If you are a Ngaio Marsh fan, and/or a fan of BBC productions, then you will surely enjoy the DVDs that feature Scotland Yard Inspector Roderyck Alleyn (as played by the wonderful Patrick Malahide.) The main characters are Inspector Allyen, his girlfriend, artist Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang) and Detective Inspector Fox (William Simons). Beware, though, if you expect over-the-top performances from these accomplished actors….Malahide’s portrayal of Inspector Allyen is very upper crust British, without a lot of emotion. If you expect overacted enthusiasm and emotions, then you had better pass on these BBC productions and stick with some of today’s current TV fare…
My husband and I both enjoyed Season One (1993) and Season Two (1994) of these shows. The only thing that we didn’t like about the series of shows is that they didn’t make more of Ngaio’s books into movies. We did not see the shows when they first aired on television, and wonder how we missed them.
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Antoinette monks says
Why didn’t they make more please
Marsh was very much a theater person, and some of her works deserve a grand treatment on the screen. I think of how the opera stage and neo-Baroque opera hall scenes in Godfather 3 melded with the outside-of-the-theater goings on in the earlier part of the film, and even, of course, the two earlier films in the trilogy. None of it was ever meant to be gritty, crass, real-gangster verismo. The cavernous buildings and Rembrandt-like lighting made them an epic of late Renaissance Italy in modern guise; everything operatic. That’s the kind of style Marsh’s Light Thickens (set around the opera version of superstition-ridden Macbeth (Shakespeare’s, not Beaton’s!), and (creepy occultists in the Alpes maritimes–cross dark castle doings with To Catch a Thief Riviera dash and color) Spinsters in Jeopardy (which may have another name), among others, deserve.
Marsh was from New Zealand; her given name was Maori and she told people ‘Marsh’ somehow came from Iberian pirates, but she could never get too much Englishness. If Agatha Christie could look at Englishness with affectionate amusement rather from the outside, because of her portion of American heritage, Marsh reveled in, absorbed and conveyed Englishness (of what Americans would call the upper middle class, anyway) with all her might. She’s had an audience for it ever since!