A gruelling night of shrouded motives and confused identities develops when the last of the Dromios is found murdered, with both of his hands burnt off. He was one of triplets, whose brothers had died in a fire 40 years previously. Inspector Appleby wrenches the facts from a melodrama in which the final solution is written in fire.
Born in Edinburgh in 1906, the son of the city's Director of Education, John Innes Mackintosh Stewart wrote a highly successful series of mystery stories under the pseudonym Michael Innes. Innes was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was presented with the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and named a Bishop Frazer's scholar. After graduation he went to Vienna, to study Freudian psychoanalysis for a year and following his first book, an edition of Florio's translation of Montaigne, was offered a lectureship at the University of Leeds.
In 1932 he married Margaret Hardwick, a doctor, and they subsequently had five children including Angus, also a novelist. The year 1936 saw Innes as Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, during which tenure he wrote his first mystery story, Death at the President's Lodging. With his second, Hamlet Revenge, Innes firmly established his reputation as a highly entertaining and cultivated writer.
After the end of World War II, Innes returned to the UK and spent two years at Queen's University, Belfast where in 1949 he wrote the Journeying Boy, a novel notable for the richly comedic use of an Irish setting. He then settled down as a Reader in English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he retired in 1973.
His most famous character is 'John Appleby', who inspired a penchant for donnish detective fiction that lasts to this day. Innes's other well-known character is 'Honeybath', the painter and rather reluctant detective, who first appeared in 1975 in The Mysterious Commission. The last novel, Appleby and the Ospreys, was published in 1986, some eight years before his death in 1994.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes I would. I really like Matt Addis as a narrator as he manages to distinguish the different people without using silly or grating voices.
Who was your favorite character and why?
In this book Appleby is retired and so is able to have a drink when it's offered and be unconventional. However, he is invited in by a current police colleague who runs through the full gamut of emotions in response to the various antics and revelations along the way. He's my favourite in this story, although the butler, whose chronic alcoholism plays an important role, comes a close second.
Any additional comments?
A very good story with lots of twists and turns.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
All Michael Innes books are highly contrived and you either like ithem or you don't. This one has a slightly Gothic feel to it. The denouement is a bit underwhelming but good bedtime reading.all the same. Personally I liked the narration a lot, just like the book its very old time, if not plummy, but it suited the book.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I would change the narrator, who has given Appleby the weirdest voice. He sounds as if he has had some kind of surgery. The voice is so deep at times as to make it impossible to listen to.
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Night of Errors?
I can't tell you because I didn't manage to listen to the end.
How could the performance have been better?
Listen back to the performance and think about the sound.
Could you see A Night of Errors being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?
Anyone with some gravitas to play Appleby, perhaps Michael Kitchen. I think it could be made into a TV series along with the other Appleby books.