If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Colour Scheme by Ngaio Marsh: A Review by Warren Bull

Colour Scheme by Ngaio Marsh: A Review by Warren Bull

Colour Scheme was published in 1943 and it is set against the background of New Zealand at war. It begins with members of the Claire family who run a spa, which makes use of the natural hot springs in the area. The family members work very hard but not very well at their enterprise. Colonel Edward Claire and his wife Barbara are the proprietors. They are nice, if somewhat vague. people. Early in their residence in the area Barbara nursed Rua Te Kahu, a chief of the Te Rurawas Maori, back to health after a serious illness. They have been trusted and esteemed by their Maori neighbors ever since. Simon is the couple’s son who has been known to spout off a socialist brand of political talk. Barbara, their daughter lacks sophistication. She is rather shy and, when trying to fit in with people her age, she becomes a bit too loud.  Dr. James Ackrington is Barbara’s uncle. He is a permanent resident, curmudgeon and critic of all he surveys.

Maurice Questing is not part of the family, but he resides at the Spa. He has a real talent for angering the doctor. The other Claires are intimidated by him. Huia is a Maori maid likely to burst into tears or otherwise demonstrate her emotions. Robert Smith is a roustabout who does as little as possible with the exception of complaining.

Into this group come Geoffrey Gaunt, actor and celebrity, with his secretary, Dikon Bell and his servant, Alfred Colley. The mix of personalities is a clever and interesting part of the novel. Having been in New Zealand, I could easily envision the setting, which is well described. I am not certain how her portrayal of Maoris would be seen by today’s New Zealanders, but for the time it was written in it is respectful.

Marsh did not get into the major mystery for most of the book, which, as a reader, I was perfectly content with because of the quality of her writing. She kept me interested and entertained by the activity of the characters. Her knowledge of theater and theater people is evident.  I enjoyed reading this shortly after visiting her home in Christchurch, New Zealand. I recommend it highly. I also give my very highest recommendation to visiting New Zealand. 


E. B. Davis said...

That photo captured my attention, Warren. I assume it is of hot springs, but it looks like the geysers at Yellowstone. I've often wondered how people enjoy hot springs. I assume they stink of sulphur, much like geysers.

Glad you liked the book, but I doubt many of today's readers would enjoy the author taking so much time leading up to the mystery. If it is more than a few chapters before getting to it, I become skeptical, which interferes with my reading.

Kait said...

I'm so glad you reviewed Marsh. I have one of her books on my Kindle that I haven't gotten to yet. I'll look forward to reading it now.

Grace Topping said...

You have inspired me to read some of Ngaio Marsh's books. I just finished one this week. By today's expectations, they are slow getting to the murder, but I don't have a problem with that. Accustomed to a slow build in a story, I find myself doing the same in my writing. The message from my beta readers is to "get to the murder." So I end up cutting a lot.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, you've made me want to wade through all my old books to find at least one of her books which I'm pretty sure I have. I also sometimes don't include a murder into rather far in my books. I like to introduce my characters including the murderer and suspects first.

vicki batman said...

I read her books years ago and loved them. There was a good tv series on PBS too.

KM Rockwood said...

It's time for me to revisit Marsh's books. Unfortunately, the same can be said for many of the older writers, esp. mystery writers.

I have no problem with the author taking her time to get to the murder, as long as the book holds together well, but that's not the message most of us get as authors. As Grace points out, we often get the comment "So where's the murder already?"

Margaret Turkevich said...

I love learning about New Zealand from your reviews and look forward to reading the books. PD James sometimes creates a world before she murders a victim. I'm tired of "kill the victim in the first three chapters."