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Michael Innes & John Appleby Mystery Titles
John Innes Mackintosh Stewart (1906 – 1994) was a Scottish novelist and academic. He is equally well known for the works of literary criticism and contemporary novels published under his real name and for the crime fiction published under the pseudonym of Michael Innes. Many devotees of the Innes books were unaware of his other “identity”, and vice versa.
Stewart was born in Edinburgh, the son of Elizabeth Jane (née Clark) and John Stewart of Nairn. His father was a lawyer and Director of Education in the city of Edinburgh. Stewart attended Edinburgh Academy, where Robert Louis Stevenson had been a pupil for a short time, and later studied English literature at Oriel College, Oxford. It was here he was presented with the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and was named a Bishop Frazer’s scholar. In 1929 he went to Vienna to study psychoanalysis. He was lecturer in English at the University of Leeds from 1930 to 1935 and then became Jury Professor of English in the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
He returned to the United Kingdom to become Lecturer in English at the Queen’s University of Belfast from 1946 to 1948. In 1949 he became a Student (equivalent of Fellow in other Oxford colleges) of Christ Church, Oxford. By the time of his retirement in 1973, he was a professor of the university. He died at Coulsdon.
Stewart wrote several critical studies, including full-length studies of James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Hardy, as well as many novels and short stories. His last publication was his autobiography Myself and Michael Innes (1987).
Between 1936 and 1986, Stewart, writing under the pseudonym of Michael Innes, published nearly fifty crime novels and short story collections, which he later described as “entertainments”. These abound in literary allusions and in what critics have variously described as “mischievous wit”, “exuberant fancy” and a “tongue-in-cheek propensity” for intriguing turns of phrase. Julian Symons identified Innes as one of the “farceurs”—crime writers for whom the detective story was “an over-civilized joke with a frivolity which makes it a literary conversation piece with detection taking place on the side”—and described Innes’s writing as being “rather in the manner of Peacock strained through or distorted by Aldous Huxley”. His mysteries have also been described as combining “the elliptical introspection … [of] a Jamesian character’s speech, the intellectual precision of a Conradian description, and the amazing coincidences that mark any one of Hardy’s plots”.
The best-known of Innes’s detective creations is Sir John Appleby, who is introduced in Death at the President’s Lodging, in which he is a Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard. Appleby features in many of the later novels and short stories, in the course of which he rises to become Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Other novels feature portrait painter and Royal Academician, Charles Honeybath, an amateur but nonetheless effective sleuth. The two detectives meet in Appleby and Honeybath. Some of the later stories feature Appleby’s son Bobby as sleuth.
In 2007, his family transferred all the Innes copyrights and other legal rights to Owatonna Media. Owatonna Media on-sold these copyrights to Coolabi Plc in 2009, but retained a master licence in radio and audio rights. These rights are commercially licensed in the UK and abroad
John Appleby Novels
Note: An in house job!
Inspector Appleby is called to St Anthony’s College, where the President has been murdered in his Lodging. Scandal abounds when it becomes clear that the only people with any motive to murder him are the only people who had the opportunity – because the President’s Lodging opens off Orchard Ground, which is locked at night, and only the Fellows of the College have keys.
Many elements of a Locked Room mystery – but not actually an impossible case.
Note: Murder at court?
At Seamnum Court, seat of the Duke of Horton, The Lord Chancellor of England is murdered at the climax of a private presentation of Hamlet, in which he plays Polonius. Inspector Appleby pursues some of the most famous names in the country, unearthing dreadful suspicion.
Note: Dreary days in Scotland
When mad recluse, Ranald Guthrie, the laird of Erchany, falls from the ramparts of his castle on a wild winter night, Appleby discovers the doom that shrouded his life, and the grim legends of the bleak and nameless hamlets, in a tale that emanates sheer terror and suspense.
Note: The Return of The Spider?
