Written and set in the 1930s this book is a mixture of whodunnit and spy thriller. The country house is no less than a ducal palace; the guests have assembled to stage an amateur production of Hamlet. The Lord Chancellor (playing Polonius) is the victim.
The mixture of highest society and academia (there are an awful lot of literary references betokening an England in which all aristocrats were superbly read in the classics; even the duchess frequents the Reading Room of the British Museum) makes for rather dated dialogue. The denouement was not exactly open to being guessed. As per usual the sidekick (a don who pseudonymously writes mystery novels as a sideline just like Michael Innes himself!) lays out the solution to the assembled company and gets it wrong; the sleuth (a Scotland Yard inspector called John Appleby) gets it right at the very end.
The most delightful moment came when one of the guests/ suspects tries to persuade the Duke to call in a detective: a rather odd but superbly successful foreign gentlemen who must be Hercule Poirot.
- Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57