Friday, 7 September 2018

Review of 'Money in the Morgue' the Carol Duffy write of Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel.

Being asked to finish another well loved and liked author's book must be a real challenge. I'm sure Stella Duffy intended to do it well, and follow the Marsh pattern, but Stella Duffy is not Ngaio Marsh, and her philosophy and beliefs are far from Marsh's own. In places this shows very clearly and, in places Duffy, not Marsh, came through, it stopped the flow of the story for me. And I don't think Stella Duffy was as fond of her Inspector Alleyn as Marsh was. That shows too. She does know New Zealand though which helped with this story.

Set in wartime New Zealand, with everyone anxious about the Japanese threat and all the young Kiwis sent far from home to fight for ‘Home’, we have Inspector Alleyn on secret wartime business. He arrives at Mount Seager Hospital and quickly is involved with a payroll theft and murder. It's a complicated plot as so many of the characters have things to hide, or things to fear and secrets abound. The final few twists are a Duffy specialty and make for breath taking ending.

I think keen readers of Marsh will be a little disappointed, but most fans will enjoy another taste of Inspector Alleyn. I expect there will be another Duffy/Marsh if the sales are good. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's hard to shake that modern tough girl mental state and channel Marsh, who was a tough lady, but in very different ways.

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