Famous writer, Richard Eliot, has written numerous detective novels, featuring ‘The Spider’, a daring, clever criminal in earlier books, and an equally canny private investigator in later ones. But when he comes to life – first to burgle an odd neighbour, then to harass the Eliot family, and finally to attend his own ‘birthday party’, Inspector John Appleby is sent to investigate.
Note: A case of plagiarism?
Successful minor poet, Philip Ploss, lives a peaceful existence in ideal surroundings, until his life is upset when he hears verses erroneously quoted as his own. Soon afterwards, he is found dead in the library with a copy of Dante’s Purgatory open before him.
Note: A new family hobby!
Stunning Belrive Priory, consisting of a mansion, park and medieval ruins, is surrounded by the noise and neon signs of its gaudy neighbours – a cotton-mill, a brewey and a main road. Nevertheless, Arthur Ferryman is pleased to return for a family Christmas, but is shocked to discover that his cousins have taken up a new pastime – pistol-shooting. Inspector Appleby arrives on the scene when one of Ferryman’s cousins is found shot dead in the study, in a mystery built on family antagonisms.
One of two actual Innes locked room titles!
Note: Stranded in a strange land!
Inspector Appleby is stranded on a very strange island, with a rather odd bunch of people – too many men, too few women (and one of them too attractive) cause a deal of trouble. But that is nothing compared to later developments, including the body afloat in the water, and the attack by local inhabitants.
Note: Looking for Daffodil!
Inspector Appleby’s aunt is most distressed when her horse, Daffodil – a somewhat half-witted animal with exceptional numerical skills – goes missing from her stable I Harrogate. Meanwhile, Hudspith is hot on the trail of Lucy Rideout, an enigmatic young girl has been whisked away to an unknown isle by a mysterious gentleman. And when a house in Bloomsbury, supposedly haunted, also goes missing, the baffled policemen search for a connection. As Appleby and Hudspith trace Daffodil and Lucy, the fragments begin to come together and an extravagant project is uncovered, leading them to South American jungle.
Note: Scientist struck by meteorite?
Meteorites fall from the sky, but seldom onto the heads of science dons in redbrick universities; yet this is what happens to Professor Pluckrose of Nestfield University. Inspector Appleby soon discovers that the meteorite was not fresh and that the professor’s deckchair had been placed underneath a large, accessible tower, He already knew something of academic jealousies but was to find out a great deal more!
Note: A strange visit to the past?
Appleby’s End was the name of the station where Detective Inspector John Appleby got off the train from Scotland Yard. But that was not the only coincidence. Everything that happened from then on related back to stories by Ranulph Raven, Victorian novelist – animals were replaced by marble effigies, someone received a tombstone telling him when he would die, and a servant was found buried up to his neck in snow, dead. Why did Ranulph Raven’s mysterious descendants make such a point of inviting Appleby to spend the night at their house?
Note: Triple murder?
A gruelling night of shrouded motives and confused identities develops when the last of the Dromios is found murdered, with both of his hands burnt off. He was one of triplets, whose brothers had died in a fire forty years previously. Inspector Appleby wrenches the facts from a melodrama in which the final solution is written in fire.
Note: A grand tour of Oxford!
A two-bit con-man is thrown in at the deep end as a desperate hunt takes place in Oxford, in this gripping tale the thrilling climax of which takes place in the vaults of the Bodleian Library.
‘Highly ingenious… all sorts of delicious nostalgia-making detail about Oxford and its elaborate hierarchy of learning’ Observer
Note: A dead artist and stolen masterpiece!
Sir John and Lady Appleby attend a memorial exhibition of the oils, gouaches, collages and trouvailles of artist Gavin Limbert, who was recently found shot, under very suspicious circumstances. As Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sir John is already interested, but he becomes even more intrigued when Limbert’s last masterpiece is stolen from the gallery under his very eyes.
Note: Death on the Tor!
David was hiking across Dartmoor, pleased to have escaped the oppressively juvenile and sometimes perilous behaviour of his fellow undergraduates. As far as he could tell, he was the only human being for miles – at least, that is what he presumed when he found a dead man on top of the tor.
