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Summary

A spa stay turns into a homicidal holiday.... A bit snobbish and a trifle high strung, Sybil Foster prides herself on owning the finest estate in Upper Quintern and hiring the best gardener.

In fact she is rapturous over the new asparagus beds when a visit from her unwelcome stepson sends her scurrying to a chic spa for a rest cure, a liaison with the spa's director...and an apparent suicide.

Her autopsy holds one surprise, a secret drawer a second. And Inspector Roderick Alleyn, CID, digging about Upper Quintern, may unearth still a third...deeply buried motive for murder.

©1978 Original Text of 1978 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." ( Times Literary Supplement)
"It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." ( New York Magazine)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story

The storyline was ingenious but I would have expected more from the narrator. Her attempt at the accents was very poor and she just sounded too “ladylike”. Other narrators have done much better with the Ngaio Marsh books

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Story

Well narrated, loved the "voices" and we'll developed story! A great escape from reality! Great story telling, characters suit, easy listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

As with many 'Golden Age' detection stories,you must adopt a more credulous state of mind before chapter one.

This doesn't stray from the genres norm in that person/people murdered tend not to be the nicest characters,that coincidence runs rampant & usually 'The Yard' gets it's 'man' on flimsy circumstantial evidence, leading to a dramatic last minute confession.
As interesting/bonkers as the stories may be, there are rich pickings on the social mores from background descriptions,e.g. unsympathetic descriptions of mental health,frequent kicking dogs,the class system,the necessary cigarette in every sentence.
Jane Asher does read it well,maintaining characterisation throughout,however her portrait of the elegant Chief Inspector Alleyn is sadly very stilted. Still for me an enjoyable listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disappointing narrator

I love other female narrators for Ngaio Marsh's work (Nadia May for example) but Jane Asher's delivery was ponderous and dull and she mispronounces Alleyn throughout. Even if the reader is unaware that it is 'Allen' and not 'Allain', the publisher should be. A bit slapdash and shoddy. A shame, because the story is a corker.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • J Skinner
  • 30-01-16

Good story

Good plot & sympathetic characters. A good read--absorbing. Did get annoyed with the narrator--the foreign men's accents are not particularly convincing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Phebe
  • 16-03-16

Superb reading of a classic British mystery

Jane Asher is so good a reader for Ngaio Marsh's "Grave Mistake" that I was sad to see all her other readings are children's books. She needs to be given adult work --- her voice characterizations are truly excellent. The Vicar's upper class! The "Brer Fox" voice, perfect for Alleyn's colleague. In fact, this excellent story has a lot to do with voice and vocal differences and that may be why this reader took it on. I wish she would read all the Ngaio Marsh books.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 14-08-18

Jane Asher is great!

This isn't my favourite Ngaio Marsh book but it's enjoyable. But it's Jane Asher who makes it great. With numerous female characters, Jane Asher could have made this stereotypical and cloying but her narration really does the characters justice. Verity in particular is read with incredible depth. I don't even mind Asher's reading of characters who aren't English such as Gardener and Schram.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • lizzyc
  • 28-04-18

a miss

I love all her books everyone!!! but unfortunately Jane just doesn't do a good allyn and it ruins the whole audio book

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christina
  • 18-02-18

worst narration of Rodderick Allen ever

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Narration. Narrator was excellent with female voices and ok to pretty good with some of the male voices. The central character of the series was impossible to tolerate.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Grave Mistake?

hard to say because of narration

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jane Asher?

almost anyone. Nadia May, James Saxon, Phillip Franks, Hugh Fasier

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I think there was a good story under the bad narration

Any additional comments?

Please acquire this with a different narrator.

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  • John
  • 21-01-18

Peculiar Choice Of Narrator...

Throughout I was put off by a female narrator chosen in what should undoubtably have been a role for a male...as 30 of the series have been performed by... sad that what should have been a thoroughly enjoyable read was off putting...
She was completely the wrong fit..
As most of all of the other reviews mention..

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • birdwatchers rule
  • 08-04-17

Story marred by narrator's choices

This is one of my favorite Ngaio Marsh books, but I did not enjoy the narration. The narrator chose to pronounce Alleyn's name so that it almost sounded like Elaine. That was persistently annoying, but I also disagree with the Voice which she chose for Alleyn. It was hard and unsympathetic, and not suiting the attractive man as Marsh portrays him. Inspector Fox's voice was also, I think, inappropriate, occasionally exhibiting elements of Cockney. Neither man came across appealingly, and one of the unattractive characters, Dr. Basil Schramm--Who was born in England--was given a European accent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful