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.