|Ngaio Marsh appearing onscreen as part of a 1977 documentary. Credit: NZ On Air|
TOM HUNT - Dominion Post, 21 February 2015
She was a queen of crime, her name mentioned in the same breath as Agatha Christie. But the American public were baffled by detective novelist Ngaio Marsh. How, they wanted to know, was her name pronounced?
By the time Dame Ngaio Marsh died on February 18, 1982 - 33 years ago this week - she had published 32 detective novels. When, in September 1939, The Evening Post reported on the pronunciation debacle across the Pacific, Marsh was already a well-established writer, not to mention a thespian and painter. Her scholarly, gentlemanly English detective Roderick Alleyn had by then appeared in eight books and would appear in many more.
"Various startling attempts have been made to bend unaccustomed tongues round this pleasant Maori name," the newspaper reported. "Naggio" was overheard in one bookshop before her American publisher stepped in with authority. "Her name may be pronounced either 'Gay-o' or 'Guy-o'," they declared. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE