This week's selection for our "Classic Mysteries" podcast review is pretty exciting to me, because it represents a series of new adventures for an old friend. The adventures are new to me, anyway, and the old friend is Sir John Appleby, the detective created by Michael Innes. 18 previously uncollected short stories about Appleby are contained in the newly-released volume, "Appleby Talks About Crime," edited by John Cooper and published by Crippen & Landru in their Lost Classics series. You can listen to a full review here.
Michael Innes was the pen name of John Innes Macintosh Stewart. He created Appleby during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and he carried on with stories and novels well into the 1980s. The short stories collected in this new volume were written primarily in the 1950s for newspapers and magazines, so they are generally quite short. But they are all intricate and many are amusing, for Innes wrote his mysteries with humor and wit. Many deal with murder, some with other crimes, most have the ability to surprise the reader even while they follow the rules of fair play.
The collection is rounded out with John Cooper's interesting introduction, a memoir about her father by Dr. Margaret Macintosh Hamilton and an essay on Appleby by Innes himself. "In forty years," he writes, "I have never quite got tired of John Appleby as a pivot round which farce and mild comedy and parody and freakish fantasy revolve." That is what you will find in "Appleby Talks About Crime."