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Description - Appleby and the Ospreys by Michael Innes

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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842327197
ISBN-10: 1842327194
Format: Paperback
(205mm x 135mm x 11mm)
Pages: 168
Imprint: House of Stratus
Publisher: House of Stratus
Publish Date: 12-Feb-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Appleby and the Ospreys by Michael Innes

US Kirkus Review » This welcome appearance by Innes' Sir John Appleby - by rough count his 30th outing since arriving on the scene in 1936 - is rather morbidly offered as "what may prove to be Appleby's final performance." Though now 80, however, Innes - the grand old don of British mystery fiction - seems in fine fettle here, with enough dry wit and relaxed erudition to compensate for a slender, ho-hum plot. Lord Osprey of Clusters (a vast country manse on a bit of island surrounded by muddy water) has been found dead in his library, stabbed in the throat. So retired super-cop Appleby, a neighbor and acquaintance, reluctantly agrees to help in the sleuthing. . .and tidies things up in about 24 hours. At first the likely culprit would seem to be the local tavernkeeper, whose nubile daughter was allegedly ravished by dirty old Lord O. But Appleby focuses instead on Lord O.'s famous coin collection, which is hidden somewhere in the house. And, besides the inevitable butler, the suspects (down for a weekend house-party, of course) include Lord O.'s sullen son, his flaky brother-in-law (a coin scholar), and two ladies with their own numismatic obsessions. The puzzle is paper-thin, nearly transparent; there's virtually no action (aside from a Hitchcockian last-page demise for the killer). But devotees of refined English mystery-comedy will find this a tasty little morsel - with suave repartee (though Appleby's straight-faced use of the "nigger in the woodpile" expression should have been edited out), gently chortling narration, and a country house whose odd features include a bona fide "trompe-l'oeil trompe-l'oeil." (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Michael Innes

Born in Edinburgh in 1906, the son of the city's Director of Education, John Innes Mackintosh Stewart wrote a highly successful series of mystery stories under the pseudonym Michael Innes. Innes was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was presented with the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and named a Bishop Frazer's scholar. After graduation, he went to Vienna to study Freudian psychoanalysis for a year and following his first book, an edition of Florio's translation of 'Montaigne', was offered a lectureship at the University of Leeds. In 1932 he married Margaret Hardwick, a doctor, and they subsequently had five children including Angus, also a novelist. The year 1936 saw Innes as Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, during which tenure he wrote his first mystery story, 'Death at the President's Lodging'. With his second, 'Hamlet Revenge', Innes firmly established his reputation as a highly entertaining and cultivated writer. After the end of World War II, he returned to the UK and spent two years at Queen's University, Belfast, where in 1949 he wrote the 'Journeying Boy', a novel notable for the richly comedic use of an Irish setting. He then settled down as a Reader in English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he retired in 1973. Innes's most famous character is 'John Appleby', who inspired a penchant for donnish detective fiction that lasts to this day. His other well-known character is 'Honeybath', the painter and rather reluctant detective, who first appeared in 1975 in 'The Mysterious Commission'. The last of the Innes novels, 'Appleby and the Ospreys', was published in 1986, some eight years before his death in 1994. His work is still very highly regarded and 'Appleby's End' and 'The New Sonia Wayward' were chosen by H.R.F. Keating as being amongst the best 100 crime novels ever written. The 'Times Literary Supplement' said of him: 'A Master - he constructs a plot that twists and turns like an electric eel: it gives you shock upon shock and you cannot let go.'

Books By Michael Innes

Silence Observed by Michael Innes
Paperback, April 2001
Appleby File by Michael Innes
Paperback, February 2001
Appleby on Ararat by Michael Innes
Paperback, February 2001
Change of Heir by Michael Innes
Paperback, February 2001