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Summary

Ngaio Marsh’s most popular novel begins when a young New Zealander’s first contact with the English gentry is the body of Lord Wutherford - with a meat skewer through the eye....

The Lampreys had plenty of charm - but no cash. They all knew they were peculiar - and rather gloried in it. The double and triple charades, for instance, with which they would entertain their guests - like rich but awful Uncle Gabriel, who was always such a bore. The Lampreys thought if they jollied him up he would bail them out - yet again.

Instead Uncle Gabriel met a violent end. And Chief Inspector Alleyn had to work our which of them killed him....

©1941 Original Text of 1941 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." ( Times Literary Supplement)
"The queen of the straight crime novel - long may she reign!" ( Sunday Times)
"Brilliantly readable...first class detection." ( Observer)
"Ngaio Marsh transcended the detective genre by the power of her writing and the rich variety of characters who people her novels." (P. D. James)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Marsh joy

Even if you have heard the dramatised or abridged versions of this story, this is well worth a listen. It's one I am sure I will enjoy again and again (as I do with other Insoector Alleyn stories. Ngaio Marsh never did produce a pot boiler. Every single one of her full length Alleyn mysteries is beautifully written - a joy to read or hear. You

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • slb
  • UK
  • 31-10-16

Excellent

Wonderful reading of possibly the best Alleyn story. Just wish Mr Franks could do all the Alleyn books......he is far and away the best interpreter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Whodunnit

An entertaining story in the classic Marsh style . The narrator has a lovely voice, never jarring and distinguishing characters' voices perfectly.

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Too many Lampreys

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I usually enjoy Ngaio Marsh's mysteries but this just had too many twee people in it who seemed to behave in very stupid ways. It made the book somewhat tedious.

What could Ngaio Marsh have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

If she had stopped the silly twins behaving so asininely it may have helped.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was fine, just spoiled by the cast of characters he had to portray

Do you think Surfeit of Lampreys needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Absolutely not, if the same characters were to be in it

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Meep
  • 26-11-15

Worth waiting for!!!

Hooray!!! I've been waiting forever for an unabridged recording of Surfeit of Lampreys to appear here at Audible, and it finally has with the added bonus that the reader is absolutely stellar. I can not overemphasize how good Philip Franks is, what a treat that new recordings are being offered with a reader that does justice to the work.
As far as the actual story goes, it's not one of my favorites, because I don't really like the Lampreys all that much (except for Henry), but they have many charming or funny moments to recommend them and are well worth visiting. The mystery is good, I think, and sticks to the rules of providing the reader with the critical clue, but obfuscating it so effectively that I, for one, did not notice it at all until we reached the reveal at the end. This is a golden age mystery, and not a modern police procedural, so some may find it slow, but if you are a fan of golden age works as I am, I think you will very much enjoy this one.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anita Hagins
  • 16-12-15

1930's "Cosy" murder mystery perfection.

Inspector Allen! Upper class twits! Can't be beat.
Ngaio Marsh never fails to deliver a tightly plotted believable mystery. Excellent character development.
If you live Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey) you will love this and any other of Marsh's books.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Lewis
  • 24-10-15

So Charming

I have been waiting for years and years for someone to do an unabridged audiobook of this title!!! It was worth the wait. I first read this book when it was entitled "Death of a Peer" and fell in love with the charming Lampreys.
And I have to say that the Narrator is unequaled!!! What a total delight!!!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marie
  • 08-04-16

One Of Her Best

Filled with odd yet appealing characters, Surfeit of Lampreys is one of my favorite Marsh books. If you haven't read Ngaio Marsh before, start with her earlier books, such as this one. The reader get a better sense of who Roderick Alleyn is and how he solves crimes. Alleyn and his staff are more involved in the story in Marsh's earlier books. Surfeit of Lampreys predates Alleyn's marriage to Troy but does feature his friend Nigel Bathgate.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie Cline
  • 04-01-16

Delightful characters, somewhat outlandish story

Any additional comments?

Another wonderful Ngaio Marsh. I thought I had read all her books and was thrown off by the title of this one. It was perhaps published as Death of a Peer at one point? (I haven't looked it up.) Fortunately I had read it many years ago and remembered nothing so I was able to get full enjoyment this time. It would be useful if Audible would make clear all the titles the books go under because, like the great Agatha's, they were often different in the US and the UK for whatever reason. The reader did a very good job - pleasant to listen to and made easy to distinguish characters.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Customer
  • 31-03-16

Quite good

Excellent writing and a very good example of the golden age of detective fiction. Phillip Franks is a terrific voice actor. He's more than a "reader" and I look forward to hearing more from him.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah E. Markey
  • 29-08-16

Charmed, I'm Sure

This is perhaps Ngaio Marsh's most charming of her many charming books. How it has affected me is this: I don't believe I have ever written the word 'charming' before in my lifetime. I read this years ago in paperback, but hearing it spoken aloud has been another experience, another quite charming experience, I am tempted to say, but I will not. I'll just urge you to enjoy it for yourselves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erika
  • 19-07-16

Excellent story crafting. Marsh at her finest.

Crime fiction done justice by Marsh on the whole and especially her. Great story great run around the countryside and so good to see all the loose ends disposed of in a crime story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen L.
  • 05-07-16

Murder meets eccentricity

Same methodical piecing together of clues in a pattern to solve the crime by chief inspector Alleyne...but this time amidst an array of ditsy and likable family members and several not so likable relatives and servants. For the first time in a Marsh mystery, I guessed the murderer, but still enjoyed the story, despite gruesome crimes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-08-18

SKIP THE LAMPREYS AUDIO

SURFEIT: YEP. I TRIED AND TRIED TO GET THROUGH THIS AUDIO BOOK AND FINALLY GAVE UP. I LOVE NGAIO MASH, BUT THIS FARCE OF A MYSTERY WAS JUST TOO IRRITATING. UGH. EELS ON MENU WOULD BE BETTER ANYDAY. PERHAPS IT IS BETTER READ?