SCALES OF JUSTICE offers readers an opportunity that comes their way too rarely nowadays, for here is the classical detective novel at its very best. With it Ngaio Marsh returns to the genre in its absolute form: detection arising equally from character, suspense and a set of extraordinary circumstances. The village of Chyning nestles, perhaps a trifle smugly, in the charming valley of the Chvne. Nothing nrars the seemliness of the prospect. Even the eccentricities of the inhabitants would appear, on first acquaintance, to follow a time-honoured convention. We have, for instance, Lady Lacklander's size and she is as vast as she is wily; Commander Syce's inebriated archery; Mr. Danberry-Phinn'scats; Colonel Cartarette's angling; his wife's equivocal attitude to the elder male Lack-lander; his daughter's love for the younger. There is Nurse Kettle pedalling briskly about the landscape and finally that monster trout, the Old *Un in his lurk by Bottom Bridge. It sounds harmless enough yet these are the ingredients which boil up into as pretty a hell-brew, as strange a murder and as ingenious a solution as ever graced the case-book of Mr. Roderick Alleyn. This book, with its particular tang of mounting tension, is in the tradition of Ngaio Marsh's other great detective stories, such as Surfeit of Lampreys, Artists in Crime and Death and the Dancing Footman.
Classic Crime Fiction
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