'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes

J.I.M. Stewart - Michael Innes

This locked room puzzle mystery was written in 1936. It is an academic mystery. Michael Innes was a Lecturer and Professor of English and lived the academic life from 1949-1973. Mr. Innes was born John Innes Mackintosh Stewart in 1906 in Edinburgh Scotland. Having many literary criticisms and contemporary novels published under his own name he also wrote crime novels under the pseudonym Michael Innes. Most of his crime novels include Inspector Appleby. Death at the President's Lodging is the debut of Appleby.
Not only is the author of this book from Scotland but the book is from Scotland! Sent to me by my good blogpal Katrina. Thank you again Katrina!
This was my first academic mystery. I have to be honest and say that it really isn't the setting for me. The story was very well written and the puzzle was excellent. Quite convoluted, although I had picked the right guy for the murderer I never would have thought of how it all happened. I just didn't care for the 'professors' as characters. I did like Appleby and his sidekick Dodd. I have another Appleby on the shelf and will read it soon.
With these vintage books, it's hard to actually get a copy in your hands to look at and read the synopsis. At least for me it is, we have not one used book store near me:( I have to rely on online purchases for mine. So I am going to just give you the synopsis on the back cover of this book.
'Just beside the President's grotesquely muffled head lay a human skull. and over the surrounding area of the floor were scattered little piles of human bones.'

Inspector John Appleby has a difficult and delicate task when he investigates the murder of the unpopular Josiah Umpleby of St. Anthony's College. The crime is at once intriguing and bizarre, efficient and theatrical - and, intellectually, it is the most challenging crime of his career. For Appleby must pick his way through the malicious gossip and learned squabbles of the college's brightest academics and sift through an embarrassment of clues - genuine and planted.

But with the unexpected aid of three precocious undergraduates and the St. Anthony's burglar a subtle killer is unmasked and the devious dons find that the oddest thing about the case is Appleby himself...
Here is a nice annotated book list Michael if you are interested in looking over his books on the Grobius Shortling Mystery Novel Site

This post is linked to Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 over at Mysteries in Paradise


  1. Peggy Ann,
    It was only after I sent this book that I remembered that it isn't one of his best but I knew you liked locked room mysteries. I read a lot of Innes books in the 1970s and enjoyed them, time for a reread maybe. The books he wrote under the name J.I.M. Stewart are also good.

  2. I did enjoy the mystery itself just couldn't really get into the setting I think. But I also had so much going on while reading it and it took me so long to get done, it might just have been the timing. I will read another one and see if it grows on me!

  3. Peggy Ann,
    I was very interested to see your post about this book. I have been planning to read it soon and this motivates me. I have read the Appleby series before but years ago; and I need a locked room mystery for a reading challenge. My copy has the other title: Seven Suspects. And I enjoyed the Grobius Shortling list. I had not seen that before.

    1. Thanks for stopping over Tracy! I read it for a challenge too. I needed Scottish authors and my dear blog friend in Scotland sent me this. Grobius is a great site. Happy reading!

  4. Thanks for contributing to the CFA Peggy

  5. Hi, Peggy,

    Haven't heard of this writer before, but the book sounds very intriguing.

    1. Innes is a vintage writer, 1930-60's. I love vintage mysteries the most. Thanks for stopping over J.L.

  6. I love locked room mystery. This sounds interesting.

    1. this one is a great puzzle, Srivalli. Thanks for stopping over!


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