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Colour Scheme Paperback – 1 Aug 1969

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; New edition edition (1 Aug. 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006120628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006120629
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,176,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 the received what she called her 'damery' in 1966.

Product Description

Review

‘The brilliant Ngaio Marsh ranks with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers’
Times Literary Supplement

‘The queen of the straight crime novel – long may she reign!’
Sunday Times

‘The brilliant New Zealander Ngaio Marsh claims a high level as to sheer writing and still more as a view of humanity.’
Elizabeth Bowen

‘Nobody begins to touch Ngaio Marsh’s skill at creating corpses and suspects… her dialogue is a continuous delight.’
New York Herald Tribune

‘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

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

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.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ardee on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Colour Scheme by Ngaio Marsh is, on the surface, a murder mystery, written and set during World War II. However, If you come to it expecting, as I did, an Agatha Christie clone, you will be very pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Christie as much as the next person, however many of her books are overly simplistic when it comes to characterization, instead relying too heavily on plot and coincidence. Ngaio Marsh does not seem to follow this path.

Set in Wartime New Zealand, in a mud spa/hotel run by an enthusiastic, but largely incompetent middle class British family, and the surrounding Maori lands, almost the entire book relates to the relationships between the family, the local people and the eclectic group of guests staying at the resort. While there is a great deal of class warfare going on that is not too pleasant to read, Marsh does not seem to suffer from the vitriolic fear and suspicion of strangers that Christie does. In a book which considers the impact of western culture on the Maoris, written at a similar time to many of Christie's works, this was very refreshing.

I don't want to give you the wrong impression of this book, as if it were a political treatise, rather than a cosy murder mystery, as a cosy murder mystery is exactly what it is - just a very good one. I won't go into the details of the plot anymore, save to say that there are many red herrings, and many very good clues, that really do make you think you could work out the mystery yourself.

It's too late for me to go back to this book and try and puzzle out whodunit ('cos I know!) but I am certainly going to get another Ngaio Marsh on my reading list, read it with care, and, hopefully, solve the crime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lacey Green on 27 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent read. Set in WW2, it requires close attention to the time, setting and language and is well worth the effort. It's one of most horrid murder mysteries I have ever read, the crime seeming sly, vengeful and cruel. When each of the very different characters has a life-view that clashes with most of the others', you'd expect catastrophe, wouldn't you? I've never been to New Zealand, but I feel as if I had, so vividly realized is the setting, and so well dramatized the 'players'. Ngaio Marsh always gets her characters' idiolects just right, so that if you read the book aloud you can believe you're there with them at the hot springs, waiting for disaster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in New Zealand during World War II this is very much a crime novel of its time. Hot springs are a good place to stay to relieve muscular aches and pains and an ill assorted group of people gather in an out of the way spa to try and ease their chronic problems.

But there is evil afoot and whispers of fifth columnists operating in the area and sending signals to the enemy. Then there's the obnoxious Mr Questing who has some sort of hold over the owner of the spa. When Questing disappears almost anyone could have had means motive and opportunity.

This is an interesting crime novel with plenty of clues for the observant reader. With Roderick Alleyn loosely disguised this is a book which would puzzle any reader not familiar with the series. For those who have read other books by this author he is easy to spot.

I enjoyed the story and thought the plot was well constructed but I found I kept losing track of who was who. Maybe I was in the wrong mood for the book. It is an enjoyable read for Ngaio Marsh fans but it would not be the best book to start with if you are new to her books.
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By Aletheuon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Colour Scheme, published in 1943, is Ngaio Marsh's twelfth Roderick Alleyn novel and she regarded it as her very best. It is set in New Zealand during World War II and creates a wonderful sense of place. This, and the next book in the series, 'Died in the Wool', are both about counter-espionage in New Zealand.
The authorities suspect Nazi activity at a hot springs resort on the coast of New Zealand's North Island. Alleyn is working for military intelligence and is involved in counter-espionage. A gruesome murder takes place - Maurice Questing is lured into a pool of boiling mud and left there to die - which may or may not involve spies. Much of the book's action takes place with no mention of Alleyn and only at the end of the book is the reason revealed. The very unpleasant Questing had many enemies, including the Claire family(from whom he is trying to take the spa), English expats, Maoris and spies whom he had thwarted. He could even be a spy himself...
Ngaio Marsh was brilliant both at creating character and at creating a sense of place. Her deep love of New Zealand is very evident in this novel, as in her two other novels set in her native country. The spa on North Island, run by the Claire family, is built around antipodean natural hot mud pools and is close to a Maori village. Its leader is an aged, retired Member of Parliament; he is an attractive character whose relationship with the Claire family sheds light on their characters.
Tightly plotted, witty, moving at a good pace, this is a very good book. In some ways, it is quite dark, but as always in Marsh's books, it is redeemed by her lively wit and marvellous ability to create lively and fascinating characters.
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