Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand crime writer known as one of the four “Queens of Crime” along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham. Between the years of 1934 and 1982, Marsh published 32 detective novels, all featuring her greatest creation—the British CID detective Roderick Alleyn.  Inspired to write novels for the first time in 1931 after reading a Dorothy L Sayers mystery, Inspector Alleyn was introduced to readers in 1934—a suave and scholarly hero who was more down-to-earth and practical than Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey. As the decades saw detective stories leave their golden age and become something altogether grittier, Marsh’s Alleyn novels were unchanging in tone; she described her style as “in the line of the original detective story, where a crime is solved calmly”. This somewhat obscures the humour and lightness-of-touch Marsh applied to her stories, which often feature high society settings. The theatre and art world provide the backdrop for many of Marsh’s novels too, which are influenced by her own experiences studying painting and producing theatre in New Zealand. As well as the Alleyn stories, Marsh wrote five plays, numerous short stories, non-fiction books and articles, and even a handful of songs. Marsh spent much of her life in Britain and was appointed a Dame in 1966 for services to the arts.