Note: A missing piece of Shakespearian history!
Lewis Packford, the great Shakespearean scholar, was thought to have discovered a book annotated by the Bard – but there is no trace of this valuable object when Packford apparently commits suicide. Sir John Appleby finds a mixed bag of suspects at the dead man’s house, who might all have a good motive for murder. The scholars and bibliophiles who were present might have been tempted by the precious document in Packford’s possession. And Appleby discovers that Packford had two secret marriages, and that both of these women were at the house at the time of his death.
Note: A missing biological warfare expert!
When a germ-warfare expert goes missing, his twin brother impersonates him as a cover-up, but for how long can this last? Inspector Appleby is sent on a series of wild goose chases, which take him to a preparatory school, to the estate of an eccentric earl, and to a remote Atlantic rock, before a truly shocking climax.
More thriller than mystery!
Note: A forged forgery!
Respected Fine Art experts are deceived in one of the most intriguing murder cases Inspector Appleby has ever faced, beginning with Gribble, a collector of forgeries whose latest acquisition is found to be a forged forgery! In the words of Appleby himself: ‘Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. Just a little mad, for a start. Inclined, say, to unreasonable jokes in the course of business. But later – well, very mad indeed.’
Note: A visit to Scroop House!
When John Appleby’s wife, Judith, sets eyes on Scroop House, she insists that they introduce themselves to the owners – a suggestion that makes her sometimes reserved husband turn very pale. When Judith hears the village gossip about the grand house, she is even more intrigued; but when a former employee is found dead in the lock of the disused canal, and the immense wealth of Scroop’s contents is revealed, Appleby has a gripping investigation on his hands.
Note: An omnibus edition – not a separate title!
Other Omnibus Collections:
Michael Innes Omnibus: “Hamlet, Revenge!”, “Death at the President’s Lodging” and “Daffodil Affair”
The Second Michael Innes Omnibus: ” Journeying Boy ” , ” Operation Pax ” and ” Man from the Sea ”
Note: A curious last request!
An assorted party of guests have gathered at Charne, home of Charles Martineau and his ailing wife, Grace, including Sir John Appleby and his wife, Judith. Appleby’s suspicions are soon aroused with the odd behaviour of Charles, and the curious last request of Grace, who desires that upon her death Charles marries her favourite niece, Martine. When Charles and Grace die on the same day, foul play is suspected.
Note: A sound & light murder?
Sir John Appleby dines one evening at Allington Park, the Georgian home of his acquaintance Owain Allington, who is new to the area. His curiosity is aroused when Allington mentions his nephew and heir to the estate, Martin Allington, whose name Appleby recognises. The evening comes to an end but just as Appleby is leaving, they find a dead man – electrocuted in the ‘son et lumiere’ box which had been installed in the grounds.
Note: A long trail of art forgeries
Over a period of twenty years, a series of highly elaborate art hoaxes have been perpetrated at carefully time intervals, and in each case, the victim has a very good reason for keeping quiet. Inspector Appleby’s interest is kindled by an amusing dinner-party anecdote, when he enlists the help of his wife and son, the ensuing investigation is truly a family affair. The scenes shift swiftly between glorious stately homes and the not-so-glorious art gallery of the irrepressibly dubious Hildebert Braunkopf.
Not many reviews!
Note: Appleby arrested for trespassing?
When master sleuth, Appleby, leaps over a stile during a country stroll, he is apprehended by an irate Martyn Ashmore, owner of the land on which Appleby has unwittingly trespassed. But when the misunderstanding is cleared up, eccentric, aged Ashmore reveals that he is in fear for his life – once every year, someone attempts to murder him. Is it the French Resistance, or a younger Ashmore on the make? When Martyn dies, Appleby sets out to find who exactly is responsible.
Note: A missing body for Bobby!
