If you like Agatha Christie…

You’ll love Ngaio Marsh.


Perhaps I’m preaching to the converted. If so, lucky you. I only discovered Ngaio Marsh this time last year, at a bookshop (Black Swan?) in Camden. I was a little sceptical – there are a number of Christie imitations that turn out to be worthless – but the cover looked fun so I thought, why not.

It took me a few months to get round to reading it, but once I did I was hooked. The detective, Inspector Alleyn, is a gentlemen originally, refined, attractive and very clever. His sidekick is Detective Fox, unusually just as intelligent as Alleyn, with a gruff and placid manner. The mysteries are in the classic style – a murder and a limited number of suspects – and they are just as good as Agatha Christie.

Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand national. Originally working in the theatre, she had the inspiration for Alleyn on a rainy afternoon in London and went onto write 32 novels between 1934 and 1982. 32! For someone that has devoured all the Agatha Christie’s and every so often has the pleasure of accidentally rereading a forgotten plot, this is brilliant news.

I shan’t tell you more. I don’t want to spoil it! Suffice to say, I am currently reading Ngaio Marsh as slowly as possible, with a number of gaps, in order to extend the joy as long as possible. If you do like Agatha Christie, I strongly recommend you give her a go.


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8 Responses »

  1. Ngaio Marsh is one of my favourite crime authors! I have read most of the Alleyn books. I particular like the ones which feature Troy. Have you read any Margery Allingham?


    • A couple, but not for a long time. After I have gone through Ngaio Marsh, I’m going to go back to her and then Dorothy L. Sayers. Regrettably whodunnits written now are just not the same, so I feel the need to eke them out!


  2. I fear I may have had a teeny crush on Lord Peter Wimsey as a teenager …


  3. Oh I love a gentle crime story – this sounds perfect.
    Have you tried Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear?
    PS I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it. We obviously have similar reading tastes 🙂


  4. Oh, I love both her and Dorothy L Sayers. And also Josephine Tey.
    Much prefer the Golden Age style detectives.


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