I love Ngaio Marsh. One of the Four Queens of Mystery, along with Agatha Christie, Margaret Allingham and Dorothy L. Sayers, Marsh was born in New Zealand on 23 April 1895. She grew up in Christchurch and studied art, before joining a theatrical arts company. From 1928 she spent about half her time in Britain. The first of the novels featuring Roderick ‘Handsome’ Alleyn was published in 1934. The Alleyn books quickly became a hit. Aristocratic-born Alleyn was one of a new type of detectives, intellectual, debonair, able to crossover between the worlds of extreme wealth and poverty. With his sidekick ‘Brer’ Fox and his Bohemian wife, Agatha ‘Troy’ Alleyn, the inspector is an attractive character and Marsh’s skill lies as much in her intricate plots as in her ability to create fast dialogue and a great sense of time and place. She’s just brilliant!

Marsh was made a ‘Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in 1966.


Her books include: Overture to Death; Tied Up in Tinsel

Also of interest: Masterly Ngaio Marsh on The Literary Shed’s Pinterest board

See also: Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, Margaret Allingham, Doroth L. Sayers, Lucy Worsley