Sir John Appleby’s son, Bobby, assumes his father’s detective role in this baffling crime. When Bobby finds a dead man, in a bunker on a golf course, he notices something rather strange – the first finger of the man’s right hand is missing. A young girl approaches the scene and offers to watch the body while Bobby goes for help, but when he returns with the police in tow, the body and the girl are missing.
Note: An empty house ready for a feast!
When Inspector Appleby’s car breaks down on a deserted road one dark night, he happens upon an imposing mansion, whose windows are all illuminated. His sense of curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the front door is wide open, and he gets a funny feeling of being watched as he wanders round this splendid house, looking for signs of life. When he finds an elaborate feast laid out, he wonders who is expected!
Note: Priscilla Pringle collaborates in murder?
Author of detective novels, Priscilla Pringle, is pleased to find that she is sharing a railway compartment with a gentleman who happens to be reading one of her books – Murder in the Cathedral. He is a military officer, Captain Bulkington, who recognises Miss Pringle and offers her £500 to collaborate on a detective novel. To everyone’s surprise, Miss Pringle is rather taken with Captain Bulkington – but is she out of her depth?
Note: An unexpected murder?
During a walk to Elvedon House, palatial home of the Tythertons, Sir John Appleby and Chief Constable Colonel Pride are stunned to find a police van and two cars parked outside. Wealthy Maurice Tytherton has been found shot dead, and Appleby is faced with a number of suspects: Alice Tytherton, flirtatious, younger wife of the deceased; Egon Raffaello, disreputable art dealer; and the prodigal son, Mark Tytherton, who has just returned from Argentina. Could the death be linked to the robbery of some paintings several years ago?
Note: A case of double identity?
When tycoon, Charles Povey, is killed in a bizarre boating accident, his corrupt, look-alike brother, Arthur, adopts his identity and his financial empire. But the charade becomes complicated when one of Charles’s many mistresses sees through the guise and blackmails Arthur. Enter retired detective, Sir John Appleby.
Note: A body falls from on high!
While Appleby is strolling along a Cornish beach, he narrowly escapes being struck by a body falling down a cliff. The body is that of Dr Sutch, an archivist, and he has fallen from the North Tower of Treskinnick Castle, home of Lord Ampersand. Two possible motivations present themselves to Appleby – the Ampersand gold, treasure from an Armada galleon; and the Ampersand papers, valuable family documents that have associations with Wordsworth and Shelley.
Note: Which sheik is chic?
When half of the guests at a charity masquerade fête at Drool Court turn up dressed as sheiks, it must be more than pure coincidence. One of them is the real thing, however, and Sir John Appleby, master detective, discovers that he is in grave danger. When one of the pseudo-sheiks is murdered, Appleby finds himself in the midst of an international political crisis.
Note: Appleby & Honeybath join forces!
Every English mansion has a locked room, and Grinton Hall is no exception. The library has hidden doors and passages and a corpse. But when the corpse goes missing, Sir John Appleby and Charles Honeybath have an even more perplexing case on their hands – just how did it disappear when the doors and windows were securely locked? A bevy of helpful houseguests offer endless assistance, but the two detectives suspect that they are concealing vital information. Could the treasures on the library shelves be so valuable that someone would murder for them?
Note: The Innes detective Honeybath first appeared in the novel, The Mysterious Commission (1974), and again in Honeybath’s Haven (1977) & Lord Mullion’s Secret (1981), both without Appleby.
Note: A fake kidnapping!
Businessman Carl Carson decides to make a dash for South America to escape the economic slump, leaving his home and his barmy wife. But he has a problem – if his company were seen to be drawing in its horns, it wouldn’t last a week. His solution is his wife’s favourite delusion – an imaginary son, named Robin. Carson plans to stage a fictitious kidnapping. After all, what could be more natural than a father liquidating his assets to pay the ransom demand? Unfortunately, Carson has a rather astute neighbour, Sir John Appleby, ex-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
NY Times Review
Note: A batty murder!
Clusters, a great country house, is troubled by bats, as Lord and Lady Osprey complain to their guests, who include first rate detective, Sir John Appleby. In the matter of bats, Appleby is indifferent, but he is soon faced with a real challenge – the murder of Lord Osprey, stabbed with an ornate dagger in the library.
