Friday, November 29, 2013

The Loquacious Inspector

APPLEBY TALKS ABOUT CRIME.
By Michael Innes. Edited by John Cooper.
Crippen & Landru.
2010. 180 pages.
Collection: 18 short and short-short stories.
Microform Innes:
I haven’t read much by Innes, and my preference is for his short stories rather than the novels – an early sampling of the novels in my teens was a bit off-putting, though that was probably due to my lack of sophistication – but he was a major figure in the genre . . . — Martin Edwards, DO YOU WRITE UNDER YOUR OWN NAME? (9 March 2010)
Appleby was a 'new cop'—that is, a person of intelligence, tact, and intellectual interests. Some would say too much as he can be very obscure and obfuscatory. — Wyatt James, GAD Wiki
Innes mysteries frequently have a background of people in literature and the arts. In this they recall S. S. Van Dine and his followers in the United States, and such later British writers as Nicholas Blake and Margery Allingham. Innes' short stories tend to have puzzle plots that are solved through pure thinking: also in the "intuitionist" tradition embodied in the Van Dine School. — Mike Grost, A GUIDE TO CLASSIC MYSTERY AND DETECTION
Depending on 'how you like' your detectives Appleby's main character trait is either his greatest strength or weakness. The characteristic urbane and witty replies, literary flourishes and extensive quotations probably repel as many readers as they attract. — R. D. Collins, CLASSIC CRIME FICTION
Under the pseudonym of Michael Innes, Oxford don John Innes Macintosh Stewart (1906-1994) was a dominant figure in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, when the mystery story was an elegant and witty entertainment, when all the clues were given so that the reader (if quick-witted enough) could reach the solution at the same time as the detective. — CRIPPEN & LANDRU
[The stories] are clearly set in England, but in “the Town” and not “the Gown,” almost entirely in the 1950s, and nearly all of them tend to the anecdote. There are no blood and thunder, no angst, no major character development (except by inference). Since most of the stories run to five pages or so (and require about that many minutes to read), the emphasis is necessarily on the puzzle—although the reader will be hard-pressed to solve them himself due to Innes’ tendency to withhold essential facts. To appreciate these stories, simply sit back, let the author’s cleverness be revealed, and marvel at how he has compacted what lesser writers would need sixty times as much space to accomplish (indeed, some of the plots are wonderfully complicated and could easily have been attenuated to book length). — Mike Gray, THE AMERICAN CULTURE (June 16, 2010).
Story contents:

"A Small Peter Pry"
"The Author Changes His Style"
"The Perfect Murder"
"The Scattergood Emeralds"
"The Impressionist"
"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"

Category: Detective fiction

1 comment:

  1. I've only read one Michael Innes novel and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I suppose I should give him another chance but he struck me as being a bit too self-consciously modern for my tastes.

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