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Publisher's Summary

The London season has begun. But while debutantes and chaperones plan their luncheons and balls a deadly blackmailer is stalking the highest echelons of society.

Naturally, it falls to charming, aloof Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn - son of Lady Alleyn - to investigate the case. He has already planted his close friend Lord Robert at the scene. But someone else got to him first....

Death in a White Tie was first published in 1938 and is perhaps the finest of Marsh's 1930s novels - elegantly constructed, witty and marvellously entertaining.

Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.

©1938 Original Text of 1938 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers." (Times Literary Supplement)

"Ngaio Marsh’s Death in a White Tie is the best detective story I have ever read...." (Dashiell Hammett)

"[This audiobook has] a distinction that puts the author in the front rank of crime story writers." (Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about Death in a White Tie

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story but sound quality issues

I find the story enjoyable and I like James Saxon’s versions of the Ngaio Marsh stories but I found the quality of this recording not as good as those I’ve listened to previously.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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One of Marsh's best

i enjoy Ngaio Marsh and this did not disappoint. Saxon is a decent reader but Phillip Franks is better.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Inconsistent narration

The narration was very well done except for one thing. When changing chapters, the recording levels varied, not so much volume as the timbre of the voice, sometimes bright other times more rich. A great story and well read and expressed narration.

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  • David Adams
  • 23-03-2016

Terrible sound quality ruins the experience

Ngaio Marsh and Inspector Alleyn are as reliable as ever in this mystery, and I don't feel much need to review the story itself. If you enjoy Ngaio Marsh novels, include this in your reading, it's a no brainer. Unfortunately this narrator is not so great, and the sound quality of the recording is atrocious, which makes this overall a mixed review.

First of all, the narrator James Saxon does a good enough job of speaking clearly and getting pauses, inflections, and pronunciations correct. And he does possess the capacity for a wide range of character voices. But he's not disciplined enough in their use to make it a great rading. As noted by others, he is hit and miss about giving the characters distinctive voices consistently, and the accent of one character often bleeds into surrounding prose or even other characters' lines. So, when you have a choice among narrators for a Ngaio Marsh title, I would definitely recommend Nadia May over James Saxon, and Philip Franks did a frankly masterful job on the title he narrated.

Finally, the recording quality here is downright atrocious. It's not just a matter of some general noisiness common to 90s-era and earlier audiobooks that were recorded or archived on tape. That's annoying, but one gets past it relatively quickly.

In the case of this book however, chapter by chapter there are variations in volume levels, background hiss, and recording quality. Some chapters sound like a 70s-era cassette recording of a 30s era radio broadcast. Even then, if the quality were consistently bad, it would be one thing, but it jumps around and every time it gets worse, you get more annoyed. This is just plain bad product, and that makes it all the more enraging that Audible is charging a premium price.

I expect an $18 audiobook to be a new recording, or a really excellent older recording. But this is just terrible, and Audible shouldn't be charging more than five bucks for it.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine
  • 29-02-2016

Very Poor Recording Quality

The book was good but the recordings itself was so poor it was hard to enjoy. I had to listen to the entire recording at three-quarter speed in order to distinguish the words. Disappointing.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marie
  • 25-02-2016

One of my favorites; terrible sound in place

For me, Ngaio Marsh's early books, where Roderick Alleyn and later Agatha Troy are more involved in the story, not just the investigation, are the best. Alleyn investigates the murder of a close friend and during the case meets Troy again. Their romance is a subdued but satisfying part of the story.

Normally I enjoy James Saxon's reading but at times his transition between characters was not clear. This made it hard at times to tell who was speaking, especially in scenes between Alleyn and Troy.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 23-11-2015

Horrible audio quality - totally disappointed

I love Ngaio Marsh and couldn't wait to listen to this. However, the narrator sounds like he recorded the audio through a door or something. Scratchy, distant, and muffled. I hope the others aren't like this. The previous books with the same narrator have been great.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • DJDecca
  • 05-11-2015

A Waltz With a Side of Murder

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It's a typically good Ngaio Marsh with plenty of red herrings and an "interlude for romance" between Alleyn and his beloved Troy.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the character of Lord Robert and determination with which Alleyn pursued the murderer.

