Monday, June 23, 2008

The Queen of Crime

Ngaio Marsh richly deserves her title as the Queen of Crime, and although I've always been aware of her importance in New Zealand literature, I've only recently discovered how valued she is overseas. Dare I say, even more so than at home?

There have been some interesting discussions on book covers over at Detectives Beyond Borders recently in which Ngaio Marsh's name featured. Blogging leads to more blogging and thus this on a blog called Chocolate Cobwebs, titled Ngaio Marsh Cover Story.

I've been growing my own personal collection of Ngaio Marsh books and have had great fun in the local second hand bookstores sourcing them. They have been reprinted so many times, and several editions are often side by side, so you can take your pick based on how cool the cover is. Some are fantastic, some awful. My favourites tend to the more simple such as the 1950's hardback book club versions. My Scales of Justice is very simple, but appealing with its olivey green background and drawing of a fish. I have an awful looking A Man Lay Dead with the cover being a picture of the BBC drama actors - urgh.

My ultimate aim is to have a copy of each of her books, and to actually read them all. That could take a while - the acquiring and the reading. I should mention I have no qualms about ditching an uglier version for anything a bit more stylish.

A new biography of Ngaio Marsh is due out in September Ngaio Marsh: Her Life of Crime by Dr Joanne Drayton, published by Harper Collins. I look forward to it. I couldn't find a cover image to post here of the new book - I hope it's a good one.

1 comment:

Chocolate Cobwebs said...

I haven't read a Ngaio Marsh biography yet, so I'll be on the lookout for the Joanne Dryton title. Ngaio Marsh is only a relatively recent "discovery" of mine, and I haven't managed to find or read anything biographical.

I too look for the coolest cover when choosing a particular Marsh title - there are so many editions, you can afford to be choosy! I've noticed I always tend to gravitate towards the older editions, and like you I'm happy to replace a title in my collection if I find a better cover than the one I already have...