[Epub] ➟ Hamlet, Revenge! ➤ Michael Innes – Shiningweb.info

Hamlet, Revenge! Published in 1937, this is the second in Michael Innes series of detective novels featuring Inspector John Appleby However, Appleby doesn t appear until the second section of the novel the first part is devoted to setting the scene and introducing the very large cast of characters As with many Golden Age mysteries, the action takes place in an English country house in this case, Scamnum Court, which has been home to the Dukes of Horton for centuries The novel opens with friends and acquaintances of the family beginning to arrive at Scamnum to take part in an amateur production of Shakespeare s Hamlet When one of the guests is murdered during the performance, Appleby is called in to investigate.This is a wonderfully complex mystery, even so because Appleby doesn t know exactly what type of crime has been committed The murdered man was an important statesman whose death could have serious implications for the government, giving rise to fears that spies are operating at Scamnum Court On the other hand, a series of revenge themed messages received by the victim and several other guests indicate that this could be a crime of a personal nature With a long list of potential suspects we are told that there are than thirty people involved in the play in some way Appleby is kept busy trying to establish alibis and uncover motives, while avoiding the red herrings that are thrown in his way After a slightly overwhelming As with all detective novels, the solution to the central puzzle of Hamlet, Revenge is somewhat arbitrary, the mystery itself merely providing a context for the author to show off his ingenious plotting Unlike most detective novels, Hamlet, Revenge offers character portraits so complex and sharply observed that the mystery becomes secondary to the thrill of discovery of a world much sophisticated and witty At Scamnum Court, Seat Of The Duke Of Horton, The Lord Chancellor Of England Is Murdered At The Climax Of A Private Presentation Of Hamlet, In Which He Plays Polonius To Solve This Crime, Inspector Appleby Pursues Some Of The Most Famous Names In The Country, Unearthing Dreadful Suspicion. A wealthy duchess has decided to host a large scale house party during which a semi amateur performance of Hamlet will be produced She has assembled a crowd of relations and friends, plus one professional actor and Britain s Lord Chancellor, to carry it off Before the performance, there are various warnings that all is not right in the state of Denmark uh, Surrey anonymous warning messages, strange doings in the garden at night, tensions under the surface But when a death occurs, it s time for Scotland Yard s most promising and most socially acceptable detective to be summoned to the scene.This is a house party mystery with a strong academic undertone Characters debate ad nauseam for some readers the rival merits and interpretations of various historical productions of the play literary allusions and sophisticated banter fly The brutality of the crime and subsequent crimes sit oddly in this context, and are treated as a game or an inconvenience by many of the characters This much is business as usual for many Briti Not my cup of tea This is my first Innes novel, and it ll be a struggle for me to return I love classic mysteries, but this one just seemed off.First, the text is full of what a previous reviewer called anachronistic colonialisms the first chapter was almost impossible to read from my standpoint, with scattered characters speaking in phrases and dialects that I simply could not grasp When an entire conversation occurs in which you can t parse the meaning of a single sentence, something has gone wrong The obscene number of suspects also makes this a tough read, even for a complex murder mystery, and I felt as if this book was almost a private joke for Innes and a few stuffy, well educated friends to pore over.The puzzle is certainly ingenious, and as a Shakespeare nut I highly enjoyed the diverse and co He thinks he won t but he will This statement by a female character said about the male detective s probable bias is typical of how insightful Michael Innes is In a recent book by Michael Lewis, the Undoing Project, Lewis discusses emerging evidence that people are highly controlled by their preconceptions even in the face of overwhelming statistics Innes figured this out 80 years ago As a Scotsman writing about English high society, Innes has just enough objectivity and familiarity to write an incredibly accurate depiction of the motivations and hidden lives of English high society of the late 1930 s The twin tensions of murder and a world on the brink of war are expertly woven through this mystery The setting is a lavish country estate that is staging a production of Hamlet Innes is it at his best here, weaving together two stories in which human motivation rem Hamlet, revengewas first published in 1937, and while it conforms to the conventions of the Golden Age crime novel, with a series of murders committed during a weekend house party in an isolated country home, the concept seems subverted through exaggeration For Scamnum Court is built on a scale that dwarfs Blenheim Palace, with an extensive staff and a large number of guests There are threats, all unclear and undirected, quoting lines taken from Shakespeare or referring to his plays And then the first murder, committed during an amateur staging of the play Hamlet, at the moment when Hamlet runs a sword through Polonius, concealed behind a curtain in the Queen s room The actor pla Marry, this is miching mallecho it means mischief Shakespeare.And so it was And Inspector Appleby arrives to find a man dead on the stage of a private production of Hamlet What does it mean Why Why in those circumstances Is it spies or a very private sort of revenge I loved this book It starts slow, and I wish I d re read Hamlet before hand, but when Appleby arrives en scene, the book becomes compelling.This is my sort of mystery Very cerebral, very puzzle driven, a smart, calculating, inven Innes takes his time setting the stage, introducing us to most of the cast of characters in what is essentially an English country house murder mystery with a twist, as Scamnum Court is closer to a castle than a house and the Duke and Duchess of Horton have over 200 house guests with associated servants The pace picks up considerably once the murder occurs during an amateur performance of Hamlet , and Inspector Appleby is sent to investigate by none other than the Prime Minister himself as there is the possibility of espionage Only hours after arriving, Appleby is confronted with a second corpseInnes writing style is a bit dry with a hidden wit it might not be to everyone s taste but I like it an author who can refer to Conrad s Lord Jim and P.G Wodehouse s Lord Emsworth on the same page and make sly references to Agatha Christie s Hercule Poirot is my k While there s a reasonable story buried in this book, my summary word is indulgent It reads as if the author is playing a lengthy parlour game with a small group of friends and letting the narrative emerge from the game The lengthy first chapter, setting the scene appears designed to eliminate readers without a textual interest in Shakespeare s plays I persevered, mainly because I wanted to see if Appleby rescued the book.Partially he did He is a skillfully drawn character and the police procedures restored some interest enough, at least, for me to finish rea


About the Author: Michael Innes

J.I.M Stewart He was born in Edinburgh, and educated at Edinburgh Academy and Oriel College, Oxford He was Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds from 1930 1935, and spent the succeeding ten years as Jury Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, South Australia He returned to the United Kingdom in 1949, to become a Lecturer at the Queen s University of Belfast In 1949 he became a Student Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, becoming a Professor by the time of his retirement in 1973 As J.I.M Stewart he published a number of works of non fiction, mainly critical studies of authors, including Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling, as well as about twenty works of fiction and a memoir, Myself and Michael Innes As Michael Innes, he published numerous mystery novels and short story collections, most featuring the Scotland Yard detective John Appleby.


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