Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895 –1982), was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director famous for the creation of the gentleman detective protagonist of 32 detective novels – Roderick Alleyn. Roderick Alleyn first appeared in 1934 in the novel A Man Lay Dead ; his last adventure was published in 1982, Peregrine Jay. The name derives from Alleyn’s School, where the author’s father was a pupil, and is pronounced “Allen”. Alleyn was born around 1892-1894, graduated from Oxford around 1915, served in the army for three years in World War I, and then spent a year (1919–1920) in the British Foreign Service. In about 1920 or 1921 he joined the Metropolitan Police as a constable. The novels follow his career from Detective Chief-Inspector at Scotland Yard, to Chief Superintendent. Alleyn has been compared with Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie.