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Summary

Roderick Alleyn is back in this unique crime novel begun by Ngaio Marsh during the Second World War and now completed by Stella Duffy.

It's business as usual for Mr Glossop as he does his regular round delivering wages to government buildings scattered across New Zealand's lonely Canterbury plains. But when his car breaks down, he is stranded for the night at the isolated Mount Seager Hospital, with the telephone lines down, a storm on its way and the nearby river about to burst its banks.

Trapped with him at Mount Seager are a group of quarantined soldiers with a serious case of cabin fever, three young employees embroiled in a tense love triangle, a dying elderly man, an elusive patient whose origins remain a mystery...and a potential killer.

When the payroll disappears from a locked safe and the hospital's death toll starts to rise faster than normal, can the appearance of an English detective working in counterespionage be just a lucky coincidence - or is something more sinister afoot?

©2018 Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Hugely enjoyable." (Kate Mosse)
"Stella Duffy performs a remarkable act of ventriloquism with New Zealand's Queen of Crime. I defy readers to see the join." (Val McDermid)
"Ngaio Marsh fans rejoice! After 35 years Alleyn is back in a new mystery - and both are as good as ever." (John Curran)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Ridiculous plot and strange narration

The plot became more and more of a farce. Why let the author narrate the story? The voice of the male lead sounded more like a head girl putting on her telephone voice. It ruined it for me. Shame as I enjoy Marsh stories. Think this was best left unfinished.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A golden age-style crime mystery read with compelling theatrical vitality by its contemporary author Stella Duffy

This new novel has been written by Stella Duffy from the unfinished fragments Ngaio Marsh left before her death and it flows deftly through the many intrigues Detective Inspector Alleyn has to uncover and resolve with an easy irresistible sureness. Stella Duffy evokes a glorious richness in the specifics of the 1940s wartime New Zealand time and place setting, and voices her cast of characters, drawn with all of Ngaio Marsh’s signature complexities, with all the distinctiveness and theatrical vitality demanded by Marsh’s style. Listening to this novel is an easy, enjoyable and utterly compelling page turner. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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excellent book well told

Stella Duffy has done a wonderful job completing this novel and i very much hope she is allowed to write more new novels featuring the wonderful inspector

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not gripping

While coherent, the story is not absorbing or exciting, the characteres are boring and the writing is too posh to be likeable. The narrator does a good job but cannot overcome the script. In short, not an enjoyable book. I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful