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Ngaio Marsh's New Zealand Gothic


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While well established as a crime writer in her native country New Zealand and abroad, in the Golden Age of crime writing, between the two World Wars, Ngaio Marsh also explored more than the simple whodunit genre. Along with mysterious and sudden deaths and the investigations by her professional police investigator, Roderick Alleyn, whose intelligence is matched by his intuition, Marsh also revels in the uncanny and supernatural, several spectacular and innovative means of murder (involving wool presses in one and a boiling mud pool in another), the impact of locale, especially isolation, on the actions of criminals and victims, and the workings, in a couple of her New Zealand based stories, of Makutu or Maori magic.
In an attempt to further the debate concerning New Zealand writing and the nature of a New Zealand Gothic, first identified by William Shafer in his 1998 work Mapping the Godzone, this paper will consider the Gothic elements of Marsh’s four detective novels set in New Zealand, A Vintage Murder, 1937, Colour Scheme, 1943, Died in the Wool, 1945 and Photo Finish, 1980.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Additional Information: The symposium was by invitation
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gothic, Crime, Aotearoa, makutu, uncanny, Ngaio Marsh, New Zealand, writing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Gail Pittaway
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 02:37
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:40

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