Ngaio Marsh: New Zealand's Mistress of the Macabre on AbeBooks: Ngaio (pronounced NIGH-oh) Marsh was a woman ahead of her time. Born Edith Ngaio Marsh in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1895, she displayed a fervent love of the arts. She was gifted and passionate with a paintbrush, and intended for sometime to become a professional artist. She also had talent for acting, writing and the theater from early childhood. In fact, at St. Margaret's College, a school in Christchurch she attended from age 15-18, the school put on a production of The Moon Princess, a play Marsh wrote.
Marsh moved to England in her early thirties and had a brief flirtation with interior decorating, but the itch for the arts wouldn't let go. When she moved to New Zealand, her first novel followed soon after - A Man Lay Dead was published in 1934. It was the first step in a long and illustrious career that left Marsh holding her own among the finest mystery writers of all-time, often mentioned in the same breath as fellow female mystery greats such as Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell and Dorothy L. Sayers.