In 1968 Ngaio Marsh took her own Roman holiday (in part to research Italian police procedures) and the change seems to have done her good: Both her British and U.S. agents believed When in Rome to be the finest novel in her "Inspector Alleyn" series. As is so often (and so satisfyingly) the case, the tale concerns a murder within a closed group in this case, a group of tourists visiting what Marsh calls the "Basilica di San Tommaso," who find themselves fumbling into a complex web of blackmail and drug-smuggling. Adding some irresistible color are depictions of both La Dolce Vita (of which Marsh took a jaundiced view) and the student radicals of the day, whom she seems to have found somewhat more persuasive. All in all, a brilliant example of classic Golden Age plotting melded with a decidedly Space Age cast.
About the Author
Ngaio Marsh was one of the celebrated queens of the golden age; she is the author of 32 novels in the "Inspector Alleyn" series. In addition to writing, her great passion was theater. She was born in New Zealand.