26 September 2008

Forgotten Books - WHEN IN ROME, Ngaio Marsh

Another contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books theme.

A select group of Companion Book Club books sit on my shelves and pre-date my "little green record book" that begins in 1975. These books all have my name and 1972 on the flyleaf. They are bound in heavy cardboard and paper made to look like leather with gold bossing, and they have coloured edges to the leaves. This one is pink.

The following comes from Fantastic Fiction:
Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of New Zealand's most remarkable and charismatic women, was world-renowned as a leading crime fiction writer and as an eminent Shakespearian producer.
From her first book in 1934 to her final volume just before her death in 1982, Ngaio Marsh's work has remained legendary, consistently compared to that of Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers. During her celebrated fifty-year career, Marsh was made a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, won numerous prestigious awards and penned 32 mystery novels.

WHEN IN ROME is #26 from her Rodderick Alleyn series;
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...

My feeling was that Ngaaio Marsh was never really as good as Agatha Christie, but I certainly read a lot of them. These days I tend to think that perhaps they have dated a bit, but then New Zealand author Vanda Symon told me recently that she has set herself a challenge to read them all.

1 comment:

Vanda Symon said...

And I'll make it official on my blog soon http://www.vandasymon.blogspot.com

I haven't read any Agatha Christie (I know, I know) so I can't lay a comparison between the two writers. I'll have to read some of her works now - as if I haven't got enough to read. Although I think I've got the better end of the challenge deal with only having 32 novels to read compared to your 100 plus Agatha Christies!


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