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Marsh, Ngaio

Ngaio Marsh Books

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New Zealand detective fiction writer. Her first detective novel A Man Lay Dead, 1934, introduced her protagonist Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn.

Ngaio Marsh's Chief Inspector (later Superintendent) Roderick Alleyn, of Scotland Yard, series was typically set in the world of the arts, particularly the theater or painters. Originally an actress, and later a theatre producer, she went to England in 1928 and worked as an interior decorator. Ngaio Marsh seems to be neglected lately. As good as Christie and better than Sayer, Marsh invented a detective with depth and personality and allowed him to grow as time passed.

Please discuss her work below.

Previous MessagesEarliest MessagesOutlineRecent Messages (89 previous messages)
Elizabeth Hayes Smith - 08:32am Dec 7, 1998 PST(#90 of 99)

Hi, Susan,

Welcome to our little club....

Alleyn is phonetically prononouced (AL- (short "A") Lane) The stress is on the first syllable. Ngaio is prounounced (NYE-oh) stress on the first syllable.

Anyone who tells you different didn't watch a filmed interview of the great Dame Ngaio pronouncing these herself!

:) Lilly

DK - 01:14pm Jan 21, 1999 PST(#91 of 99)

I've read all the messages and am very glad I found this page. I personally found Death and the Dancing Footman an absolutely delightful book. Everything a cozy ought to be. I;ve been jotting down titles, websites and notes so I can check all these things out. It's great to meet you all and I hope to hear from you very soon.

Simon - 12:02pm Oct 8, 1999 PST(#92 of 99)
It ain't easy being green

I don't know if anyone still posts here, but I just finished Night at the Vulcan last night and thought it was absolutely wonderful. To of my passions are mysteries and the theatre, and it was neat to find a novel that combined them so skillfully... This is the first book by Ngaio Marsh that I have read, but I think I would like to read some others. Anyone have suggestions on some good ones to start with?

Jesse Tiesman - 03:52pm Nov 18, 1999 PST(#93 of 99)

I also have a Marsh question-- I read a book decades ago by her that had the killer using a "colorless liquid" to kill the victim. Does anyone remember what book this is?

Diva - 03:09pm Nov 22, 1999 PST(#94 of 99)
look famous, be legendary, appear complex, act easy, radiate presence, travel light, seem a dream, prove real

ummmm - is it the one about the actress and the perfume bottle? Don't want to give too much away. I can't think of the name right now, but I think her name was Mary, an aging grand dame of the stage. That is the only one I can think of with a 'colourless liquid', but they work out fairly quickly what it was.

Diva - 08:21pm Nov 22, 1999 PST(#95 of 99)
look famous, be legendary, appear complex, act easy, radiate presence, travel light, seem a dream, prove real

Simon - there are a lot of her books set in the theatre, she was actually given her title (Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, or DBE), for her services to theatre, and I understand that she practically revived the theatre industry in her native New Zealand singlehandedly.

A Man Lay Dead was her very first one. Offhand, I can think of Vintage Murder, Enter a Murderer, Death at the Dolphin and Light Thickens (my personal favourite, and about the 'perfect' production of Macbeth) which involve the theatre. I know there are others, just can't think of the titles.

There are also quite a few about artists, and Alleyn's wife Troy features in some of these. I think Artists in Crime was the first featuring Troy (but again, can't remember exactly), plus A Clutch of Constables, Final Curtain, Spinsters in Jepardy, Singing in the Shrouds.

And my very favourite (other than Light Thickens) is A Surfeit of Lampreys. But check all the titles - these are English / Australian ones.

Jesse - the book I was thinking of eariler was False Scent, another one set in the theatre.

Laurie Teireson - 11:54am Nov 23, 1999 PST(#96 of 99)


Jesse-- I think the book you are thinking of by Ngaio Marsh is Final Curtain. The killer uses something called "thallium acetate."

Susan Franke - 02:55pm Nov 27, 1999 PST(#97 of 99)

Does anyone have Ngaio Marsh Inspector Alleyn videos I could purchase? Thanks


PookyDragon - 02:57pm Apr 13, 2007 PST(#98 of 99)
Thwart. Thwart thwart thwart thwart thwart. Wow, say a word enough times and it really sounds silly.

Oh, poor neglected author/folder! I just stumbled across Ngaio Marsh's books in the local library during one of my 'randomization' sprees (I grab random books off the shelves and read them, regardless of who they're by or what they're about.)

I absolutely ADORE her work. Unfortunately our small library only has a few titles.

Aggie - 11:30am Apr 14, 2007 PST(#99 of 99)
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ee cummings

I remember years back when I had read all the library had of Christie I found Marsh. I like her and still have many of her books on my shelf.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Books & Authors  / List of Authors  / List of Authors M - O  / Marsh, Ngaio

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