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Appleby Plays Chicken: Death on a Quiet Day (Inspector Appleby) Paperback – April 16, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Book 16 of 35 in the Inspector Appleby Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Quite tremendous'

About the Author

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.'
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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Appleby (Book 16)
  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus (April 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842327216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842327210
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,389,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
A tutor and his reading-party of undergraduates spend a quiet fortnight at a Dartmoor inn, preparing for final examinations. Their usual idea of relaxation is composing scatty limericks. Sometimes the discussion becomes more serious. One evening, the tutor Pettigrew proposes that the passage into manhood requires a rite of initiation. Much to his regret, the discussion turns to the American concept of 'playing chicken.'

That night after the tutor retires to bed, six of the reading-party pile into an ancient automobile and set out on their own version of the supposed American pastime.

You may be wondering where Sir John Appleby makes his entrance into this moody thriller. Not until page 96, well after the undergraduate David Henchman discovers a body on the moor and is hunted, shot at, temporarily cornered in an abandoned bottle factory, and nearly run over.

When David and Appleby return to the scene of the murder on lonely Knack Tor, they discover a body but it's not same one David found earlier. Someone has made a switch, and David slowly begins to realize that he and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner are involved in a second, much deadlier game of chicken.

The best features of this mystery-thriller-coming-of-age novel are the perilous, extended chase scene after David discovers the first body, and his interplay with Appleby whom he at first mistakes for a middle-aged London bureaucrat.

Innes writes this sort of brave, intelligent but basically innocent undergraduate coming-of-age- under-the-threat-of-death novel so very well. His serial detective Appleby has gotten a trifle old and cynical, but when he assumes the role of stern but witty mentor-under-fire he is at his best.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not one of the best Appleby books but if you are a fan you will like it anyway. If you don't know these books then don't start with this one. save it until later.
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Format: Paperback
A tutor and his reading-party of undergraduates spend a quiet fortnight at a Dartmoor inn, preparing for final examinations. Their usual idea of relaxation is composing scatty limericks. Sometimes the discussion becomes more serious. One evening, the tutor Pettigrew proposes that the passage into manhood requires a rite of initiation. Much to his regret, the discussion turns to the American concept of 'playing chicken.'

That night after the tutor retires to bed, six of the reading-party pile into an ancient automobile and set out on their own version of the supposed American pastime.

You may be wondering where Sir John Appleby makes his entrance into this moody thriller. Not until page 96, well after the undergraduate David Henchman discovers a body on the moor and is hunted, shot at, temporarily cornered in an abandoned bottle factory, and nearly run over.

When David and Appleby return to the scene of the murder on lonely Knack Tor, they discover a body but it's not the same one David found earlier. Someone has made a switch, and David slowly begins to realize that he and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner are involved in a second, much deadlier game of chicken.

The best features of this mystery-thriller-coming-of-age novel are the perilous, extended chase scene after David discovers the first body, and his interplay with Appleby whom he at first mistakes for a middle-aged London bureaucrat.

Innes writes this sort of brave, intelligent but basically innocent undergraduate coming-of-age-under-the-threat-of-death novel so very well. His serial detective Appleby has gotten a trifle old and cynical, but when he assumes the role of stern but witty mentor-under-fire he is at his best.
Read more ›
3 Comments 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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