• Light Thickens

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: Philip Franks
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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Light Thickens  By  cover art

Light Thickens

By: Ngaio Marsh
Narrated by: Philip Franks
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Publisher's Summary

Peregrine Jay, owner of the Dolphin Theatre, is putting on a magnificent production of Macbeth, the play that, superstition says, always brings bad luck.

But one night the claymore swings, and the dummy's head is more than real: murder behind the scene.

Luckily, Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn is in the audience....

©1982 Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Light Thickens

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

It seems that Ngaio Marsh became more deeply involved in theater herself and simultaneously ran out of plots for compelling mysteries. This is not her best. In fact, it is probably one of the least successful overall. No idea what the title has to do with the story? But plot swirls around Macbeth. Alleyne is incidental. Much back and forth and repetition. No way to redeem it. It's an homage to production of Macbeth and little more.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Reflects Ngaio Marsh's interest in Macbeth

For those who already enjoy Ngaio Marsh's stories, this brings together her love of the theater,her love of Macbeth, her varied interests in the power of things and old rituals, and a mystery. Not only who did it but how it was done.
The very detailed presentation of the staging of this great play may be tedious for those who have not become intrigued by the Shakespeare play of 'Macbeth' .For them it may be as interesting as railway time tables, yet the detail and the personalities do matter.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Only if you love theatre...

So sad to have finished the last Ngaio Marsh book, and more sad that it ended with a whimper. Most of the story concerns the mounting a production of Macbeth. I love everything about the theatre but it was very tedious. Marsh’s usually elaborate characters took a faraway seat to the intricacies of theatrical production. I yearned for Inspector Alleyn to make his appearance, which didn’t come until the last third of the book. At least the narrator was brilliant as usual.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Aside From Incorrect Pronunciation

What did you love best about Light Thickens?

It's a great mystery, with well-rounded characters. Alleyn is not as prevalent as usual, but it's made to work with another character to the fore.

What other book might you compare Light Thickens to and why?

Any other Marsh, Christie, or James title. It's a classic murder mystery.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I was really irritated that he had not made the slightest effort to get the Māori pronunciation even remotely correct. Normally Franks is really good, but the complete ignorance of one of the most easily mastered sets of sounds on the planet was really rubbish, especially given that there are resources for learning this readily available. A real let-down.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No.

Any additional comments?

Franks does great voices.

1 person found this helpful

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Terrific narration

I am a huge fan of Ngaio Marsh’s wonderful dialogue-heavy mysteries. They are such a treat to listen to generally, but I want to especially point out Philip Franks’ narration on this recording. At the end of part one, I actually had goosebumps as he moved us toward the opening night of the play. It was brilliantly done.

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At least learn how to say the characters names.

This was done in 2016 according to the copyright. It is not that hard to google words from non English languages like Rangi, and find out that they are pronounced rung-ee rather than “ran gee”
At least have some respect for the authors home country.

And that’s without getting started on how to say Alleyn’s name.

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Positively thrilling

Phillip Franks voices all the varied parts exceptionally well and made me want to see the production being rehearsed at the Dolphin!

The people we are supposed to like are especially likable in this, her last novel. The perpetrator was well hidden among several difficult people.

Some knowledge of the Scottish Play (MacBeth) is almost essential to enjoy the characters and plot. A quick review on Wikipedia could refresh English class memories- and - then do delve into this engaging and entertaining book. I did not want it to end.

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Slow to start but a neat finish.

A very slow start though might appeal to those classic drama lovers. Over all narration was impeccable. However I struggled listening to the Te Reo Māori being butchered. His pronunciation was diabolical and very hard to listen to and culturally disrespectful.

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Read Macbeth First

I really enjoyed this book. I wish I had read (or listened) to Macbeth prior to listening to this book. It is not necessary to have done so to understand the plot of this book but it would have made listening more enjoyable. I don’t know a thing about theater jargon but the author’s assumption I did actually made it more enjoyable. I occasionally looked up a term but enjoyed the insider’s view of a theatrical production.

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A lot of fun!

If you love theater in general, or more specifically love Macbeth, like I do, there is much to like, the murder mystery itself is a tad predictable. But fun regardless.

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  • Idontlikegivingreviews
  • 02-07-16

There's nothing light about this :/

Seriously, struggled to finish this.
Had I wanted a book about the production of Macbeth I'd have looked for one. 4/10.
Franks narrates well.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Samima
  • 02-24-16

Dull and dated

The novel purports to be an Inspector Alleyne mystery, but no crime is committed until part 2 chapter 6, well over four and a half hours into a seven hour book. That first section should have been condensed into forty minutes. The characters were tedious and unsympathetic. At first I thought the narrators RADA voice was appropriate for actORs, but after an hour it really began to pall especially the simpering female voices, and there was no difference between the voice of the inspector and the main character, Perry. I only wish I had taken up the Audible offer to exchange the book. I just kept thinking it must improve. It didn't.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay
  • 02-05-17

slow

slow and predictable. ....... .....
...... ....... ....... ....... ...... ... .. .... ..
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2 people found this helpful

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  • Slim Chances
  • 08-25-22

Great narration but…

This is very well narrated by Philip Franks. The story however is pretty awful in my humble opinion. It gives a detailed and lengthy description of the rehearsals for a high-profile production of MacBeth which ends in tragedy. Alleyne appears late on and there is no clever detection - just a lucky break and a confession. I’ve enjoyed others by this author but this is disappointing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-30-21

Excellent! Traditional! Murder/Mystery

Written in the fine, easy to read prose of Ngaio Marsh, a well told tale of mystery and murder in the English theatre.
Gripping to the last and plays by the rules of The Detection Club. (it is fair to its readers)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-21

Does anyone care whodunit?

Feels like a murder is tacked on to a book about how to stage a performance of the Scottish play. Any real interest ebbs away after the first night. The death comes later.

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  • Jean the Bean
  • 05-22-21

A Marsh classic

This is best enjoyed after Death at the Dolphin. I often listen to them both in a day when I am busy in my workshop. And it is a testament to a good story, well told, that you can enjoy this again and again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally Stewart
  • 04-01-21

Very well done

Excellent reading/acting. Highly recommended. One of Ngaio Marsh's evocations of a theatre company at which she excelled.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Andersen
  • 11-14-20

If you are REALLY interested in staging Macbeth...

Marsh loved, and was very knowledgeable, about Shakespeare and theatre. As a traditional whodunit, the story is swamped by the play and the murderer is obvious even before the crime is committed. But if you love theatre production, this could be for you. The reader is excellent.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin Hood's sister
  • 08-29-19

Not one of her best

It is an odd book really. I like her writing despite a few flaws. This story has a common flaw of longer books, which is a great load of not really much happening that isn't needed for the mystery before the murder happens. But this book is mainly a description of the rehearsals for Macbeth. It's like what she was really interested in writing was how a play is put on. Then a very weak mystery she didn't care about was bunged on the end to justify it. Maybe there was a deadline to meet or her heart wasn't in it. Who knows? It is interesting but not as a whodunnit.