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  • Colour Blind

    A neat detective story by one of the Queens of Crime. Ngaio Marsh plays by the rules -she gives us plenty of evidence to sort and doesn’t introduce unheralded facts at the denouement. This is classic stuff which may not appeal to a twenty first century reader -the 1940s timeframe means that some if the attitudes of the characters -and indeed of Ngaio Marsh herself - can grate on us. The story takes place in Aotearoa-New Zealand during WWII, in a rural town in the Northland. Hot springs, bubbling mud, Shakespearean actors, a sweet little love story -yum! The depiction of the Maori people is not so yum -kindly but patronising. But then -Ngaio Marsh was a woman of her time. In fact, this unpretentious detective story serves as a window into history, as we notice her presuppositions and limitations. That may help us to be aware of ours in our time, too.

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