A little while ago, I was driving somewhere, listening to Death in Ecstasy by Ngaio Marsh. (And, incidentally, loving it!) The only problem I have with audio books is that you can’t simply mark the spot with a bookmark so you can refer to it later. In this case, I thought some of the dialogue was so clever, I simply HAD to go find a place to park, in order to transcribe the words>>> which meant having to reverse and play my audio book several times. (So, these might not be the exact words, but if they aren’t, they are really close.)
For those of you who haven’t yet read any of the Ngaio Marsh Inspector Alleyn mysteries, shame on you! They are British Cozy Mystery classics, some of the best!
What I found endearing about the following conversation that occurs between Inspector Roderick Alleyn and Nigel Bathgate (a journalist cohort), is the way Marsh takes the reader along for a ride with these two fictional characters, discussing mystery books written by contemporary authors of Marsh’s. She is able to make the reader (just about!) forget he/she is reading about fictional characters.
Question regarding who the murderer could be:
“… “let’s pretend it’s a detective novel. Where would we be by this time? About halfway through, I should think. Well, who’s your pick?”
“It depends on the author. If it’s Agatha Christie, Miss Wades … guilt drips from every page. Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter would plump for … Inspector French would go for…” (Inspector French was the fictional character in Freeman Wills Crofts’ mystery books, written at the same time.)
I found it to be quite clever that Marsh would have her fictional characters refer to current mystery authors, as if her fictional characters weren’t exactly that: fictional characters!
When I told my husband about this, he quickly responded that he thinks Agatha Christie had her fictional characters – Tommy and Tuppence – also name current mystery authors in their dialogue.
Can you think of any other Cozy Mystery authors’ fictional characters who refer to real Cozy Mystery authors?