A touring theatre company in New Zealand forms the basis of one of Marsh's most ambitious and innovative novels. New Zealand theatrical manager Alfred Meyer wanted to celebrate his wife's birthday in style. The piece de resistance would be the jeroboam of champagne which would descend gently into a nest of fern and coloured lights on the table, set up on stage after the performance. But something went horribly wrong. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn witnessed it himself. Was Meyer's death the product of Maori superstitions? Or something much more down to earth?
'The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers' Times Literary Supplement 'The theatre detail is engrossing.' Margaret Lewis 'A far more ambitious novel than anything Marsh had attempted before.' American Journal of Popular Culture 'Her work is as nearly flawless as makes no odds. Character, plot, wit, good writing, and sound technique.' Sunday Times 'The finest writer in the English languange of the pure, classical puzzle whodunnit. Among the crime queens, Ngaio Marsh stands out as an Empress.' The Sun
Dame Ngaio Marsh was born in New Zealand in 1895 and died in February 1982. She wrote over 30 detective novels and many of her stories have theatrical settings, for Ngaio Marsh's real passion was the theatre. She was both actress and producer and almost single-handedly revived the New Zealand public's interest in the theatre. It was for this work that she received what she called her `damery' in 1966.