Death of a queen of crime

Photo of interior of Ngaio Marsh's houseOn February  18, 1982, writer Dame Ngaio Marsh died  at her home in Cashmere. She was one of the famous Queens of Crime (along with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers) who emerged in the 1930s.

What isn’t so well known is the  impact she had on the cultural life of Christchurch and New Zealand as a theatre director and nurturer of a generation of acting talents through her involvement with the Canterbury University College Drama Society and other touring productions. (Mervyn Thompson and Sam Neill were among those who acted in her productions)

She also wrote an autobiography Black Beech and Honeydew which is a snapshot of life in early C20th Christchurch for a particular class of people.

Christchurch City Libraries has a Ngaio Marsh collection featuring her work in many different languages. We also have a small collection of photographs, and of course plenty of her works to read.

Her home in Cashmere is now open to visitors. These photographs give an idea of what the house is like inside.

Christchurch – this week in history (18 February – 24 February)

Friday 22 February 2013 is the 2nd anniversary of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. 185 lost their lives, and the city was badly damaged. Christchurch has made this day one of tribute and remembrance.

Road conesWhite chairs at Oxford Terrace Baptist ChurchCashel Street - Re-Start Mall

18 February 1982
Ngaio MarshInternationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere.

20 February 1903
Singer Madam (later Dame) Nellie Melba gives concert.

20 February 1979
8.5 metre totara log removed from the Avon near the Barbadoes Street bridge. A remnant of the pre-Polynesian forests, it had been buried beneath the river for centuries.

22 February 1893
Linwood Borough formed.

22 February 1909
New Press building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building.

Airport22 February1960
New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens.

22 February 1965
Opening of first Pan-Pacific Arts Festival. Artists include singer Inia Te Wiata (in “Porgy and Bess”) and conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent.

More February events in our Christchurch chronology.