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Extended Audio Sample Overture to Death Audiobook, by Ngaio Marsh Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (714 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ngaio Marsh Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781455176731
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It was planned as an act of charity: a new piano for the parish hall, an amusing play to finance the gift. But its execution was doomed when Miss Campanula sat down to play. A chord was struck, a shot rang out, and Miss Campanula was dead.

Who in the quiet village of Chipping would kill wealthy spinster Idris Campanula? Plenty of people, among them her fellow cast members from the troubled charity production. Miss Campanula was a spiteful gossip, gleefully destroying others’ lives merely for her own excitement. But once Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives, he quickly realizes that the murderer might have killed the wrong woman—and may soon stage a repeat performance.

This case of sinister infatuation will test the sharp intellect and skill of the brilliant Alleyn.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Admirably mysterious.”

    Daily Mail (London)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teotakuu | 2/15/2014

    " This kept me guessing until the last as I kept changing my mind about the guilty party "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maya | 2/13/2014

    " In my view Ngaio Marsh surpasses Agatha Christie as a writer of crime fiction, Overture being one of her best. Listening to this (or any of her books) narrated by Wanda McCaddon, aka Nadia May, merely increases the pleasure of reacquainting myself with this old friend. One of her many novels with a theatre theme. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doina | 2/11/2014

    " One of my favourite things about Marsh's book is that she spends quite a bit of time on the set up for the mystery-if you like action from the very beginning this book is not for you. I love the fact that we see so much scene development and character development in a mystery. For me, the scene and the atmosphere are as important as the mystery itself. DO NOT read the chapter titles, unless you like spoilers. If I had to pick my two favourite detectives ever, I would pick Poirot and Alleyn. Alleyn is as enjoyable for me to read as Poirot. Another classic 1930's mystery, and really, what's not to love about a booby-trapped piano as the murder weapon? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teotakuu | 2/10/2014

    " This kept me guessing until the last as I kept changing my mind about the guilty party "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Connie | 2/6/2014

    " An interesting mystery set in a small village in England with some very different characters. Had never read any of this author's work before. This was read for a bookgroup and was borrowed from the library. Probably will not buy any of her other books but might borrow more in the future. I understand why she's well regarded but this is not one of my favorites. Prefer Agatha Christie's mysteries to this one as well as Dorothy Sayer's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Ceresnak | 2/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this audiobook, though the ending was a little predictable once you got into the meat of the mystery. For Agatha Christie fans, this is a great contemporary of the Grand Dame of the Mystery Genre! That's all I'm gonna say in order to avoid spoilers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 1/27/2014

    " I liked this one the best so far; Rory Alleyn seems to have finally hit his stride, or maybe I'm just getting used to him. Loved the description of the piano music and the spinsters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 1/27/2014

    " An old-fashioned English murder mystery. Enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyrie | 1/25/2014

    " Marsh manages to work the oddest things into a murder mystery. Okay, so the old lady only knew one song, but for the piano to shoot her? I like the workings of villages and the class system in Britain at that time. It's just an interesting slice of history/life and a mystery, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 1/23/2014

    " Scheming spinsters fighting over the vicar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 1/19/2014

    " My first experience w/ Marsh and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great character development and atmospheric scene setting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 1/19/2014

    " Wow, I am so impressed with Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn. This book is well written and very interesting. The story is well established. The characters are well established and there is actually a raport with them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 1/12/2014

    " The murderer was obvious halfway through the book, but Marsh's deft writing kept me interested. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen | 1/8/2014

    " I enjoyed the way this book allows the reader a glimpse of an earlier age. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 1/7/2014

    " An old-fashioned English murder mystery. Enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 1/3/2014

    " A classic from the Golden Age of British cozy mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee Ann | 1/1/2014

    " It's a good book. Marsh is one of my favorite writers. She's always so enjoyable. Here she's hit the point where she is more novel than genre. She plays honest. You guess the killer about 100 pages from the end. She should have cut more out of the last 50 pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 12/15/2013

    " Scheming spinsters fighting over the vicar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Lavelle | 12/5/2013

    " I really enjoyed this one. The murder method is a hoot "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/1/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. I figured out who the murderer was pretty early on but I could not figure how the deed was done. It kept me wondering, guessing and playing along even though I knew (or was pretty sure I knew). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 11/27/2013

    " I love this series, they're really interesting and a fairly light quick read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 11/25/2013

    " I love this series, they're really interesting and a fairly light quick read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sorcha | 11/22/2013

    " I listened to both the Abridged and Unabridged versions of this from Audible. The narrator for the Unabridged was less "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Lavelle | 11/17/2013

    " I really enjoyed this one. The murder method is a hoot "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caro | 11/12/2013

    " Alleyn is always a treat, though this features one of those hysterical spinsters that occasionally inhabit her books. She always did have a taste for the grotesque (remember how the man was killed in A Surfeit of Lampreys, one of my favorites??). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 11/12/2013

    " I liked this one the best so far; Rory Alleyn seems to have finally hit his stride, or maybe I'm just getting used to him. Loved the description of the piano music and the spinsters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Starfish | 10/26/2013

    " Brilliant. Who doesn't love a booby-trapped piano? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Starfish | 10/21/2013

    " Brilliant. Who doesn't love a booby-trapped piano? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 9/23/2013

    " Scheming spinsters fighting over the vicar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Ceresnak | 8/27/2013

    " I really enjoyed this audiobook, though the ending was a little predictable once you got into the meat of the mystery. For Agatha Christie fans, this is a great contemporary of the Grand Dame of the Mystery Genre! That's all I'm gonna say in order to avoid spoilers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee Ann | 5/21/2013

