Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh, Read by Benedict Cumberbatch

Artists in Crime

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model’s pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy—artist and instructor—returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. It’s a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess?

It was said that many people compared Ngaio Marsh to Agatha Christie, I have only read few books by Agatha and this is my first time reading/listening to Ngaio Marsh’s mystery. Based on this one, I think Christie is better.

This is my second audio book read by the handsome Benedict Cumberbatch with his sexy voice. Well, actually I have heard 2 and a half book by him, the first was Metamorphosis by Kafka which I like so much, and the half was Casanova which was terribly boring and even the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t keep me hearing it. I think the book of Casanova life is the most narcissist book I have ever heard in my entire life…it was tiring to hear him bragged about how women craved for him so much.

Fortunately, Artists in Crime is quite interesting (well, better than Casanova)…but not interesting enough for me to read it. The truth is, Benny’s many accents kept me going because I have figured out the perpetrator since the crime took place.

Artists in Crime was the 6th series of Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The crime took place in a class taught by Ms. Agatha Troy, a woman who became the love interest of D.I Alleyn. It was an art class. Sophia Gluck, a model, was asked to pose with a very uncomfortable position. After Troy drawed her position with chalk, one of her students thrust a knife in where her heart supposed to be. They wanted to paint her as a murder victim. They left the class without finishing the painting. They came back on Monday and when Sophia laid down for the pose, the knife was still there but it was from under the board so the sharp part easily stabbed her heart.

Seriously, I found the killing as the silliest way to kill someone…No matter how sharp a knife is, there are bones on our back and for a knife to pass through the bones and hit the heart will require force. Sophia was pushed by someone to stay still in her uncomfortable position…so it was CLEAR, clear as crystal, that that person was the murderer even though that person pretended as someone who knew nothing about the knife.

When D.I Alleyn conducted his investigation by asking all the students one by one, I felt like screaming “For God’s sake, she/he is the murderer, no investigation needed!!”. Fortunately, although I guessed it right, Marsh still managed to write a bit of surprise at the end.

Story wise, I think Artists in Crime is an okay book.

Now, how about the narrator? Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benny was superb!! It was like listening to a one man show. He changed his accent every time new character was introduced. It felt more like a radio show done by more than one person.

The way he reads this book is better than when he read Metamorphosis.

0306babylove had kindly edited and uploaded the many accents of Benny in Artists in Crime on youtube, enjoy 🙂


I still have two more books by Ngaio Marsh read by Benny waiting to be read/listened 😉

Audio book detail:

Title: Artists in Crime
Author : Ngaio Marsh
Reader: Benedict Cumberbatch
Time: 3 hour 19 minutes
Rating: 2 books for the story but 5 for the reader

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