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Extended Audio Sample Colour Scheme Audiobook, by Ngaio Marsh Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (845 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ngaio Marsh Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries Release Date: August 2001 ISBN: 9781455176946
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Even down in New Zealand, war-fueled spy fever is running wild. Near the decaying sulphur springs of Colonel and Mrs. Claire, the strange lights and signals being sent to foreign ships at sea indicate that there’s a spy in their midst.

Soon an even darker sign appears: a health-seeker with untoward intentions meets his demise in the boiling mud baths. Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, far from home on a wartime quest for German agents, knows that any number of people could have killed the unpleasant man: the English exiles he’d hated, the New Zealanders he’d despised, or the Maoris he’d insulted. Even the spies he’d thwarted—if he wasn’t a spy himself. And when a new arrival appears, one who possesses the cunning of a criminal and the insight of a psychologist, the inspector’s interest is piqued.

Often regarded as her most interesting book and set on New Zealands North Island, Ngaio Marsh herself considered this to be her best-written novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The queen of the straight crime novel—long may she reign!”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Nobody begins to touch Ngaio Marsh’s skill at creating corpses and suspects…Her dialogue is a continuous delight.”

    New York Herald Tribune

  • “[McCaddon] embraces the challenge of re-creating a host of characters with varying accents, including depiction of Maori New Zealanders.”

    Booklist

  • “Technically flawless…Superbly narrated by [Wanda McCaddon] and a ‘must’ for all Ngaio Marsh fans.”

    Reviewer’s Bookwatch

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Doina | 2/20/2014

    " This installment had a very slow start, and the plot didn't grab me. I really enjoy the fluidity of Marsh's writing, and even her bad novels manage to grab me, but I wish the plot was better developed. And I really miss the traditional setting, with Alleyn and his sidekick. I usually find WWII spy novels entertaining, but this one was just too blah, and I think the main reason was the fact that I didn't care for any of the characters. Even Marsh's usually detailed scene development couldn't save this book for me. This was definitely my least favourite Alleyn mystery so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 2/17/2014

    " A murder mystery set in New Zealand during WWII. I don't know how I missed reading this as a teen when I devoured Christie. Quite enjoyable for a quiet afternoon read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 2/14/2014

    " Excellent addition to Roderick Alleyn series (although he is incognito), set in wartime New Zealand. Descriptions of Maori characters, culture and landscape read like a travelogue. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brainorgan | 2/5/2014

    " Colour Scheme (Roderick Alleyn Mysteries) by Ngaio Marsh (1998) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyrie | 2/5/2014

    " It's well written and hard to guess the ending, so I liked that. I liked hearing about New Zealand. I just couldn't get excited about most of the characters, and so while I give it four stars for being good, it isn't one of my favorites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Control | 2/4/2014

    " I didn't enjoy this as much as the other Marsh book I have read "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 astrangerhere | 1/29/2014

    " My least favorite Alleyn thus far. I just could not get into the characters and kept just wanting Alleyn to get there already. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 1/28/2014

    " Published in 1943 and set on the coast of New Zealand's North Island, Colour Scheme highlights the impact that World War II had on the entire British Commonwealth. Colonel and Mrs. Claire run a shabby spa, Wai-ata-Tupu Springs, where they advertise the healing properties of the sulphur springs mud for a variety of medical complaints. One of their guests is Maurice Questing, who is suspected of being a Nazi spy, and who is attempting to take control of Wai-ata-Tupu Springs from the Claire family. Questing, it is generally believed, regularly signals to German submarines the location of Allied shipping that is leaving a nearby harbor so that the ships can be torpedoed. Unfortunately, Questing falls or is pushed to his death in a hot spring before his guilt can be properly established. It's up to Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, who has come from England to work with local authorities in New Zealand to unmask the killer and reveal the spy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/28/2014

    " A pretty standard Ngaio Marsh book -- which is to say very good. Not only wasn't I able to guess this one, I actually missed the main clue. One interesting twist is that Alleyn is in the book but never named until the end. I certainly enjoyed the book, though in comparison to other Ngaio Marsh books this is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Control | 1/22/2014

    " I didn't enjoy this as much as the other Marsh book I have read "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kel | 1/18/2014

    " It took me forever to finish this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loretta | 1/8/2014

    " This started off slow, very slow. I questioned continuing with it; but I did, and it was well worth it. The narrator was wonderful and able to capture the different voices and accents beautifully. I will have to find more of Marsh to read, and might try a paper book next time to see if the experience is much different. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Kay Vogt | 1/8/2014

    " One of my favorites from Ms Marsh "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randall Decker | 1/6/2014

    " It was a descent detective mystery that kept me guessing until the end. I loved the setting in Australia and the unique characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 12/27/2013

    " Another solid entry, again moving away from police procedural and toward character study. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lesley | 12/27/2013

    " This has been my least favorite book in the series so far. Had to read almost to the end before the central character, Roderick Alleyn makes his appearance. It wasn't bad but not what I'd come to expect from this series "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Kay Vogt | 12/15/2013

    " One of my favorites from Ms Marsh "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanna | 12/4/2013

