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.