What didn’t you like about James Saxon’s performance?

There wasn't much differentiation between characters and it was sometimes difficult to tell who was speaking. This was hampered by an overall problem with volume levels. From chapter to chapter, and occasionally within chapters, the sound varied to the point where I had to turn the volume up or down at least 4 levels.

Could you see Death in a White Tie being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It has already been beautiful done by the BBC as part of the Mystery series. I highly recommend it, especially the wonderful Harold Innocent as Lord Robert.

Any additional comments?

A good story but the sound quality made it hard to enjoy. I'd recommend the abridged version featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. You miss some of the characters and plot, but the performance is outstanding.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 08-05-2017

Horrid sound, good mystery

Wow, the production on the recording is so amateurish. Sound quality jumps from just bad to "talking through cans on a string" bad. I'm returning this one because the sound quality is so bad. I hope it gets cleaned up and if it does I will re-purchase it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kimberly Colley
  • 03-08-2019

Dreadful sound quality

At times tinny to the point of sounding like an old-time radio broadcast, I suspect this recording was cobbled together from two different readings. I do not recommend this audiobook, even though the mystery itself was good. Save your money and read the book instead.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stoutcat
  • 25-07-2019

Very disappointing narration and production values

As with all Ngaio Marsh mysteries, the story is excellent. The disappointment begins at the beginning of the book when we first hear the narrator's voice. Very little difference between one the sound of one character and another; his attempt at an American accent was awful; not good at distinguishing between the male and female characters. His Lord Robert reading was terrible. Also terrible were the production values. Volume fluctuated wildly, as did speed. Very disconcerting. If I hadn't liked the story so much, I wouldn't have bothered to finish listening. Hoping they can get Philip Franks to do a new recording.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 18-03-2019

Distracting sound recording

The quality of the sound is awful. Aside from that, this isn't James Saxon's best performance. The female voices are awful. I love the story though. I would return this audiobook, unfortunately, Audible won't allow this despite having bought a Gold subscription.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amel
  • 11-09-2018

Awful recording

Great story, and I *think* I enjoyed one of the narrators, but it’s hard to say since there were at least 2 (if not more). The recording would jump between a seemingly up-to-date quality, and then to an old-timey radio recording (with other mid-range quality recordings interspersed). I eventually got used to it, but it frustrates me greatly that I PAID for this audible book. I have borrowed recorded books from the library website that have had far better recordings.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arthur
  • 15-12-2015

Terrible recording

It appeared to be a splicing together of several recordings. The EQ was terrible. I'm places inaudible.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda S.
  • 20-02-2016

Mono quality audio

Trying to get refund as this audio is terrible quality. It sounds very tinny and mono.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-06-2019

Changeable sound quality

Unfortunately James Saxon’s performance is marred by regular differences in sound quality which spoiled the listening experience.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • taylor
  • 11-04-2019

Love the book

Excellent book but the sound quality isn’t good which is annoying. James Saxon is the best narrator possible

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs C
  • 15-10-2020

great story

really enjoyed the story. somewhat spoiled by the sound quality. each chapter sounded different, muffled, loud, tinny, etc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Libby Hall
  • 29-02-2020

I didn't like the narration

This is my favourite of The Ngaio Marsh novels but I had to return it after listening to just the first few chapters. I did not like the narration at all. Everyone sounded like a grotesque caricature . Very disappointing.

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  • My Spence
  • 08-08-2017

Excellent story & performance; poor recording quality

This is, to me, one of Ngaio Marsh's best books, and it's read very well. The downside is the very poor quality of the recording, which switches sound levels here and there, to the extent that I find myself wondering if the Bluetooth connection has broken and the sound is suddenly only coming through my iPod speaker. Disappointing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 31-03-2017

Enjoyable, however...

Excellent story from a brilliant writer, only slightly marred by the bad and variable audio quality

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanne F.
  • 21-04-2016

Dreadful quality recording

A great novel for Ngaio Marsh fans. James Saxon reads very well . Very poor quality recording - some parts sound as though they were recorded at the bottom of a well !

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