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Hamlet, Revenge! by Michael Innes
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Hamlet, Revenge! (1937)

by Michael Innes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Appleby Mysteries (2)

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English (14)  Spanish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Quotes which sparked reflection:
"But all have known that essentially they must contrive to be seen as from a long way off, that they have their tenure in remaining - remote, jeweled, and magical - a focus for the fantasy-life of thousands." (pg.227) (This book was published in 1937!)
"Leisure had gone...and the others were not so much leisured as laboriously idle." (p.255)
(speaking of a castle) "But now it was less a human dwelling than a dream - symbol of centuries of rule, a fantasy created from the tribute of ten thousand cottages long perished from the land." (p.328)
" I suppose it is that there are people who, when the spectacle of evil opens at their feet, will stand insulated and immobile before that black pit."(p.329)
and, for mystery readers and writers everywhere: " "'And what', he asked with sober interest 'brought you to detective stories?' 'Moral compulsion. The effort to give a few hours' amusement as a sort of discount on many hours boredom.'"(p.256)

( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Scamnum Court is known as a hangout for the rich and famous. For one of their parties, they decide to put on a production of Hamlet with a selection of notable actors and guests. However, Polonius ends up dead in real life. Inspector Appleby must investigate.

I found this difficult to get through. Normally I like mysteries with a theatrical element, but this one had a heavy narrative style and the various characters had names that slipped out of my memory (“who’s that person again?”). There was some element of Appleby getting information that the reader might not have access to, making this a frustrating read. And the one non-white character is described most patronizingly. This was listed on the Crime Writers’ Association Top 100 Crime Novels list, but it won’t be my favourite on the list. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 3, 2018 |
Not my cup of tea. This is my first Innes novel, and it'll be a struggle for me to return. I love classic mysteries, but this one just seemed off.

First, the text is full of what a previous reviewer called "anachronistic colonialisms": the first chapter was almost impossible to read from my standpoint, with scattered characters speaking in phrases and dialects that I simply could not grasp. (When an entire conversation occurs in which you can't parse the meaning of a single sentence, something has gone wrong.) The obscene number of suspects also makes this a tough read, even for a complex murder mystery, and I felt as if this book was almost a private joke for Innes and a few stuffy, well-educated friends to pore over.

The puzzle is certainly ingenious, and as a Shakespeare nut I highly enjoyed the diverse and complex thoughts, discussions, parodies and references to the Bard. Clearly my negative response to this book is a personal conflict with the author's aims, and shouldn't be taken as indicative of the book's general quality. Yet.... just not for me. ( )
1 vote therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Full of fun, yet melancholy. In this second entry in the Appleby series, WWII is at the door. There are some nicely turned commentaries on the disintegration of society. Yet, the brief appearance of the Prime Minister, every part about the Scots gardener, and the excuses of the late arriving guests are hilarious. As in the previous book, the architecture and the setting play an important part and are expertly evoked and hyperbolically described. As before, Appleby is physically perfect, but unobtrusively so; in this book, he's an exceptionally fast runner and a crack shot.

This is the kind of book you can read multiple times; it matters not that you remember the murderer, the motive, and the denouement, it's still so much fun.

I wonder if the character of Mr. Bose was suggested by Ramanujan.

Some of the devices used by the bad guys and by the good ones are absolutely preposterous, of course. But this is part of the fun.

Noel Gylby appears in the next book, "Lament for a Maker" and then disappears forever, and this book is the second and last appearance of Giles Gott. But the Duke of Horton reappears in several more books, in minor roles. ( )
  themulhern | Jan 8, 2017 |
The Lord Chancellor is shot while playing Polonius in an amateur production of "Hamlet" at the Duke of Horton's stately home. Was it the work of a spy trying to get hold of a secret document or was it the result of long-repressed and festering hatred?

Although dated in some respects (particularly in the attitudes to the Indian character Mr. Bose), a lot of the social commentary and sense of a world being overtaken by the forces of unreason is still true mutatis mutandis 80 years on. ( )
1 vote Robertgreaves | Jun 22, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Innesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aldridge, AlanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The actors come hither my Lord ...
We'll hear a play tomorrow
.
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When you spend a summer holiday in the Horton country you must not fail to make the ascent of Horton Hill.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140016406, Paperback)

The murder was planned, deliberately, and at obvious risk, to take place bang in the middle of a private performance of Hamlet. Behind the scenes are thirty-one suspects, twenty-seven more in the select and distinguished audience. "Suspicions", said Appleby, "crowd thick and fast upon us".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

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