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.
The victim was a deeply religious initiate who had trained for a month for her last ceremony. She was also a very beautiful woman. But Cara Quayne had provoked lust, jealousy - and murder. Roderick Alleyn suspected that more evil still lurked behind the Sign of the Sacred Flame.