Dame Ngaio Marsh was born in New Zealand in 1895 and died in February 1982. She wrote over 30 detective novels and many of her stories have theatrical settings, for Ngaio Marsh's real passion was the theatre. She was both actress and producer and almost single-handed revived the New Zealand public's interest in the theatre. It was for this work that the received what she called her 'damery' in 1966.
Dame Marsh is best known for her golden age mystery novels featuring Scotland Yard detective Roderick Alleyn. This is a charming collection of Alleyn miscellany, including stories, essays, a television script, and an amusing letter to an unpublished author, most accompanied by brief but informative introductions. The book combines some of Marsh's best-known short stories with more unusual works and should appeal to both longtime fans and new listeners. As excellent as the text is, it is Nadia May's reading that makes this audiobook so exceptional; she has a beautifully clear and flexible reading voice, and her bell "bongs" resonate. There is both humor and compassion in her voice as she addresses the unpublished author. Television scripts are full of abrupt transitions and instructions. In this case, the stage cues, although read, are quickly forgotten in the enjoyment of the mystery. Previous audio collections have featured several of these stories, and while generally amusing, none reaches the standard set by this production. True excellence is rare. This combination of interesting and unusual story selections, a well-known "cozy" author, and an outstanding reader is recommended for all fiction collections.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.