- Latest additions
- 2018 Reading Challenges
- 2018 Reviews
- All Reviews - from May 2017
- Aussie authors read in 2018 - 2015
- Authors A-Z
- 2017 Reviews
- 2017 Reading Challenges Update
- 2017 Global Reading Challenge
- All Reviews
- USA Fiction Challenge 2014-
- 2016 Reading Challenges Update
- 2016 Good Reading projects
- 2016 Reviews
- Agatha Christie Novels
- 2016 Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt
- 2016-2014 Global Reading Challenge
- 2015 Reading Challenges Update
- 2015 Reviews
- 2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge!
- Vintage Mystery BINGO 2015
- Agatha Christie Short Stories
- Reviews 2012, 2013, 2014
- Reviews: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- 2014 Reading Challenges Update
- 2012 & 2011 Reading Challenges Update
- 2013 Reading Challenges Update
- Crime Fiction Alphabet
- 2013 Global Reading Challenge
- 2012 Global Reading Challenge
18 April 2010
Review: TIED UP IN TINSEL, Ngaio Marsh
Harper Collins Publishers, Fontana (1994)
Every member of the staff at Halberds, but one, is a convicted murderer. Troy Alleyn, wife of DI Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard, is spending Christmas there, her husband out of the country. She is painting the portrait of Hilary Bill-Tasman, the rather eccentric and enormously wealth landed proprietor of Halberds Manor.
The other members of the Halberds Christmas houseparty, Hilary's Aunt Bed and Uncle Flea, his uncle Bert, and his fiance Cressida Tottenham, round out a rather unusual cast of characters.
Bill-Tasman has organised an elaborate Christmas Day treat for local children in which an ancient bewhiskered and bearded Druid arrives towing a sledge of presents. But after the event the Druid can't be found, and other pranks seem designed to cast the blame for his disappearance on the murderous staff.
Enter Roderick Alleyn just returned from Australia.
TIED UP IN TINSEL was among the last of Dame Ngaio Marsh's (1895-1982) mysteries, although she continued to publish another 5 titles, right up to her death. It reflects not only her gift for clever plotting but also has a very theatrical feel to it. Characteristically an early page displays a very useful cast of characters, and the whole story feels as if it could easily be dramatised. There are lots of places that have the reader grasping at straws in an attempt to solve the murder before Alleyn does. I must confess that the "how" was easier to deduce than the "why".
I had intended to use this title as my "New Zealand" offering in the 2010 Global Reading Challenge but have decided not to since TIED UP IN TINSEL is set entirely at an English manor. It is really a variant of a locked room mystery since for much of the time the characters are confined to the manor either by events or by the weather.
TIED UP IN TINSEL proves that even as she approached her 80s New Zealand's Dame Nagaio Marsh had not lost her ability to write a good yarn.
My rating 4.5
If you are in New Zealand, or visiting there, you might like to visit Dame Ngaio Marsh's home in Christchurch on the South Island.
At the end of last year author Vanda Symon reviewed TIED UP IN TINSEL for our Christmas reading. Her eye for description is delightful.