Spinsters in Jeopardy by Ngaio Marsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This case takes Alleyn, with wife and son tagging along, to the French Riviera, where he gets mixed up with a strange cult and someone kidnaps his son. A local man, Raoul, takes the role of sidekick (normally held by Fox who doesn't appear at all) in this story. This was a good mystery, and I enjoyed it. My main quibble with the book is that the bad guys didn't have the complexity that I have come to expect from Marsh which made the novel less interesting. There was also very little question of "who done it," the story was more a matter of proving what was already known by Alleyn. The other issue I had with the novel was the fact that there are these weird "purely evil" ceremonies which are referred to but we don't know what actually happened. This may have been the propriety of the times in which the book was written (1954), but it was distracting and made some of the plot construction rather awkward.
The edition of the book I read has a quote from New York Magazine on the cover, "It's time to start comparing Christie to Marsh instead of the other way around." While this particular book isn't her best, I agree with the sentiment.
This book counts toward the Vintage Mystery Challenge in the category of Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin.