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Colour Scheme [Paperback]

Ngaio Marsh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug 1969
From the author of VINTAGE MURDER, SURFEIT OF LAMPREYS and DEATH OF THE DANCING FOOTMAN, a novel featuring Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn who investigates the death of a man lured into boiling mud on New Zealand's North Island, and there are any number of people who could be the culprit.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fontana; New e. edition (Aug 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006120628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006120629
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,288,417 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

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Zealand Wartime Mystery 26 Dec 2009
By Ardee
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
5.0 out of 5 stars By no means a Pot-Boiler 27 Sep 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 7 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Usual well drawn characters and story from a gentler age in a .lovely country.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Marsh's best book 9 April 2014
By Aletheuon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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By Suchea
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved this one. Intriguing plot and interesting characters and a respectful insight into Maori culture, even though probably a rather old fashioned one. Death by hot spring. That's cooking!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy 11 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone who likes a good mystery and wants to add to their collection, I thoroughly recommend this book. I really enjoy reading it.
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