Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 29)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Off With His Head by Ngaio Marsh which is one of my reads from The Classics Club. I’m slightly (very) ashamed to say that although I consider myself a crime fiction lover, I’ve not read any of this authors 32 novels.


Pagan revelry and morris dancing in the middle of a very cold winter set the scene for one of Ngaio Marsh’s most fascinating murder mysteries.

When the pesky Anna Bünz arrives at Mardian to investigate the rare survival of folk-dancing still practised there, she quickly antagonizes the villagers. But Mrs Bünz is not the only source of friction – two of the other enthusiasts are also spoiling for a fight.

When the sword dancers’ traditional mock beheading of the Winter Solstice becomes horribly real, Superintendent Roderick Alleyn finds himself faced with a case of great complexity and of gruesome proportions… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter One


Over that part of England the Winter Solstice came down with a bitter antiphony of snow and frost. Trees minutely articulate, shuddered in the north wind. By four o’clock in the afternoon the people of South Mardian were all indoors.
It was at four o’clock that a small dogged-looking car appeared on a rise above the village and began to sidle and curvet down the frozen lane. Its driver, her vision distracted by wisps of grey hair escaping from a headscarf, peered through the fan-shaped clearing on her windscreen. Her woolly paws clutched rather than commanded the wheel. She wore in addition to several scarves of immense length, a handspun cloak. Her booted feet tramped about over the brake and clutch-pedal, her lips moved soundlessly and from time to time twitched into conciliatory smiles. Thus she arrived in South Mardian and bumped to a standstill before a pair of gigantic gates.

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Well I gave you slightly more than I usually type out for this post but I was enjoying it so much! Love those descriptions the short ones about the weather that say so much and then the easily imagined image of whoever it is that is driving that car, I’m just glad that everyone else is safely tucked up at home!

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

41 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 29)

  1. Oh, I hope you’ll enjoy this one, Cleo. I always like Marsh’s wit. And she created some fine characters, too. Glad to see her work here.


  2. I’m trying to remember if I ever did read a book by this author. I don’t think so, but maybe. I do remember looking at her name and wondering how it was pronounced. Enjoy!


  3. I loved Ngaio Marsh when I was in my teens and then I kinda went off her because I thought she was too snobbish – but I was going through my left-wing up-the-revolution phase then! I’ve been meaning to revisit her for ages now that I can cope with these older fashioned attitudes again. Hope you have fun with this one! 😀


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