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When in Rome

A Roderick Alleyn mystery


By Ngaio Marsh (1899 – 1982)

A brilliant portrait of Rome during the swinging sixties is painted by Dame Ngaio Marsh in this novel, which was first published in 1970.

The handsome and astute Superintendent Alleyn is in Rome ‘incognito’, trying to gather information about the international drugs trade.

Posing as a tourist, he joins a very select guided tour for the day to visit a church and enjoy a picnic at the Palatine Hill.

The tour organiser, or ‘cicerone’ as he is referred to in the book, mysteriously disappears while escorting the wealthy and aristocratic members of the party inside the Basilica of San Tommaso in Pallaria. Alleyn, working with the Italian Polizia, eventually discovers a body in the Basilica.

Much of the action takes place inside the church, which the author describes in great detail, showing a fine appreciation of place. And, while enjoying the many excellent descriptions of the eternal city, the reader is kept guessing, with twists and turns of the plot right until the end of the book, about the identity of the murderer.

New Zealand-born Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 novels featuring Roderick Alleyn, a gentleman detective who worked for the Metropolitan Police in London. They were published between 1934 and 1982. Dame Ngaio Marsh has been ranked as one of the four Queens of Crime of the 20th century, alongside Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham.

When in Rome is currently available in paperback as part of The Ngaio Marsh Collection Book 9 (Harper), alongside Clutch of Constables and Tied Up in Tinsel, and as an eBook.  It is due to be re-released as a paperback in its own right by Felony and Mayhem in September.

(Image by neufal54 from Pixabay)

Buy the Kindle edition of When In Rome from Amazon.

Also available as part of The Ngaio March Collection, Book 9, available from 

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