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Ngaio Marsh Locked Room Titles

Ngaio_MarshDame Ngaio Marsh DBE (1895 – 1982), born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966.

Internationally she is best known for her 32 detective novels published between 1934 and 1982. Along with Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Agatha Christie, she has been classed as one of the four original “Queens of Crime” – female writers who dominated the crime fiction genre in the Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s.

All her novels feature British CID detective Roderick Alleyn. Several novels also feature Marsh’s other loves, the theatre and painting. A number are set around theatrical productions (Enter a Murderer, Vintage Murder, Overture to Death, Opening Night, Death at the Dolphin, and Light Thickens), and two others are about actors off stage (Final Curtain and False Scent). Her short story ‘I Can Find My Way Out’ is also set around a theatrical production, the scene of the earlier ‘Jupiter Case’ referred to in Opening Night. Alleyn marries a painter, Agatha Troy, whom he meets during an investigation (Artists in Crime), and who features in several later novels.

Most of the novels are set in England, but four are set in New Zealand, with Alleyn either on secondment to the New Zealand police (Colour Scheme and Died in the Wool), or on holiday (Vintage Murder and Photo Finish); Surfeit of Lampreys begins in New Zealand but continues in London.

(Source: edited from Wikipedia)

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Ngaio Marsh Locked Room Novels

Off His HeadOff With His Head (1952)
(AKA: Death of A Fool)
Roderick Alleyn Series


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Note: A man is beheaded on stage in the middle of a play!

The village of South Mardian always observes the winter solstice with an ancient, mystical sword dance, complete with costumed performers. But for one of them, the excitement proves too heady, and his decapitation turns the fertility rite into a pageant of death. Now Inspector Roderick Alleyn must penetrate not only the mysteries of folklore, but the secrets and sins of an eccentric group which includes a surly blacksmith, a domineering dowager, and a not-so-simple village idiot. 

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Dancinf FootmanDeath and The Dancing Footman (1950)
Roderick Alleyn Series



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Note: A classic snowbound country murder!

A winter weekend ends in snowbound disaster. It begins as an entertainment: eight people, many of them adversaries, gathered for a winter weekend by a host with a love for theatre. Everyone has an alibi – and a motive as well. But Roderick Alleyn soon realizes that it all hangs on Thomas, the dancing footman.

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Opening NightOpening Night (1951)
(AKA: Night at The Vulcan)
Roderick Alleyn Series


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Note: Ngaio Marsh is always at her best in the theatrical world!

One of Marsh’s best theatrical mysteries. An actor is murdered backstage on the opening night of a new play in London. The play is being performed at the Vulcan Theatre; formerly known as the Jupiter Theatre, but renamed after an infamous murder recounted in the Alleyn short story ‘I Can Find My Way Out’.

Martyn Tarne, a young and inexperienced actress from New Zealand, finds herself involved in a play where her own heredity plays a significant role. She is only the understudy for a minor role, but Martyn is quickly caught up in events when Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to investigate a murder made to appear a suicide.

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Ngaio Marsh Locked Room Short Stories: 

Death on AirI Can Find My Way Out (1946)
Roderick Alleyn Series
Collection: Death On The Air and Other Stories


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Note: The back story for ‘Opening Night’

An actor is gassed to death in his dressing room. How was the gas pumped into the sealed room? The original case at the Jupiter Theatre referred to in Opening Night.

Contents of ‘Death On The Air’ in link below:

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