Sunday, 7 October 2018
Michael Innes' A Night of Errors was first published in 1947 and is the eleventh in the series which features his detective, John Appleby. As so often in this series, it's a country house setting, this time full of triplets, arson and madness. Innes' plots are always convoluted and baroque in construction, but Appleby - as ever - seems to sort out the solution while not appearing to do anything much except think.
Michael Innes books are a bit of an acquired taste: his writing is full of literary jokes and flamboyant verbiage (never use one word when five or six will do instead) and there's a tendency for the action to happen off-stage. And to be absolutely truthful, this wasn't one of his very best, so I wouldn't recommend starting with it. If you haven't read Innes, go for one his absolute classics, like Hamlet, Revenge! and then, if you love that I'd recommend reading Appleby's End before A Night of Errors - the cheerful insanity of the former will prepare you for the outright lunacy of the latter. By the time you've worked your way through all three there's a good chance you've fallen for Innes' style and will want to read all the rest. On the other hand, if you've already made the acquaintance of Edmund Crispin's Gervase Fen, and are a fan, you'll probably be quite comfortable with Appleby.
My thanks to Netgalley and the Crime Classics Review Club for a copy of this book (and my apologies to the latter for having a whole pile of reviews to catch up on!).