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.
High in mountains stands the magnificent Saracen fortress, home of the mysterious Mr Oberon, leader of a coven of witches. It is not the historic castle, however, that intrigues Roderick Alleyn, on holiday with his family, but the suspicion that a huge drugs ring operates from within its ancient portals. But before the holiday is over, someone else has stumbled upon the secret. And Mr Oberon decides his strange and terrible rituals require a human sacrifice.