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Ngaio Marsh

Off With His Head

Collins Crime Club 1957

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SYNOPSIS
WHEN THE versatile Mrs. Bunz arrived at Mardian she said: "I am a student of the folk-dance. ... My little monographs on the Abram Circle Bush and the symbolic tea-pawt have been praised ". She was determined to investigate the rare survival of folk-dancing that was believed to continue to this day at Mardian. No one in the village, from Dame Alice Mardian (" a character out of Surtees") to the five sons of the smith, William Andersen, considered their strange annual ritual—the Dance of The Five Sons—to be any business of the rest of the world, or of Mrs. Biinz. They did not foresee the macabre tragedy that was to take place on " Sword Wednesday" of the winter solstice, amidst the disguises, the dancing, and the torches that lit the ruins of Mardian Castle for the ancient ceremony. Superintendent Roderick AUeyn found himself faced with a case of great complexity—and also with a flat impossibility. He made many surprising discoveries in his investigations, which required that he should understand the movements of the dancers in their prehistoric rites. At a gruesome reconstruction of the night of Sword Wednesday the impossibility is explained and the murderer revealed in an astonishing climax. This successor to Scales of Justice and Ngaio Marsh's other fine detective stories will again delight her many readers.

Ngaio Marsh

Classic Crime Fiction

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