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Ngaio Marsh Books In Order

Publication Order of Roderick Alleyn Books

A Man Lay Dead (1934) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Enter a Murderer (1935) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Nursing Home Murder (1935) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death in Ecstasy (1936) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Vintage Murder (1937) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Artists in Crime (1938) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death in a White Tie (1938) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Overture to Death (1939) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death at the Bar (1940) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death of a Peer (1940) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death and the Dancing Footman (1941) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Colour Scheme (1943) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Died in the Wool (1944) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Final Curtain (1947) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Wreath for Rivera (1949) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Night at the Vulcan (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Spinsters in Jeopardy (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Scales of Justice (1955) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death of a Fool (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Singing in the Shrouds (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
False Scent (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hand in Glove (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Water (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Killer Dolphin (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Clutch of Constables (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
When in Rome (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Tied Up in Tinsel (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Black As He's Painted (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Ditch (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Grave Mistake (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Photo Finish (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Light Thickens (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Collection Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death on the Air and Other Stories (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

New Zealand (1942) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Play Toward: A Note on Play Production (1946) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
New Zealand: A Nation's Today Book (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Black Beech and Honeydew (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Edith Ngaio Marsh was born in Christchurch, New Zealand on 23rd in the month of April the year 1895. Although that date was the one registered as the date of birth, there has always been some uncertainties due to the fact that her father neglected to register her birth until the year 1900. During her lifetime, her main occupation was writing. Most of the books she wrote were about issues of crime. She also got a chance to serve as a theatre director. She was also an actress and at the same time an artist.

At the age of seven years, Marsh parent’s moved to Valley Road, Cashmere, where her father had built a house. This is where she was expected to spend the rest of her life. Her school life started at a dame school which was by then run by Sibella E. Ross. Later in the year 1910, she was enrolled at St Margaret’s College. This was a private Anglican girls’ school with a decided Anglo-Catholic bias. There she only stayed for three years, active in dramatic and literary pursuits. In the year 1913, her play “The moon princess” was performed. The funny thing about the play was that her mother took the part of the witch. The play was described by the Christchurch press as “A Clever Little Play”.

In the same year, Marsh went to Canterbury College School of Art where she was learning as a part time student, as she was adding on her income with private tutoring. At this school is where she met Olivia Spencer Bower and Evelyn Polson, who later became her long-term friend. With her fellow students who had interest in innovative artistic approaches and styles, they used to share a studio in Cashel Street. Though the college’s orientation were majorly formal and academic, she was receiving encouragement from one of her teachers, Richard Wallwork and his pretty wife, Elizabeth. She was able to make friendships with the Rhodes family of Meadowbank sheep station and Acland family of Mount Peel Sheep station. The friendships were very crucial to her and due to this, she kept the association throughout her life.

Most of Marsh books, poems and articles were published by Christchurch sun. Between the year 1919 and 1920, Wilkie who was by then the head of the Shakespeare Company, invited her to join the company as they were in a tour of New Zealand.

As an artist, Marsh really adored painting. In the year 1927, she took part in the exhibition by the Group that was organized to differ from conservative hanging policy of the Canterbury College School. As much as she continued with her painting in her entire life, she gave up with her ambitions step by step.

In the year 1928, Marsh travelled to England and her journey was recorded under her pseudonym, “A New Canterbury Pilgrim”, in a series of articles which made appearances in the Christchurch press. They were also syndicated to other newspapers. In England, she stayed with the Rhodes family who lived in Buckinghamshire, London. Marsh and Nellie Rhodes were able to establish an interior decorating shop in Knightsbridge which they named “Touch and Go”. She stayed in England for five years and when back to New Zealand due to her mother’s illness. Her mother Rose Marsh died in the same year.

Among all the prominent ladies of the English mystery golden age, including Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L. Sayers, Marsh was the only one able to survive to write and publish her books until 1980s. For a duration of fifty years, that is, between 1932 and 1982, Marsh managed to write thirty two detective novels.

Marsh was awarded an honorary degree in literature in the year 1962 from the University of Canterbury. Four years later, she was made the Dame Commander of the British Empire. Surprisingly, Marsh never got married and she died on 18th February the year 1982 at her home in Valley Road at the age of 86.

Marsh Books in Series

1. Death and the Dancing Footman

Everyone has his or her secret fear that not even his closest friend have an idea of. Boredom of Jonathan Royal’s private hell. He had a large estate and a fine house though he was elderly, unmarried and most importantly bored. His interest was to support the surrealist plays and this made him establish the reputation of a young poetic dramatist, Aubrey Mandrake.

He explained to Aubrey his latest idea of inviting seven friends who he knew had hatred to one another. This simply means that not everyone hated every person in this group, but at the same time no one was in good terms with every member in the group except Aubrey, who knew that no one among them would be an ‘outsider’, so to speak.

The seven friend were to come the following day and spend the weekend at Jonathan’s place. None of them knew that others will be present and once they assemble, separation would be difficult. They would have to be indoor, remote from other diversions as the winter was severe. Jonathan would assiduously keep the party in being as he blandly act as host.

The fun was to watch their reaction and see how they would settle down their communal isolation which might give Aubrey an idea for a play, though it would be a play itself. The play was to entail someone coming down of a murderer on the miserable exit. But the last act was to be written by Inspector Alleyn who was invited to unravel the plot.

2. Artist in crime

Planning a murder can sometimes have a macabre pleasure when you go into details on how a victim can be killed beyond any possible doubt. It more amusing when it is proven theoretically that such a violent deed can have perpetration without finding a criminal. At the Agatha Troy’s studio, I group of art students gathered discussing how a model would be murdered by the simple expedient. This entails placing her in a pose that she would be stabbed quickly, and one might even say unobtrusively.

What takes way such an enjoyment is the fact that the foolproof murder remains a simple idea unless you are well prepared to run grave risks. Due to this case, someone got the idea that was wanted. The person decided that the best idea of killing Sonia Gluck who was a model, beautiful and provoking to live with, was this. Whoever did the murder plan would not actively carry it out. Just with a little judicious manipulation, the unfortunate third party and the “props” will do the rest.

This is what develops and this make inspector Alleyn to have a neat and complex problem. The students themselves further complicates the mystery as they tend to exploit this dramatic situation to indulge in histrionics which are baffling and amusing.

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