    " It's a good book. Marsh is one of my favorite writers. She's always so enjoyable. Here she's hit the point where she is more novel than genre. She plays honest. You guess the killer about 100 pages from the end. She should have cut more out of the last 50 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caro | 3/24/2013

    " Alleyn is always a treat, though this features one of those hysterical spinsters that occasionally inhabit her books. She always did have a taste for the grotesque (remember how the man was killed in A Surfeit of Lampreys, one of my favorites??). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Starfish | 3/2/2013

    " Brilliant. Who doesn't love a booby-trapped piano? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 12/23/2012

    " Wow, I am so impressed with Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn. This book is well written and very interesting. The story is well established. The characters are well established and there is actually a raport with them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 11/28/2012

    " Written in 1939, therefore dated but still good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 8/23/2012

    " Wow, I am so impressed with Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn. This book is well written and very interesting. The story is well established. The characters are well established and there is actually a raport with them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 8/3/2012

    " I love this series, they're really interesting and a fairly light quick read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee Ann | 4/27/2012

    " It's a good book. Marsh is one of my favorite writers. She's always so enjoyable. Here she's hit the point where she is more novel than genre. She plays honest. You guess the killer about 100 pages from the end. She should have cut more out of the last 50 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teotakuu | 4/13/2012

    " This kept me guessing until the last as I kept changing my mind about the guilty party "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 3/18/2012

    " A classic from the Golden Age of British cozy mysteries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyrie | 3/8/2012

    " Marsh manages to work the oddest things into a murder mystery. Okay, so the old lady only knew one song, but for the piano to shoot her? I like the workings of villages and the class system in Britain at that time. It's just an interesting slice of history/life and a mystery, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyrie | 3/4/2012

    " Marsh manages to work the oddest things into a murder mystery. Okay, so the old lady only knew one song, but for the piano to shoot her? I like the workings of villages and the class system in Britain at that time. It's just an interesting slice of history/life and a mystery, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 1/22/2012

    " Written in 1939, therefore dated but still good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 11/10/2011

    " My first experience w/ Marsh and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great character development and atmospheric scene setting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 8/8/2011

    " The murderer was obvious halfway through the book, but Marsh's deft writing kept me interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jill | 8/4/2011

    " Ngaio Marsh loves killing people off as part of a performance in full view of an audience. This is another of those plots, with a fairly clever murder mechanism. As usual, the characters and build up to the murder are the best part. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caro | 7/10/2011

    " Alleyn is always a treat, though this features one of those hysterical spinsters that occasionally inhabit her books. She always did have a taste for the grotesque (remember how the man was killed in A Surfeit of Lampreys, one of my favorites??). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Lavelle | 7/9/2011

    " I really enjoyed this one. The murder method is a hoot "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 6/15/2011

    " I liked this one the best so far; Rory Alleyn seems to have finally hit his stride, or maybe I'm just getting used to him. Loved the description of the piano music and the spinsters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 6/8/2011

    " I really enjoyed this audiobook, though the ending was a little predictable once you got into the meat of the mystery. For Agatha Christie fans, this is a great contemporary of the Grand Dame of the Mystery Genre! That's all I'm gonna say in order to avoid spoilers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 6/7/2011

    " I liked this one the best so far; Rory Alleyn seems to have finally hit his stride, or maybe I'm just getting used to him. Loved the description of the piano music and the spinsters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jill | 3/20/2011

    " Ngaio Marsh loves killing people off as part of a performance in full view of an audience. This is another of those plots, with a fairly clever murder mechanism. As usual, the characters and build up to the murder are the best part. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teotakuu | 3/2/2011

    " This kept me guessing until the last as I kept changing my mind about the guilty party "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caro | 12/6/2010

    " Alleyn is always a treat, though this features one of those hysterical spinsters that occasionally inhabit her books. She always did have a taste for the grotesque (remember how the man was killed in A Surfeit of Lampreys, one of my favorites??). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 12/6/2010

    " I really enjoyed this one. The murder method is a hoot "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Starfish | 3/9/2010

    " Brilliant. Who doesn't love a booby-trapped piano? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 10/6/2009

    " Written in 1939, therefore dated but still good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee Ann | 6/24/2009

    " It's a good book. Marsh is one of my favorite writers. She's always so enjoyable. Here she's hit the point where she is more novel than genre. She plays honest. You guess the killer about 100 pages from the end. She should have cut more out of the last 50 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jz | 2/24/2009

    " 8th in series, first published in 1939
    Fun to read, not deep, but good for a rainy afternoon with tea and scones. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jill | 10/19/2008

    " Ngaio Marsh loves killing people off as part of a performance in full view of an audience. This is another of those plots, with a fairly clever murder mechanism. As usual, the characters and build up to the murder are the best part. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 8/10/2008

    " The murderer was obvious halfway through the book, but Marsh's deft writing kept me interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/5/2008

    " I enjoyed this book. I figured out who the murderer was pretty early on but I could not figure how the deed was done. It kept me wondering, guessing and playing along even though I knew (or was pretty sure I knew). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 12/30/2007

    " A classic from the Golden Age of British cozy mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 10/26/2007

    " An old-fashioned English murder mystery. Enjoyable.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 9/3/2007

    " Scheming spinsters fighting over the vicar. "

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About the Author
Author Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh (1895–1982), born in New Zealand, wrote over thirty detective novels. Many of her stories had theatrical settings, as her real passion was for the theater. She was both an actress and a producer and almost single-handedly revived the New Zealand public’s interest in live theater. In 1966 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.