Ngaio Marsh sets Tied Up In Tinsel (1972) at Christmastime at a luxurious, restored manor house located just near a British prison. The owner of the manor, Hilary Bill-Tasman, is an eccentric, prideful man with plenty of problems. But Hilary is also clever and very wealthy. With his massive funds, Hilary is restoring his family’s ancient estate with pompous luxury items. One of Hilary’s eccentricities is that he has hired ex-cons, one-time murderers, as his servants in order to give them “a second chance.” Into this setting, artist Troy Alleyn arrives to paint Hilary’s portrait. Also in the mix is Hilary’s erratic family and his sexy young fiancee. Of course, there’s a murder. Troy’s husband, Superintendent Roderick Alleyn, shows up to solve the baffling mystery. If you’re in the mood for a clever and snarky Christmas mystery, Tied Up In Tinsel delivers. Are you a Ngaio Marsh fan? GRADE: B+

12 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #508: TIED UP IN TINSEL By Ngaio Marsh

  1. maggie mason

    I read all of Marsh’s books, but so long ago I don’t remember them. I think Wreath for Riviera was my favorite, but I couldn’t tell you why.

    For Christmas mysteries, I recommend Rest Ye Merry by Charlotte MacLeod. Donna Andrews also does witty Christmas mysteries, set in a fictional Virginia town that I’d love to visit

    1. george Post author

      Maggie, thanks for the recommendations for Christmas books. I’ll track down the ones I don’t own. Maybe they’ll be FFBs in the year’s ahead!

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    I agree with Maggie about the outrageous REST YE MERRY.

    I believe this was the first Marsh I had, from the Mystery Guild. I went back and got most of the others, in Penguin editions where possible. After that I tried to read them in order,especially the book introducing Troy and their subsequent romance. I must admit that I would have put her behind Christie and Sayers back them, though ahead of Allingham, but it has been years since I read one. I’d guess there are probably half a dozen late ones that I never read.

      1. wolf

        I remember reading some of her (!) books as a teenager/young man – presents from un uncle who read acrime book almost very day but don’t remember what they were all about.

  3. Michael Padgett

    Despite being pretty well read in the more noirish and hardboiled areas of crime fiction, I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of the golden age writers of traditional mysteries is just disgraceful. I’ve read Carr, Christie, and Queen, and that’s it. No Marsh or Allingham or Sayers or any of the others you might want to mention. Every so often I think I’ll try some of them, but it never quite happens. Shame on me.

  4. Rick Robinson

    We both did holiday golden age mysteries today, so as you said, great minds… I’m not a big Marsh fan, I rank like you did, but below Allingham as well. That said, the only Sayers I much care for are the Lord Peter short stories, which are wonderful. I need to reread that wonderful collection.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, we had the same idea reviewing that Agatha Christie Christmas mystery…only separated by a couple hundred FFBs! I’ve had that Lord Peter short story collection on my shelves for decades. I’ll try to read it in 2019!


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