2007: 129. Colour Scheme

“When Dr. James Ackrington limped into the Harpoon Club on the afternoon of Monday, January the thirteenth, he was in a poisonous temper.”

Colour Scheme, Ngaio Marsh

This mystery is set in New Zealand, during World War II, where we are led to believe Alleyn has been sent for the duration, to pursue intelligence work. Highly dubious, in my humble opinion, that Scotland Yard’s darling boy couldn’t find work in London for the duration, even if his novelist creator was born in NZ, but so it is.

This mystery takes place on a run down spa in a rural New Zealand hot springs/volcanic mud bath.  The atmosphere is pretty good - the scenery is authentic and the interactions between the seedy colonials running the farm and the native Maori is both authentic to the time and not repulsively racist, which seemed nice.*  The actor character is a hoot, and totally authentic seeming so, Marsh did a nice job mixing her NZ and theater heritage.  My only complaint would be about the goofy espionage subplot - like Christie, the espionage elements seem too stupid for words.  However, the characters and the setting are enough to help you over come this aspect of the book, and I quite enjoyed it.


Recommended for:  People who are interested in reading a story set in New Zealand, in all its gorgeous wild glory.


* It may have been vaguely racist, but not appallingly so, which is all about you can ask for in 1940-odd.  And the main Maori character is absolutely respectfully represented, so hats off to Ngaio.


Date/Place Completed: 8/14/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017