the nigger in the woodpile, isn’t it?” I remember hearing my father use that phrase without [...]

    13. Though this has a theatre title, this is more of a country house drama. I enjoyed the envolvement of Troy.

    14. I really enjoy this addition to this series. The first half of the book is told from Troy's perspective, which was an enjoyable change of pace. It was a fun, clever story too.

    15. I have mixed feelings about this book. It started up beautifully from Troy's perspective and I loved all the details of her painting but in the middle I started having flashbacks to Georgette Heyer's Penhallow, which I loathed. It ended well and I didn't have a clue who really done it (the red herrings were very effective even after I had deduced the method) but the use of poison in such a poisonous family was awful to witness. I do wonder if Marsh was inspired by Heyer; Penhallow was published [...]

    16. The first half of this book it totally from Troy's perspective, and if you've been reading them in order you're ready to spend more time with her. That's because Roderick has been in New Zealand investigating WWII crime for 3.5 years and she's disappeared from the reader's radar. But don't despair - he's coming home soon and this book get both of them in the act.Her husband's imminent return makes Troy reluctant to take a commission for a huge portrait of a dying Shakespearean actor, but of cour [...]

    17. Before I picked up the book, I saw the Patrick Malahide made for TV version of this story, and I absolutely loved it. I'm really sad that they didn't do more of the made for TV installments. Coming back to the book, I have to say I loved it. Ngaio Marsh does the British cozy very well. Lots of quirky characters, endless descriptions, not really rooted in reality. If you don't enjoy this king of genre, I would stay away from this book. Since I saw the movie adaptation for this, the story came eve [...]

    18. This is definitely a book that I would not necessarily recommend (everyone hates the gay character for SOME REASON and Alleyn uses an expression that has the n word in it- not directed at a person but still wtf) and the prejudices in it knocked it down a bit in my estimation. (Although I've read worse this year on both accounts- I need to stop reading so much early 20th c lit). I did think the plot was v interesting (and I had a fondness for poor Cedric who is just trying to be into aesthetics a [...]

    19. Book 14, and Marsh goes back to England, back to Troy as her main viewpoint character, and back to her two favorite worlds: painting and the theatre. The time is just after the end of World War II, when austerity measures are still in full force, and Troy is anxiously awaiting the reunion after four years with her beloved Rory Alleyn. But first she accepts a commission to paint a grand old man of the theatre at his bizarre Victorian castle amongst his large and melodramatic family—and of cours [...]

    20. Ultimately a let down. Much of this book is written as an examination of a particular type of English upper class family -- a family that wallows in the "specialness" and whose eccentricities are accepted where similar behaviour would be considered acceptable in members of another class. Marsh's obsession with this type of family goes back to her earliest books. Behaviour that would be considered narcissistic and even pathological is presented as tragic, annoying but charming or quirky if expres [...]

    21. I enjoyed this. This is my first Ngaio Marsh and I will definitely read another. I like mysteries and like Agatha Christie's this one was not bloody. But it lacked the sharp quickness that characterizes Christie's work. You could fault Christie on her superficiality. But she jumps in and gets "on with the job" in a way that craftwise I admire. But, Marsh didn't play games with the reader like Christie does. With Christie you cannot guess the murderer. And you can feel the author leading you to s [...]

    22. Ugh. I wish someone had given me a head's up re: the awful and relentless homophobia Marsh included (and her a candidate for secret dyke if ever there was one). I can accept a gay villain--and I can acknowledge the time and place at which this was written--but the portrayal of Cedric and the reactions of others toward him have rendered me incapable of sympathizing with any character so far (including Troy!). Y'know, Hammet wrote the Maltese Falcon nearly two decades before this drivel (okay, I'm [...]

    23. Unabridged and read by James Saxon. 9 hrs 54 mins duration. 8 CD'sBlurb - [Book 14, 1947:] Sir Henry Ancred, the celebrated Shakespearian actor, wishes to have his portrait painted in the role of Macbeth by Agatha Troy, the famous artist - but is only willing to spare her a week of his time in which to complete it! She is reluctant to go to his home, Ancreton castle , as she is awaiting the arrival after a long absence of her husband, Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, at any moment. But such is t [...]

    24. Immediately postwar, with Alleyn on his way back from New Zealand, Troy takes a commission to paint a portrait of an elderly actor in his hulking family seat. She meets his large family, as well as his fifty-years-younger mistress. Murder ensues. This book shows Troy and Alleyn coming to a new understanding of how she can fit into his whole life, professional as well as personal. He's been trying to spare her details of his job, but she isn't having that anymore. This case - with her as a primar [...]

    25. I am very excited to have discovered this author--she is wonderful and has written a lot of books. This novel was different from other mysteries I have read in that the whole first half of the book takes place in the family where the crime happens, and we are there for the crime itself. Our narrator is the wife of the Chief Inspector who will be called in later to solve the crime who happens to have gotten mixed up with the family but isn't really connected. I thought the plot device was very ef [...]

    26. Wonderful book. It doesn't matter how many clues the author leaves, I always fail to spot the motive and murderer. With her eye for detail, she effortlessly allows the reader to enter into the world of the 1930s. Inspector Alleyn is an attractive character and as the books progress, it is very enjoyable to find out more about his background, family and wife. I'm steadily reading my way through all in the series and I'm not looking forward to the moment when I have finished them. They are interes [...]

    27. The first post-war Alleyn, taking its start in Troy's world. Troy is one of my favourite characters (in and out of the Alleyn mysteries) and so her tale, among the over-dramatic Ancreds, is engrossing for me, and it's nice to see her and Alleyn settle some of the 'business' of being married, of working out how to be together.The real oddity of this story for me is that it's a Troy story which involves a beautiful and morally bereft woman called Sonia. Given that Troy's introduction involved the [...]

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