Monday, April 16, 2012

The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh

First published in 1935 The Nursing Home Murder was the third novel featuring Ngaio Marsh's upper class British detective, Roderick Alleyn. Before reading I assumed that nursing home referred to either a convalescent home or old people's home but it seems that in England at the time it was a small private hospital.

Home Secretary Sir Derek O'Callaghan has been suffering from increasingly severe abdominal pain for some time but is determined to deliver his controversial anti-anarchist bill before seeking medical help. When he collapses he is rushed to the nursing home , peritonitis is diagnosed and he undergoes an emergency operation. Half an hour after what appeared to be successful surgery Sir Derek dies. His wife suspects something is wrong ........enter Roderick Alleyn.

There are numerous suspects including most of the medical team involved in the operation, some of whom have very personal reasons for wanting their patient dead. The story follows the good old-fashioned methods of detection - following leads, gathering information and interviewing likely murderers and although I don't think it's one of the author's best it's still entertaining reading.

It has a very British tone and I enjoyed the peek at the 'old school tie brigade'  within the medical and political background. Ngaio Marsh writes wonderfully witty dialogue and if many the expressions used are out-of-date that only adds to the charm and the sense of another era .

At only 190 pages it makes perfect reading for a quiet afternoon.

Vintage Mystery Challenge - Golden Age Girls theme.


  1. Great stuff. Keep writing and shower your readers with such useful information. Keep it Up!!!


  2. I love a good mystery and this one sounds perfect for an airplane ride.