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.
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.