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Ngaio Marsh was a crime fiction author from New Zealand who also dabbled in theater. To many critics, she was one of the greatest mystery writers of her time, on par with the likes of Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham, not to mention Dorothy L. Sayers.
Order of Roderick Alleyn Series
|1||A Man Lay Dead||1934||Description / Buy|
|2||Enter a Murderer||1935||Description / Buy|
|3||The Nursing Home Murder||1935||Description / Buy|
|4||Death in Ecstasy||1936||Description / Buy|
|5||Vintage Murder||1937||Description / Buy|
|6||Artists in Crime||1938||Description / Buy|
|7||Death in a White Tie||1938||Description / Buy|
|8||Overture to Death||1939||Description / Buy|
|9||Death at the Bar||1940||Description / Buy|
|10||Death of a Peer / Surfeit of Lampreys||1940||Description / Buy|
|11||Death and the Dancing Footman||1941||Description / Buy|
|12||Colour Scheme||1943||Description / Buy|
|13||Died in the Wool||1945||Description / Buy|
|14||Final Curtain||1947||Description / Buy|
|15||A Wreath for Rivera / Swing, Brother, Swing||1949||Description / Buy|
|16||Night at the Vulcan / Opening Night||1951||Description / Buy|
|17||Spinsters In Jeopardy / The Bride of Death||1953||Description / Buy|
|18||Scales of Justice||1955||Description / Buy|
|19||Death of a Fool / Off With His Head||1956||Description / Buy|
|20||Singing in the Shrouds||1958||Description / Buy|
|21||False Scent||1959||Description / Buy|
|22||Hand in Glove||1962||Description / Buy|
|23||Dead Water||1963||Description / Buy|
|24||Killer Dolphin / Death at the Dolphin||1966||Description / Buy|
|25||Clutch of Constables||1968||Description / Buy|
|26||When in Rome||1970||Description / Buy|
|27||Tied Up in Tinsel||1971||Description / Buy|
|28||Black As He's Painted||1973||Description / Buy|
|29||Last Ditch||1976||Description / Buy|
|30||A Grave Mistake||1978||Description / Buy|
|31||Photo Finish||1980||Description / Buy|
|32||Light Thickens||1982||Description / Buy|
|33||Alleyn and Others / The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh||1989||Description / Buy|
|34||Still Unsolved||1990||Description / Buy|
|35||Money in the Morgue||2018||Description / Buy|
Order of Ngaio Marsh Short Story Collections
|1||Alleyn and Others / The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh||1989||Description / Buy|
|2||Death on the Air and Other Stories||1995||Description / Buy|
Order of Ngaio Marsh Non-Fiction Books
|1||Black Beech and Honeydew||1965||Description / Buy|
|2||New Zealand||1989||Description / Buy|
Ngaio Marsh Anthologies
|1||Verdict of Thirteen||1979||Description / Buy|
|2||Chapter and Hearse||1985||Description / Buy|
|3||Death Locked In||1987||Description / Buy|
|4||English Country House Murders||1988||Description / Buy|
|5||Fifty Best Mysteries||1993||Description / Buy|
|6||Murder Takes a Holiday: Classic Crime Stories for Summer||2021||Description / Buy|
|7||Bodies from the Library 4||2022||Description / Buy|
To her biggest fans, she even exceeded Christie in many ways. Not only was her writing better but she was more mature and cultured. And she brought that sophistication to the novels she wrote. Born in 1895 in Christchurch, New Zealand, no one knows for certain how old Marsh was when she died.
Her age was always a mystery because her father, Bank Clerk Henry Marsh, only registered her in 1900, sometime after her birth. The date of her birth that has been recorded is an estimate. Some people believe that she was born in 1899.
The only child of Rose and Henry, Marsh’s parents were active readers. They also loved to act, though they never pursued the field professionally. One of the very first students to enroll at St. Margaret’s College (Christchurch), the author had a passion for art.
She eventually went to the Canterbury College in New Zealand where she studied painting. It was during her days in art school that she wrote a play that secured her a place with a touring company (Rosemary Rees). Her work with the theater allowed her to travel. She went so far as to tour Australia.
But her passion for art never waned which is why she eventually joined an art association in Christchurch (The Group), using their platform to exhibit her work in the years that followed. The author’s path to publishing success was not straightforward.
Besides touring with a repertory company, she also worked as an interior decorator. Certain opportunities allowed her to spend time in London as a party-giver. Finally, after writing a few short stores and making contributions to magazines, an encounter with a Sayers story compelled Ngaio Marsh to try her hand at writing.
Despite coming up in the so-called Golden age of crime fiction, Marsh still managed to make a name for herself with Roderick Alleyn, her most prolific creation. Like some of the other English detectives of the time, Alleyn appealed to readers because of his charm, practicality, and intelligence. But he also stood out because of his down to earth persona.
Ngaio Marsh became a dame in 1966. She never married and neither did she have children. Some people speculated that she was a lesbian because she preferred the close company of women but she refuted these claims. Marsh died in 1982 at the age of 86.
Ngaio Marsh Awards
She received an Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination in 1973. She also received the Grand Master Award (Lifetime Achievement) in 1978 as well as an honorary doctorate (University of Canterbury).
Ngaio Marsh Books into Movies/TV
‘Death in Ecstasy’ and ‘Artists in Crime’ were turned into TV episodes in the 1960s. Four other novels were adapted for TV in New Zealand. The entire project was called ‘Ngaio Marsh Theater’.
‘The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries’ was a BBC detective show that premiered in 1993. It adapted nine more Marsh novels.
Best Ngaio Marsh Books
Marsh partially imputed her success to the fact that she wrote what she knew; this prevented her from having to do copious amounts of research. Some of the best books in her bibliography include:
A Man Lay Dead: The handsome but mysterious Charles Rankin is dead but this isn’t part of the game. The people who congregated for Sir Hubert Handesley’s Country House Party were playing the game of ‘Murder’. But when the lights came on, Rankin was well and truly dead. Now it is up to Inspector Roderick Alleyn from Scotland Yard to get to the bottom of the matter. He must collect alibis and make sense of the intricate puzzle that has been placed before him.
Death in a White Tie: It is the season for debutantes and chaperons to plan their balls, dinners, and luncheons. Everyone is looking forward to the party Sir Herbert and Lady Evelyn Carrados are planning throw for Evelyn’s daughter. However, Alleyn has other matters on his mind. There is a blackmailer on the loose, one who can mix with society’s most glamorous members with ease. Alleyn needs Lord Robert Gospell’s help to catch him.
When Does The Next Ngaio Marsh book come out?
Ngaio Marsh doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Money in the Morgue and was released on November, 7th 2018. It is the newest book in the Roderick Alleyn Series.