Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Death On A Quiet Day by Michael Innes + #Giveaway

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes
First published in the UK as Appleby Plays Chicken by Gollancz in 1956. Republished under its American title, Death On A Quiet Day by Agora Books in 2019.

One of my Classics Club Challenge reads and a 2019 COYER Summer Hunt Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

David realised that he had tumbled in upon something that was not merely a mess… He had tumbled in upon a mystery.

Desperate for some time away from his rowdy peers, David Henchman heads out of Oxford for a hike across Dartmoor. Relishing the peace and quiet, the last thing David expects to find at the top of Knack Tor is a dead body.

Positioned with a gun in his hand and a bullet hole in his forehead, David assumes the shot was self-inflicted. But when somebody else ambles up the steep tor, David has second thoughts.

And when shots ring out, David finds himself fleeing for his life across the wild moors. Will Appleby be able to find David before it’s too late – or will he be the next victim in this deadly game of cat and mouse?

Death On A Quiet Day was published in the mid-1950s, but has the sort of timeless setting common to novels about upper class English men. Here the protagonists are a small group of male Oxbridge students who have gone on some sort of study retreat with their professor. Ensconced in a Dartmoor hotel, they plan to read worthy texts and debate philosophical issues. This gentility is thwarted however when one of the group stumbles over a corpse on the moor and is then forced into a Hannay-esque race for his life, attempting to escape from anonymous shady characters who keep trying to shoot him. The hunt, for all its implausible moments, does make for exciting reading. I did struggle to take seriously the idea of an assassin wearing knickerbockers though!

Our hero, Inspector Appleby, doesn't actually even put in an appearance until a good third of the way through the novel. I'm not really sure how I felt about him because Innes didn't give him much of a character. In fact the characterisation for every man is pretty weak and the few women might as well be cardboard cutouts. Perhaps, as this is the sixteenth book of the Appleby series, readers are already supposed to be independently imagining whatever foibles and mannerisms had been described in previous stories? For me this lack of personality was a shame though. The mystery itself is well plotted and satisfying, and I liked the Dartmoor setting which gives a good atmosphere to Innes' tale. Overall I thought Death On A Quiet Day was pretty good for its time, but I wonder if the earlier Appleby novels would be stronger?

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a Kindle copy of Death On A Quiet Day by Michael Innes.
Open until the 11th September to anyone who can receive an Amazon UK gifted ebook.

Death On A Quiet Day by Michael Innes ebook giveaway

This giveaway is not connected with the author, publisher or Amazon. I will personally be gifting a copy of the ebook to the giveaway winner.
The giveaway closes at midnight (UK time) on the 11th September and I will pick a winner on the 12th. That winner will have three days to respond to my email otherwise the prize will be forfeit. And, yes, I Will be checking that the winning entrant actually completed the winning task!

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  1. What an interesting storyline. This sounds like a good book.

  2. I really like these timeless kinds of stories, thanks for the review!

    1. I'm hoping to pick up some of the earlier books in this series

  3. Odd. Normally if a series gets to 16 books then the Inspector would be a really strong presence. I guess that isn't true for older series. ❤️

    1. It's almost as though Innes had got a bit bored of Appleby by this sixteenth book!!

  4. Replies
    1. I did quite enjoy the story and Dartmoor atmosphere

  5. Congratulations to Jade J who's won the Death On A Quiet Day giveaway!
    If that's not you, there's lots more giveaways to enter here: