In her spare time, when not busy writing mysteries, Ngaio Marsh was a successful theatrical producer, and the mysteries she wrote with theatrical settings are some of her best, Night at the Vulcan among them. A shabby, fourth-rate theater, the Vulcan is not where Martyn Tarne hoped to work, when she moved from New Zealand to London in hope of a glittering acting career. But a girl has to eat, so Martyn takes a job as dresser to the Vulcan’s leading lady. This provides her with a ringside seat to the backstage circus—the aging alcoholic actor, the waspish playwright, the ingénue on the make, the surprisingly gracious grande dame. There is, of course, a murder, and Inspector Alleyn to inject a welcome pragmatism, but Vulcan’s greatest pleasure lies in the artful, bittersweet portraits of the theatrical “types” that Marsh knew so well. Night at the Vulcan has also been published as Opening Night.
"A novel in the best sense...Every character, from the boozy watchman who opens the stage-door to the thin-lipped Inspector who closes it, is alive and believable"—New York Times
Who's likely to like this: Fans of Margery Allingham and Agatha Christie