Ngaio Marsh returns to her New Zealand roots to transplant the classic country house murder mystery to an upland sheep station on South Island - and produces one of her most exotic and intriguing novels. One summer evening in 1942, Flossie Rubrick, MP, one of the most formidable women in New Zealand, goes to her husband’s wool shed to rehearse a patriotic speech - and disappears.
"Don't miss this one"
A country house murder, artistic insight and the postwar reunion of Alleyn and Troy combine in Ngaio Marsh’s wittiest and most readable novel. Agatha Troy, world-famous portrait painter, is inveigled into accepting a commission to paint the 70-year-old Sir Henry Ancred, Bart., the Grand Old Man of the stage. But just as she has completed her portrait, the old actor dies.
"Classic crime - well done!"
A classic Ngaio Marsh novel which features blood-curdling murders in the confines of a riverboat, the Zodiac, cruising through Constable country. 'He looks upon the murders that he did in fact perform as tiresome and regrettable necessities', reflected Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn on the international crook known as 'the Jampot'.
The poison was cyanide, slipped into the sacred wine of ecstasy just before it was presented to Miss Cara Quayne at the House of the Sacred Flame. The victim was a deeply religious initiate who had trained for a month for her last ceremony. She was also a very beautiful woman.... The suspects were the other initiates and the high priest. All claimed they were above earthly passions. But Cara Quayne had provoked lust, jealousy - and murder.
The crime scene was the stage of the Unicorn Theatre, when a prop gun fired a very real bullet; the victim was an actor clawing his way to stardom using bribery instead of talent; and the suspects included two unwilling girlfriends and several relieved blackmail victims. The stage is set for one of Roderick Alleyn's most baffling cases.
The luxury mansion on New Zealand's Lake Waihoe was the ideal place for the world-famous soprano to rest after her triumphant tour. Chief Superintendent Alleyn and his wife were among the houseguests - but theirs was not a social visit. When tragedy struck, the peace of the island was shattered. With a houseful of suspects now isolated by one of the lake's sudden storms, Alleyn was to face one of his trickiest cases....
A touring theatre company in New Zealand forms the basis of one of Marsh’s most ambitious and innovative novels. New Zealand theatrical manager Alfred Meyer wanted to celebrate his wife’s birthday in style. The piece de résistance would be the jeroboam of champagne which would descend gently into a nest of fern and coloured lights on the table, set up on stage after the performance. But something went horribly wrong. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn witnessed it himself.
"Great Imagery of New Zealand"
In a poisonous cloud of spray, the curtain falls on a drama queen. Little did beloved British actress Mary Bellamy know that she would be done in at her own birthday party - choked by toxic mist from the bottle of Slaypest, a deadly insecticide. Basking in the glow of her most adoring fans - who all happened to be her most duplicitous enemies - Mary would make her final performance.
Murder, blackmail and drug dealing on the Tiber combine in one of Ngaio Marsh’s liveliest and most evocative novels. When their guide disappears mysteriously in the depths of a Roman basilica, the members of Mr. Sebastian Mailer’s tour group seem strangely unperturbed. But when a body is discovered in an Etruscan sarcophagus, Superintendent Alleyn, in Rome incognito on the trail of an international drug racket, is very much concerned.
"Can't go wrong with Ngaio Marsh"
Here are a dozen stories to delight all Wodehouse addicts.... A crooning tenor is attempting to captivate the affections of the Rev. Rupert Bingham’s fiancée; Lord Emsworth is striving to remove a pumpkin-shaped blot on the family escutcheon; the Hon. Freddie Threepwood is making a last-ditch attempt to convert Lady Alcester to the beneficial quality of Donaldson’s Dog-Joy; and in the bar-parlor of the Anglers’ Rest, Mr. Mulliner fascinates everyone with the secret history of old Hollywood.
"12 Great Stories...and 6 Back Stories"
A winter weekend ends in snowbound disaster in a novel which remains a favourite among Marsh readers. It began as an entertainment: eight people, many of them enemies, gathered for a winter weekend by a host with a love for theatre. They would be the characters in a drama that he would devise. It ended in snowbound disaster. Everyone had an alibi - and most had motives as well. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn, when he finally arrived, knew it all hung on Thomas, the dancing footman....
"NOT PHILIP FRANKS READING!!!"
The elderly Emily Pride is perfectly pleased to have inherited an island, even if her starchy pragmatism is ever so faintly appalled by the Pixie Falls spring and its reported miraculous healing properties. But really, the locals' attempts to capitalize on the 'miracles' are entirely too tacky - Ye Olde Gift Shoppe, the neon signs…not on Miss Emily’s watch, thank you.
"Murder in the Highlands"
A body in the back of a taxi begins an elegantly constructed mystery, perhaps the finest of Marsh’s 1930s novels. The season had begun. Débutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend, Lord Robert Gospell, at the scene. But someone else got there first....
"Terrible sound quality ruins the experience"
The restoration of a bombed-out London theatre ends in violent death - and one of Marsh’s most vivid and dramatic novels. When the bombed-out Dolphin Theatre is given to Peregrine Jay by a mysterious wealthy patron, he is overjoyed. And when the mysterious oil millionaire also gives him a glove that belonged to Shakespeare, Peregrine displays it in the dockside theatre and writes a successful play about it.
Lord Pastern fired his revolver. The figure in the spotlight fell, and the coup-de-theatre had become murder. Could Inspector Alleyn believe Pastern had let hatred of his future son-in-law go too far? Or would the tangle of jealousies and blackmail among the guests reveal another murderer?
"I love this author and narrator."
On a cold February night, the police find the third corpse on the quayside in the Pool of London, her body covered with flower petals and pearls. The killer walked away singing. When the cargo ship Cape Farewell sets sail, she carries nine passengers, one of whom is known to be the murderer. Which is why Superintendent Roderick Alleyn joins the ship at Portsmouth on the most difficult assignment of his professional career....
When Cakes and Ale was first published in 1930 it roused a storm of controversy, since many people imagined they recognised portraits of literary figures now no more. It is the novel for which Maugham wished to be remembered.
"A classic worth reading"
A classic Ngaio Marsh novel in which a game of darts in an English pub has gruesome consequences. At the Plume of Feathers in south Devon one midsummer evening, eight people are gathered together in the taproom. They are in the habit of playing darts, but on this occasion an experiment takes the place of the usual game - a fatal experiment which calls for investigation.
Dreams of stardom had lured Martyn Tarne from faraway New Zealand to make the dreary, soul-destroying round of West End agents and managers in search of work. The Vulcan Theatre had been her last forlorn hope, and now, driven by sheer necessity, she was glad to accept the humble job of dresser to its leading lady. And then came the eagerly awaited opening night.
"Intensely written, performed and enjoyed"
Christmastime in an isolated country house and, following a flaming row in the kitchen, there’s murder inside. When a much disliked visiting servant disappears without trace after playing Santa Claus, foul play is at once suspected - and foul play it proves to be. Only suspicion falls not on the staff but on the guests, all so unimpeachably respectable that the very thought of murder in connection with any of them seems almost heresy.