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Death At The President's Lodging: Seven…

Death At The President's Lodging: Seven Suspects (original 1936; edition 2001)

by Michael Innes (Author)

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5071729,646 (3.53)61
Title:Death At The President's Lodging: Seven Suspects
Authors:Michael Innes (Author)
Info:House of Stratus (2001), 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:golden age crime, michael innes

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Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes (1936)



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Tedious. Characterization very thin. Similar in many ways to other 'Golden Age' mysteries of the 1930s, but it lacks the charm of Dorothy L. Sayers or the humour of John Dickson Carr.

This was Innes' first mystery (and the only one I've read) so perhaps he got better, since the series is well-regarded. ( )
  Crypto-Willobie | Nov 12, 2018 |
While reading this, I was sometimes convinced that Michael Innes was writing primarily for his own amusement. This tale, which takes place in a cloistered university setting, such as those he was intimately familiar with, takes time to introduce us to all sorts of esoteric knowledge and the somewhat inexplicable, but always very peculiar, behavior of the all-male cast of characters at its center, who include the various members of the faculty under suspicion for the murder of the college President, three clever students playing as amateur sleuths, the well-educated police inspector sent from Scotland Yard (Innes’ long-running character, Appleby), the not so highly-educated, but undoubtedly clever local police representative, his staff who perform several useful parts of the investigation, various employees of the college, and the occasional pubkeeper or postman. The lack of females is so notable that Innes goes out of his way to point out the only appearance of a woman in the book!

To someone of the author’s intellect and cultural and educational background, this book is probably highly amusing, perhaps even side-splitting. For a more ordinary American reader of the 21st century, rather than 1936, when the book was first published, it is still mostly enjoyable, but occasionally too British for even a semi-Anglophile to decipher all the references and some of the language (being a classical scholar would help). And there is a LOT of language. Conversations go on for pages, and the characters use words I have never even seen before—good words, however, and reading on a Kindle puts their meaning close at hand. Nevertheless, the book is seriously over-verbose.

As for the mystery, we are taken through Appleby’s (and the three student sleuths’) attempts to unravel it in great detail. Clues collected by the police are described in detail as they arrive. Elaborate timetables are constructed and discussed (yes, at length). The final solution, complex though it may be, makes sense. If you are seriously interested in solving it yourself, you should keep a notebook, as Appleby does, noting the tiems and places from the various players’ accounts and the police reports. But be warned: Innes is devious.

As part of his fun here, one of the faculty is also (under a pseudonym) a well known crime author. This gives Innes the opportunity to, in a fictional setting, talk about the differences between how crimes are solved in real life (lots of loose ends go unresolved) and how they are solved in detective novels (everything is neatly tied up). Appleby, though he considers himself to be a fictional character, nevertheless prefers the detective story approach, as if he were in a novel. This is the type of game Innes likes to play with the reader, but again, I think he is mainly amusing himself. I would have been more amused if the book were ¾ its length. ( )
2 vote datrappert | Dec 21, 2017 |
A complicated (one might say a bit too convoluted) academic murder mystery, the first appearance of Inspector Appleby. I'll be interested to see how the character develops; I enjoyed the humor and wit of this one, and will certainly read more from the series. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 25, 2016 |
Dr Umpleby, President of St Anthony's College, is found shot dead in his study. Only seven people could have had access to the study without being seen. But which one of them was it?

Michael Innes hadn't quite got into his stride in this first of the Appleby books but it's still has all his trademark humour and intelligence. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jun 16, 2015 |
This first installment of the Inspector Appleby series is a classic locked-room mystery set in the fictional St. Anthony's college, where its president, Dr. Umpleby, has just been murdered. Because of the prominence of the victim, Inspector Appleby is summoned from Scotland Yard to assist the local police. He soon learns that the layout of the college would have made it impossible for someone without a key to access the scene of the crime. Therefore, suspicion centers around the other fellows of the college, most of whom either had a key or could easily obtain one. As Appleby begins his investigation, he notices strong tensions among these men and uncovers various professional rivalries. He also begins to realize that the case is cluttered with many side issues and diversions. But as he sifts the relevant facts from the distractions, Appleby eventually reaches a conclusion as bizarre as it is shocking.

I've now read two mysteries by Michael Innes, and what I've learned is that I love his solutions, but I'm not terribly fond of how he gets there! In most mysteries that I read, there's not a lot of irrelevant information; every fact the detective discovers is a clue. In this book, on the other hand, much of what Appleby discovers isn't relevant to the solution of the murder. This is certainly more realistic than, say, a Poirot mystery, but it made the reading experience more difficult for me. I also didn't like the relative lack of character delineation. It's been less than a month since I read this book, and already I couldn't tell you the main suspects' names! Nobody (including Appleby) has much personality, so the murder is more like a logic puzzle than a dramatic event involving actual human beings. All that said, I really did love the solution to this one, which got downright farcical in places! So overall, I'm glad I read this book, but I doubt I'll get sucked into the rest of the series -- which is probably a good thing!
1 vote christina_reads | Jun 13, 2014 |
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Michael Innesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hogan, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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An academic life, Dr Johnson observed, puts one little in the way of extraordinary casualties.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140105557, Paperback)

Inspector John Appleby has a difficult and delicate task when he investigates the murder of the unpopular Josiah Umpleby of St Anthony's College.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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. Legendary character Inspector John Appleby of Scotland Yard inspired a lasting vogue for donnish detective fiction. Innes's detective novels are playfully highbrow and rich in allusions to English literature and to Renaissance art.… (more)

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