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 was planned as an act of charity: a new piano for the parish hall, an amusing play to finance the gift. But its extension was doomed when Miss Campanula sat down to play. A chord was struck, a shot rang out and Miss was dead. A case of sinister infatuation for the brilliant Inspector Alleyn.