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.
It began as an entertainment: eight people, many of them enemies, gathered for a winter weekend as guests of a host with a love for theatre. Everybody had an alibi - and most a motive as well. But for Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn the case rested on the dancing footman.