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I have not read this author. I write in recommendation of another detective writer, Mick Herron. I am reading his comical Slough House series with enjoyment.

I bought a couple of Ngaio Marsh's books several years ago on the recommendation of P.D. James. (It wasn't a personal recommendation, just one I read somewhere, of course.) I've yet to read them though.

I heard one of hers as an audiobook quite a few years ago and enjoyed it. Also about an upper-class family, if I recall correctly. One odd thing about this one is that the murder is quite gruesome, unnecessarily so in my opinion. Not very cozy but no wonder P.D. James recommends her. :-)

It occurs to me to wonder whether an actual Briton might find this stereotypically upper-class-Brit crowd rather...twee. I remember John Derbyshire, non-upper-class Brit, saying that the upper-class British accent put his teeth on edge.

I haven't heard of Mick Herron. How do you pronounce "Slough"?

Mission partly accomplished. Already DuckDuckGo returns this post as the top result for "walking like agag ngaio marsh." Google does not return it at all. I'll check again tomorrow.

I am pretty sure I have read them all at least once, and some a few times. I was reading them in order once, and I think I made it to the end.

Alleyn is probably my favorite detective.

There is a BBC series that is pretty good. The first one was dreadfully unfaithful to the text, misinterpreting Alleyn's character, but they got another actor for the rest, and they are better. I think the actor that plays Fox is wonderful.


And the first episode appears to be impossible to find. Someone put it in YouTube once, but it disappeared pretty quickly.


Slough rhymes with cow

But the failures in Slough House are known to the successful secret service types as the slow horses

The humour is chaucerian

It can be slew too. I love the Slough of Despond in Pilgrim's Progress.


I meant how does Grumpy in particular pronounce it. It’s a weird word. It can also be “sluff”.

There are some Alleyn mysteries on Amazon but you have to rent them. I’ll check and see who the actor is.

Its not sluff no. Slow horses is a pun on Slough House

The Agag scene in I Sam is difficult to write about because its all there on the page. What else do you say?

Patrick Malahide.

They are better to read, anyway.


Chief Inspector Alleyn was a different kind of role for Patrick Malahide. He usually seems to be cast as a nasty, sinister character.

The actor who played his sidekick, Inspector Fox, was William Simons. IMDB says he was born in Mumbles, South Wales. Mumbles? My first thought was, crazy Brits. Here's what Wikipedia says:

Mumbles is a headland sited on the western edge of Swansea Bay on the southern coast of Wales. ... The headland is thought by some to have been named by French sailors, after the shape of the two anthropomorphic islands which comprise the headland: the word "Mumbles" may be a corruption of the French les mamelles, meaning "the breasts." Another possible source of the name is from the word Mamucium which is generally thought to represent a Latinisation of an original Brythonic name, either from mamm- ("breast," in reference to a "breast-like hill") or from mamma ("mother," in reference to a local river goddess).

I think your first take--crazy Brits--was pretty on target.

Thought I recognized Patrick Malahide in Amazon's photo representing the series. So was he the good Alleyn or the bad one?

I think if I were writing about Agag I would focus on "before God."

When a snake sloughs off its skin, it's "sluff", isn't it?

There is a place in England call Slough and it rhymes with cow.

Look at the rhymes in Betjamin’s poem - eg ‘it isnt fit for people now’


I don’t mean “sluff” or “slew” is the correct one, or any more correct. Just saying those are variants in actual use. I think. “Slew” definitely is. When I see it in print I don’t know which is intended, unless there’s some clue like Betjeman’s rhyme.

Success. Now this post is the first Google result.


Malahide is the good one. This was the first role I ever saw him in. I am glad I didn't see him as Casaubon first.

Yes, it can be "slough." That's always the first thing that comes to my mind.


Like Marianne, I associate Malahide with villainous characters, although I can't think of a specific one. I don't know who Casaubon is. Or rather I didn't until just know when I looked him up.

Oh. I thought we had talked about Middlemarch here. Wonder where that was.


It's possible. But I've never read it or seen a film/tv adaptation..or have I?...definitely haven't read it but there was some George Eliot thing I saw some years ago...I don't remember, anyway.

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