In addition to the Appleby novels, Innes wrote 13 other mysteries:
What Happened at Hazelwood (1946) Amazon Amazon.ca
From London Far (1946) (AKA: The Unsuspected Chasm) Amazon Amazon.ca
The Journeying Boy (1949) Amazon Amazon.ca
Christmas at Candleshoe (1953) (AKA: Candleshoe) Amazon Amazon.ca
The Man from the Sea (1955) (AKA: Death by Moonlight) Amazon Amazon.ca
Old Hall, New Hall (1956) (AKA: A Question of Queens) Amazon Amazon.ca
The New Sonia Wayward (1960) (AKA: The Case of Sonia Wayward) Amazon Amazon.ca
Money from Holme (1964) Amazon Amazon.ca
A Change of Heir (1966) Amazon Amazon.ca
The Mysterious Commission (1974) Amazon Amazon.ca
Honeybath’s Haven (1977) Amazon Amazon.ca
Going It Alone (1980) Amazon Amazon.ca
Lord Mullion’s Secret (1981) Amazon Amazon.ca
John Appleby Short Stories
Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Note: 23 Appleby Cases
Arbuthnot is paying for a rash decision. He recently married a beautiful but slightly amoral girl whose crazy antics caught his rather cynical professional interest. His wife has taken a lover, Rupert Slade, and Arbuthnot wants nothing more than to see him dead, but the last thing he expected was that he’d walk into his living room and find just that! Inspector Appleby shares the details of this and many other fascinating crimes in this un-missable collection.
1 Appleby’s First Case; 2 Pokerwork; 3 The Spendlove Papers; 4 The Furies; 5 Eye Witness; 6 The Bandertree Case; 7 The Key; 8 The Flight of Patroclus; 9 The Clock-Face Case; 10 Miss Geach; 11 Tragedy of a Handkerchief; 12 The Cave of Belarius; 13 A Nice Cup of Tea; 14 The Sands of Thyme; 15 The X-Plan; 16 Lesson In Anatomy; 17 Imperious Caesar; 18 The Clancarron Ball; 19 A Dog’s Life; 20 A Derby Horse; 21 William the Conqueror; 22 Dead Man’s Shoes; 23 The Lion and the Unicorn
Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Note: 18 more Appleby stories!
Ralph Dangerfield, an Edwardian playwright who belonged to the smartest young set of his day, kept a scandalous diary recording the intimate details of his own life and those of his friends. After his death, it was believed that his mother had burnt the incriminating evidence, but fifty years later, a famous collector of literary curiosities claims to have the diary in his possession and threatens to blackmail fashionable London with belated secrets about people now in respectable old age. Sir John Appleby reveals how he uncovered this unscrupulous crime and talks about his key role in seventeen more intriguing cases.
A matter of goblins
Was he Morton?
The Heritage portrait
Murder on the 7:16
A very odd case
The four seasons
Here is the news
Tom, Dick, and Harry
The Lombard books
Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Note: A two part collection:
The Appleby file:
The conversation piece
Death by water
A question of confidence
The memorial service
Two on a tower
Beggar with skull
The exploding battleship
The body in the glen
Death in the Sun
The coy mistress
The thirteenth priest hole
Appleby Talks About Crime (2010)
Available in paperback and audible editions.
Note: 18 previously uncollected stories
A Small Peter Pry
The Author Changes His Style
The Perfect Murder
The Scattergood Emeralds
The Secret in the Woodpile
The General’s Wife is Blackmailed
Who Suspects the Postman?
A Change of Face
The Theft of the Downing Street Letter
The Tinted Diamonds
Jerry Does a Good Turn for the Djam
The Left-Handed Barber
The Party that Never Got Going
The Mystery of Paul’s “Posthumous” Portrait
The Inspector Feels the Draught
Pelly and Cullis
The Man Who Collected Satchels