    " one of her best--takes place in New Zealand. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Durdles | 11/13/2013

    " WW2 setting at a thermal spring retreat in New Zealand. Classic whodunnit with eccentric English, luvvy actor and local Maori interest. The author's interest an theatre and setting of clues about colour are reflected in the title. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudy | 11/12/2013

    " Fun reading but still well-written. I actually listened to this on an audiotape and was surprised at how easy I found it to follow the action. Hoping to be able to borrow more from Ngaio Marsh in the future. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Palmer | 11/12/2013

    " An almost-worthy detective series replacement now I've run out of Sayers Lord Peter books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalyn | 9/25/2013

    " The mystery here was interesting, but not as interesting as the general depiction of the locale and (I have to admit it) a rather charming romance between the ungainly daughter of the house and one of the guests. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 9/23/2013

    " A murder mystery set in New Zealand during WWII. I don't know how I missed reading this as a teen when I devoured Christie. Quite enjoyable for a quiet afternoon read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michale | 9/14/2013

    " Excellent addition to Roderick Alleyn series (although he is incognito), set in wartime New Zealand. Descriptions of Maori characters, culture and landscape read like a travelogue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyrie | 7/30/2013

    " It's well written and hard to guess the ending, so I liked that. I liked hearing about New Zealand. I just couldn't get excited about most of the characters, and so while I give it four stars for being good, it isn't one of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalyn | 4/30/2013

    " The mystery here was interesting, but not as interesting as the general depiction of the locale and (I have to admit it) a rather charming romance between the ungainly daughter of the house and one of the guests. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kel | 4/15/2013

    " It took me forever to finish this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Palmer | 1/30/2013

    " An almost-worthy detective series replacement now I've run out of Sayers Lord Peter books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanna | 11/25/2012

    " one of her best--takes place in New Zealand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vickie | 11/8/2012

    " A couple of interesting plot twists make this book a lot of fun to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Durdles | 10/23/2012

    " WW2 setting at a thermal spring retreat in New Zealand. Classic whodunnit with eccentric English, luvvy actor and local Maori interest. The author's interest an theatre and setting of clues about colour are reflected in the title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brainorgan | 9/30/2012

    " Colour Scheme (Roderick Alleyn Mysteries) by Ngaio Marsh (1998) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Stornoway | 9/9/2012

    " One of Ngaio's best, worth the read, despite the slow build up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 6/8/2012

    " Set in wartime New Zealand, it's curiously uninvolving for Marsh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Stornoway | 3/18/2012

    " One of Ngaio's best, worth the read, despite the slow build up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lesley | 2/8/2012

    " This has been my least favorite book in the series so far. Had to read almost to the end before the central character, Roderick Alleyn makes his appearance. It wasn't bad but not what I'd come to expect from this series "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudy | 1/11/2012

    " Fun reading but still well-written. I actually listened to this on an audiotape and was surprised at how easy I found it to follow the action. Hoping to be able to borrow more from Ngaio Marsh in the future. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krys Williams | 6/17/2011

    " This was a fairly run of the mill murder mystery, with the middle middle and upper middle classes taking centre stage in a highly caricaturised manner. The information to solve the problem was provided, however solving whodunnit would require some very lateral thinking! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 5/27/2011

    " Another solid entry, again moving away from police procedural and toward character study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teotakuu | 5/7/2011

    " (Different cover)
    One of the set in NZ mysteries with Roderick Alleyn in disguise "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 12/25/2010

    " Another solid entry, again moving away from police procedural and toward character study. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanna | 11/29/2010

    " one of her best--takes place in New Zealand. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 9/5/2010

    " Set in wartime New Zealand, it's curiously uninvolving for Marsh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brainorgan | 4/2/2010

    " Colour Scheme (Roderick Alleyn Mysteries) by Ngaio Marsh (1998) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vickie | 3/26/2010

    " A couple of interesting plot twists make this book a lot of fun to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Control | 11/20/2009

    " I didn't enjoy this as much as the other Marsh book I have read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 9/29/2009

    " One of Ngaio's best, worth the read, despite the slow build up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Durdles | 9/9/2009

    " WW2 setting at a thermal spring retreat in New Zealand. Classic whodunnit with eccentric English, luvvy actor and local Maori interest. The author's interest an theatre and setting of clues about colour are reflected in the title. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Kay | 1/11/2009

    " One of my favorites from Ms Marsh "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalyn | 5/30/2008

    " The mystery here was interesting, but not as interesting as the general depiction of the locale and (I have to admit it) a rather charming romance between the ungainly daughter of the house and one of the guests. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/31/2008

    " Ngaio Marsh did it again. This was a great read. I don't want to give anything away but I guessed. I was so proud of myself. Well that is about as much as I can say since I don't want to ruin the read for anyone else. If you like a good mystery. This is the book. "

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About the Author
Author Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh (1895–1982), born in New Zealand, wrote over thirty detective novels. Many of her stories had theatrical settings, as her real passion was for the theater. She was both an actress and a producer and almost single-handedly revived the New Zealand public’s interest in live theater. In 1966 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.