Dame Ngaio Marsh DBE (April 23, 1895 - February 18, 1982), born Edith Ngaio Marsh was an author and theatre director from New Zealand. There is some uncertainty over her birth date as her father neglected to register her birth until 1900, but she is believed to have been born in Christchurch on 23 April 1899. Marsh worked as an actress, theatrical producer and interior decorator before publishing her first novel, A Man Lay Dead, in 1934. This, and all subsequent novels, featured her series character Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn.
Alleyn's friend, Nigel, stood near the centre of the stage. He had moved forward towards the wings, when a voice warned him to look out. An instant later, Inspector Alleyn hurled himself at Nigel, driving him backwards and out of the way of a falling object.