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20 April 2010

Book Review: Colour Scheme

Colour Scheme
by Ngaio Marsh 

Another Marsh cozy. I love these things for many reasons; I enjoy mystery, WWII era behavior and mores, and Brits. But the real reason I keep returning to Marsh is this; consider how she introduces the character of Maurice Questing;

"Maurice Questing was about fifty years old and so much a type that a casual observer would have found it difficult to describe him. He appeared in triplicate at private bars, hotel lounges, business meetings and race-courses. His features were blurred and thick, his eyes sharp. His clothes always looked expensive and new. His speech, both in accent and in choice of words, was an affair of mass production rather than selection. Yet though he was as voluble as a radio advertiser, shooting out his machine-turned phrases in a loud voice, and with a great air of assurance, every word he uttered seemed synthetic and quite unrelated to his thoughts."

A wordsmith if there ever was one. And, again, the murder almost seems unnecessary (in this one, it doesn't happen until almost half-way through) as one is so taken with the character studies and the chemistry of relationships.

I recommend that you pick these small masterpieces up at your local used bookstore when you see them and save them for a rainy day or an afternoon on the beach. Wonderful stuff.

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