The girl was startlingly beautiful. On the other hand, so was the painting she was offering for appraisal - supposedly painted by Rembrandt. But then the girl - and the painting - disappeared.
Par for the course, to be sure, in another witty and erudite mystery by Michael Innes. "Silence Observed" is the subject of this week's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review by clicking here.
It is very difficult to categorize a mystery by Michael Innes, and "Silence Observed" is no exception. It is a story of fraud in both the art and literary worlds, of overly-acquisitive collectors, of forgeries (and forgeries of forgeries) and, most certainly, of murder. It is a detective story, featuring Sir John Appleby, but it is also a thriller, with dramatic chases and a kidnapping and more.
And - being an Innes novel - it is all done with tongue firmly in cheek and with a fair amount of humor. There are the usual English eccentrics who provide some truly memorable characters. There is less of the kind of surreal humor found in many Innes novels, although the plot itself has entertainingly odd twiss and turns. On the whole, a very enjoyable entry in the Appleby saga.
The book appears still to be in print; it's also available in an Amazon Kindle edition.