Every time I discuss the books of Michael Innes, I always find myself saying, "Well, yes, [title being discussed] is excellent - but, in my mind, the best and most dazzling Michael Innes book is "Lament For A Maker."
I have written about it here on many previous postings, and there is an audio review done a few years ago which is still available if you click here. "Lament for a Maker" is set in a remote castle in Scotland, whose miserly and mad owner walks through the frozen, gloomy halls in the dead of winter, chanting the medieval poem, "Lament for the Makers," by William Dunbar. The Latin refrain of that great poem, repeated every fourth line - timor mortis conturbat me - the fear of death confounds me - becomes a haunting theme for the events of the book. There will be murder - an impossible crime, to be sure - and much more; I find that some of the scenes in this beautifully written book stay with me long after the final pages. It is written in the style pioneered by Wilkie Collins in "The Moonstone," with a series of narrators, each peeling away additional layers to reveal the complex plot. There is a great deal of Innes's humor - but there is also genuine tragedy and complex human emotions.
It is, in short, a work I always recommend. The book is still available in print, and Amazon has a Kindle edition available.