Ngaio Marsh was a producer and novelist. She was born on April 23, 1899 in Christchurch, New Zealand. She attended St. Marys College and Canterbury University. Marsh worked in the theater acting, producing, and even painting scenery. She was a partner in an interior decorating business in England from 1928 to 1932. Marsh later returned to New Zealand and produced plays for a Shakespearean repertory company. She also worked with the Drama Department of Canterbury University. During World War II, she served in the New Zealand Red Cross Transport Unit. Marsh traveled to England frequently and founded the British Commonwealth Theatre Company in 1949. In 1934, Marsh published her first novel, A Man Lay Dead. She wrote more than 40 books, most being mysteries. A book on New Zealand and her autobiography, Black Beech and Honeydew are exceptions and she also wrote theatrical and television plays. Marsh was named to the Order of the British Empire in 1949 and was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966. The Mystery Writers of America named her a Grand Master in 1977. Marsh died on February 18, 1982.