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Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand crime author and theatre director. She wrote 32 classic English detective novels between 1934 and 1982, featuring her main character, Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Marsh is known as one of the "Queens of Crime," along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Margery Allingham.

These four female writers dominated the crime fiction genre during the Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s.

Dame Ngaio Marsh, born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. Marsh lived in Christchurch for most of her life but also spent some time in other parts of the country, including Auckland and Wellington.

Her home in Cashmere, a suburb of Christchurch, is now preserved as a museum.

Ngaio Marsh attended Christchurch Girls' High School and later studied art at the Canterbury College School of Art. She then trained as a teacher at Christchurch Training College.

Marsh moved to England for a short period in the late 1920s, where she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Throughout his life, Marsh's great passion was the theater. After completing her studies, she returned to New Zealand.

Ngaio Marsh's debut novel, A Man Lay Dead, was published in 1934. The book introduced the detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn: a combination of Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey and a realistically depicted police official at work. She wrote A Man Lay Dead in London in 1931–32. The first novel was well-received by critics and helped establish Marsh as a renowned crime writer.

Inspector Roderick Alleyn appeared in most of her subsequent novels, which gained international acclaim. Alleyn marries a painter, Agatha Troy, whom he meets during an investigation (Artists in Crime), and she features in several later novels.

Throughout the 1930s, Marsh painted occasionally, wrote plays for local repertory societies in New Zealand, and published detective novels.

Several novels are set around theatrical productions (Enter a Murderer (1935), Vintage Murder (1937), Overture to Death (1939), Opening Night (1951), Death at the Dolphin (1966), and Light Thickens (1982)), and two others are about actors off stage (Final Curtain (1947) and False Scent (1959)).

In 1966 Ngaio Marsh became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Marsh also was one of the founders of the Detection Club, an organization of British mystery writers.

Ngaio Marsh passed in Christchurch. She was buried at the Church of the Holy Innocents, Mount Peel.

Her novel Money in the Morgue (2018) was published posthumously, and completed by Stella Duffy.
years of life: 23 April 1895 18 February 1982

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    Enter a Murderer
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    Died in the Wool
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