Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ke-Ma)

Marsh, Ngaio

agatha alleyn detective background

(NZ 1899–1982)

Marsh went to art school and became an actress before turning to detective fiction in the 1930s. She was created a Dame for her contribution to the theatre, and her knowledge of that world informs several of her novels, such as Opening Night (1951) or Enter a Murderer (1935), in which theatrical intrigue plays as great a part as the murder mystery. Her detective Roderick Alleyn is a policeman with an aristocratic background, constantly surprising his potential suspects by his good breeding, erudition, and sensitivity (matched by the ability of his faithful sidekick, Inspector Fox, to charm the servants below stairs). Alleyn likes to share his deductive process with his cohorts, and thus with the reader. His romancing of and marriage to the painter Agatha Troy, which begins in Artists in Crime (1938), provides the opportunity for Marsh to use her artistic background. Several of her books, such as Colour Scheme (1943), are set in New Zealand.

Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey. See CRIME  KB

Mars-Jones, Adam [next] [back] Marryat, Captain (Frederick)

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