Appleby at Allington (Michael Innes)

By Michael Innes

First published: UK, Gollancz, 1968; US, Dodd, Mead, 1968, as Death by Water

My review

Late, and despite Barzun and Taylor’s review, mediocre Innes. Three ‘accidents’ happen at Allington Park, owned by Owain Allington, SPOILER who is the only possible candidate for the role of murderer. He is, of course; and the reader is likely to tumble to this fact long before Sir John Appleby, now retired, who discovers two of the victims — the first, while a dinner guest of Allington’s; the second, at a fête. The tale is slender and improbable, the characters thoroughly annoying (it is a pity that the abominable Lethbridge and Barford parents were not murdered in a particularly horrible manner), and the solution, relying on electrical gadgets, not particularly ingenious.

Contemporary reviews

Times Literary Supplement (1st August 1968):

A tasty, vintagey Innes, with the only disadvantage that he doesn’t allow himself space to develop the many engaging characters and plot potentials he starts up in this tale of a mad scientist, a church fête, hidden treasure and some such other oddments.