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20 April 2010

Book Review: A Wreath for Rivera

A Wreath for Rivera (A Roderick Alleyn Mystery)
by Ngaio Marsh 

A Ngaio Marsh cozy. Though this mystery was very far-fetched and didn't have a satisfying closure, I am in love with the way this woman writes. Describing a character; "She had the air of being encased in a transparent, closely fitting film that covered her head as well as her clothes and permitted no disturbance of her surface. She had the faultless diction and balanced phraseology of the foreigner who has perfect command but no love of the English language."

Or a woman who walks into a ballroom where she had spent time dancing at balls during her teen years before the war; "Carlisle repeopled the hollow room and felt again the curious fresh gaiety of that night. She felt the cord of her programme grow flossy under the nervous pressure of her gloved fingers. She saw the names written there and read them again in the choked print of casualty lists."

Or the phrase "patently bogus."

An astute observer of human character, Ms. Marsh was.  And an excellent way with the written word.

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