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Summary

A touring theatre company in New Zealand forms the basis of one of Marsh’s most ambitious and innovative novels.

New Zealand theatrical manager Alfred Meyer wanted to celebrate his wife’s birthday in style. The piece de résistance would be the jeroboam of champagne which would descend gently into a nest of fern and coloured lights on the table, set up onstage after the performance.

But something went horribly wrong. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn witnessed it himself. Was Meyer’s death the product of Maori superstitions? Or something much more down to earth?

©1937 Original Text of 1937 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." ( Times Literary Supplement)
"The theatre detail is engrossing." (Margaret Lewis)
"A far more ambitious novel than anything Marsh had attempted before." ( American Journal of Popular Culture)
"Her work is as nearly flawless as makes no odds. Character, plot, wit, good writing, and sound technique." ( Sunday Times)
"The finest writer in the English languange of the pure, classical puzzle whodunnit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress." ( The Sun)

What listeners say about Vintage Murder

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Love the books but this didn't work for me

I have been an avid reader of Ngaio Marsh for many years and thought I'd try listening to one. I'm afraid that this didn't work for me at all. I don't like the way the book is read, and I'm not impressed by James Saxon's rendition of it, but that may be personal prejudice. Don't think I'll be buying another one read by him, but may try the radio collection of Miss Marsh's stories.

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I couldn't finish this book

I don't know what happened here, it is the first time I can't follow the story. Maybe it is the accent of the narrator, maybe it is the way it was written. I didn't enjoy it at all.

3 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable tale from golden age of detective fiction.

I have listened to a number of Ngaio Marsh stories on audio book and James Saxon is my preferred narrator. The range of the characterisations helps to bring the story to life and give it the “period feel”.

Real armchair listening at it’s best- relaxing and a distraction from the everyday grind.

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Bit creaky ...

Not one of her best, despite some rather lovely descriptions of NZ scenery. The narration is uneven & the plot rather slow moving and far fetched. The book ( in my view) lacks the depth of characterisation and genuine tension of her best novels.

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Brilliantly evocative, intriguing detective story.

One of my favourite Ngaio Marsh mysteries, well told by a voice artist of diverse ability. From brisk Cockney, through easily distinguishable New Zealand accents, including Maori, and Alleyn himself to a richly vocal old actor turned doorkeeper: James Saxon is an excellent narrator.
The descriptions of New Zealand, make you want to book a trip immediately.

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Another Marsh Cracker

This is just another Marsh classic that confirms her to be one of the truly great classic murder mystery novelists. Her language is always sublime and is forever combined with great warmth of place and character, and hilarious humour. Alleyn is a quintessential English detective, voiced here by the magnificent James Saxon who displays a terrific breadth of nuance in each characterization. Wholly recommended.

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Brilliant performance!

Mr James Saxon's voices were just incredible. He brought Ngaio Sarah's story to life - a complicated but fascinating story. I was so enjoying it that I kept putting off getting to the end.

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Great story but poor denouement

The characters were nicely developed and the murder a good old logistical puzzle. The ending was a disappointment and rather ran out of steam. Usual stereotypes abound but overall the New Zealand setting was enjoyable.

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  • Mack Tennyson
  • 31-03-16

Great Imagery of New Zealand

Besides a good detective novel, the rich descriptions of New Zealand had me looking up the cost of Airplane tickets to there.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 13-08-17

Old School Mystery

Too complicated, too many characters. That said, the characters were well drawn and well developed. The narrator was faultless - super job of giving each character a unique voice. I got this as it was the selection of the month for a book club. I did enjoy it and would recommend it if you want a cozy mystery that is not easy to figure out.

2 people found this helpful

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  • S P
  • 15-09-21

Great Inspector Allyn mystery.

This is a typical Marsh yarn, with plenty of suspects playing to type. Red herrings abound! The reader’s mastery of accents is delicious! I thought that it was easy to keep up with the large cast of characters due to emphasis in the writing and in the superb narration!

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  • Nicole B.
  • 08-06-22

Meh

Vintage Murder was rather bland. I caught myself drifting off and trying to hurry towards the conclusion. I do adore this series however this novel could be skipped in my opinion. The narrator James Saxon did a wonderful job, yet the story just wasn't there.

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  • Tzingt
  • 27-05-22

Perhaps an advisory?

I enjoyed this. I know it was written/set in the 30’s and it may not be appropriate to alter the author’s original language but perhaps a warning of the overtly racist passages near the end might be appropriate? For the most part, the Māori is treated well in the text but the reference to the “20% savage” during an altercation is difficult to hear. Otherwise enjoyable experience.

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  • Marily
  • 10-05-22

How did he do it?

Ngaio Marsh has been a favorite of mine for many...years. I'm "rereading" her with Audible. The reader James Saxon is excellent!
Inspector Alleyn is recovering, and needing rest, he decides to visit another country. He happens to be present at a murder. Trying his best to not be recognized nor pulled into the case, he fails.
Take a trip with Chief Inspector Allyn. You will be glad you did.

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  • Jan H. Wolfe
  • 16-10-21

Ngaio Marsh always hits the mark.

I love all of her books. This one in New Zealand is delightful and gives the narrator a chance to show his talent at dialects. Each character is well drawn and well played. A great read.

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  • Jim & Julie
  • 09-09-21

A bit dull

I used to love reading Ngaio Marsh and I think several of her mysteries are more compelling than this one. But I’m afraid I found this one a little dull, Roderick Alleyn (who I considered a literary dreamboat) a little over the top, and the reader didn’t do much for me. He was skillful in his performance but he sounds like a rather fusty old-school BBC announcer.

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  • peter
  • 15-08-21

A great mystery and an excellent narrator.

Narration is a true skill and there are few maestros but Saxon is one. Plus a fine mystery and entertaining story. Recommended

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 18-07-21

amazing voice acting

Marsh's characters come alive with the great voice acting. Good solid story set in New Zealand. Hard to guess how the murderer got to the scene of the action. Recommended