Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh DBE was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966. Marsh is known as one of the “Queens of Crime”, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham.
When I was ten years old, at Addington Convent School in Christchurch, the nuns wanted to teach us to write a formal letter and we were tasked to write to someone famous. I wrote to Ngaio Marsh. Forward the clock some 55 years and here I am a winner of this fine lady’s literary legacy, the 2021 Debut Crime Novel Award, so thank you, Dame Ngaio, for tickling that childhood dream and firing what my mother could only describe as my overactive imagination.
The Ngaio Marsh Awards have only been running for twelve years in NZ, but they are the premier award that crime writers have to showcase our talent and I feel so privileged to be amongst talented past winners such as Vanda Symon, Paul Cleave and Nikki Crutchley and my fellow finalists for this year are also all wonderful storytellers.
I call myself a writer with a social conscience and I am passionate about justice, but only too aware that the people who are meant to protect us often fail in that duty of care and that the definition of a killer depends so much on the context. Murder is the only crime that someone cannot recover from. It is the ultimate human betrayal and abuse of power and the perpetrator must be brought to account…..but are they??
The sequel to For Reasons of their Own is coming along nicely and should be ready to read next year.