Michael Innes

Pseudonym of J. I. M. Stewart

Born: 30 September 1906, Edinburgh, UK

Died: 12 November 1994, Coulsdon, UK


Michael Innes was the most famous of the ‘donnish’ detective writers, a school whose work was fantastical and abounded in literary allusions.  Innes himself described his works as “on the frontier between the detective story and the fantasy; they have a somewhat ‘literary’ flavour but their values remain those of melodrama and not of fiction proper”.

The early books are brilliantly imaginative phantasmagorias.  Innes, however, came to see his stories as a vehicle for his mandarin prose and literary quips.  For this reason, his work increasingly becomes artificial and unconvincing, and ultimately rather tedious.

His series detective is Inspector John Appleby, who somehow becomes head of Scotland Yard.  Charles Honeybath, a painter, appears in four very late novels.

Best books

  • Death at the President’s Lodging (1936)
  • Hamlet, Revenge! (1937)
  • Lament for a Maker (1938)
  • Stop Press (1939)
  • The Daffodil Affair (1942)
  • From London Far (1946)
  • What Happened at Hazelwood (1946)
  • The New Sonia Wayward (1960)

Recommended reading

  • George L. Scheper. Michael Innes.  New York: Ungar, 1986


  1. Death at the President’s Lodging (1936; Appleby)
  2. Hamlet, Revenge! (1937; Appleby)
  3. Lament for a Maker (1938; Appleby)
  4. Stop Press (1939; Appleby; published in the US as The Spider Strikes)
  5. There Came Both Mist and Snow (1940; Appleby; published in the US as A Comedy of Terrors)
  6. The Secret Vanguard (1940; Appleby)
  7. Appleby on Ararat (1941; Appleby)
  8. The Daffodil Affair (1942; Appleby)
  9. The Weight of the Evidence (1944; Appleby)
  10. Appleby’s End (1945; Appleby)
  11. From London Far (1946; published in the US as The Unsuspected Chasm)
  12. What Happened at Hazelwood (1946)
  13. A Night of Errors (1948; Appleby)
  14. The Journeying Boy (1949; published in the US as The Case of the Journeying Boy)
  15. Operation Pax (1951; Appleby; published in the US as The Paper Thunderbolt)
  16. A Private View (1952; Appleby; published in the US as One-Man Show; also published as Murder is an Art)
  17. Christmas at Candleshoe (1953; published in the US as Candleshoe)
  18. Appleby Talking (1954; short stories; published in the US as Dead Man’s Shoes)
  19. The Man from the Sea (1955; published in the US as Death by Moonlight)
  20. Old Hall, New Hall (1956; published in the US as A Question of Queens)
  21. Appleby Talks Again (1956; short stories)
  22. Appleby Plays Chicken (1957; published in the US as Death on a Quiet Day)
  23. The Long Farewell (1958; Appleby)
  24. Hare Sitting Up (1959; Appleby)
  25. The New Sonia Wayward (1960; published in the US as The Case of Sonia Wayward)
  26. Silence Observed (1961; Appleby)
  27. A Connoisseur’s Case (1962; Appleby; published in the US as The Crabtree Affair)
  28. Money from Holme (1964)
  29. The Bloody Wood (1966; Appleby)
  30. A Change of Heir (1966)
  31. Appleby at Allington (1968; published in the US as Death by Water)
  32. A Family Affair (1969; Appleby; published in the US as Picture of Guilt)
  33. Death at the Chase (1970; Appleby)
  34. An Awkward Lie (1971; Appleby)
  35. The Open House (1972; Appleby)
  36. Appleby’s Answer (1973)
  37. Appleby’s Other Story (1974)
  38. The Mysterious Commission (1974; Charles Honeybath)
  39. The Appleby File (1976; short stories)
  40. The Gay Phoenix (1976; Appleby)
  41. Honeybath’s Haven (1977; Charles Honeybath)
  42. The Ampersand Papers (1978; Appleby)
  43. Going It Alone (1980)
  44. Lord Mullion’s Secret (1981; Charles Honeybath)
  45. Sheiks and Adders (1982; Appleby)
  46. Appleby and Honeybath (1983)
  47. Carson’s Conspiracy (1984)
  48. Appleby and the Ospreys (1986)
  49. Appleby Talks About Crime (2010; short stories)