Cover Image: The Weight of the Evidence

The Weight of the Evidence

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You may need to be an Innes fan to enjoy this book
I suspect this is likely to be a Marmite book - readers will either relish the unusual style and setting or feel somewhat alienated by the repeated use of unexplained Latin phrases and pompous vocabulary. In its favour there was some quirky humour and well-constructed descriptive narrative. However, for this reader at least, the style was not especially fluent and the cleverly constructed denouement failed to impress because of the excessively 'clever' academic references and the somewhat heavy weather encountered in ploughing through seemingly irrelevant detail. In contrast, for example, David Lodge makes a far better fist of creating interesting stories with a humorous twist in an academic setting. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for access to a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A good interesting mystery. It was entertaining even if the language is a bit aged.
Many thanks to Ipso Books and Netgalley
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The Inspector Appleby mysteries are clever, well written, and always a challenge for the armchair detective.  The Weight of the Evidence is a bizarre mystery, but one that is all the more entertaining for the variety of potential motives and suspects.  The characters themselves are the strange assortment that you find at almost any educational institution, set in their habits and more likely than not, not to notice anything out of the ordinary.  When Professor Pluckrose is killed by a falling meteorite (one falling from the roof, not the sky), Inspector Appleby is called in to determine the culprit.  What makes things all the more difficult is that the various academics are easily distracted and have only a vague notion of truth and reality.  On top of that, each professor has his own suspicions about the murder and its relation to the practical jokes that have been occuring on campus.  Inspector Appleby takes a relaxed, systematic approach to the investigation.  The end result came as a surprise, but was nonetheless satisfying.

The Weight of the Evidence is a clever, well written story with very little violence.  It is a classic British police procedural that focuses on the puzzle as well as the strange assortment of characters involved.  It is a relaxing read, light on tension and full of curious bits of humor.

4 / 5

I received a copy of The Weight of the Evidence from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.

-- Crittermom
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A little too much ironic distance and wry winks to the reader for me to fully engage with this one. It was a bit like watching Murder by Death, a thoroughly irritating experience in that I just want the mystery dammit, and not the "aren't we all so much more clever for not really enjoying this" tone. Maybe Innes isn't for me?  Anyway, give it a shot if you like a little snobbishness in your mystery.
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Let's get one thing aside, the end and the resolution of the murder mystery was nothing usual.and slightly disappointing too.  It was so unlike the investigative books I read but then , this was written yearssss ago and I kept reading as I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. The slow lazy pace of the investigations , the elderly self indulged professors , the conversations and the slightly gossipy setting if the university. It's all so charming. Read it just for that. It transports you to a different world.
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I have to say that I didn't enjoy The Weight Of The Evidence as much as some Innes novels.  It has his characteristic dry, satirical wit but I do have my reservations.

This, the eighth in the Appleby series, sees him in "Nestfield" University (a scarcely disguised Leeds) investigating the death of an academic who has been killed by a falling meteorite.  It is plainly an act of murder and Innes's trademark cast of wittily satirised suspect characters and a plot which depends intricately upon precise times and the exact placement of buildings and people develops.

Innes's skewering portraits of academics when set in Oxford seem like poking fun at his peers.  Here, I find a tinge of condescension which I don’t like at all.  I know that Innes himself was a lecturer at Leeds and he even has Appleby inwardly condemn one academic as a snob, but there is still a slight air of sneering at provincials who don't do things "properly" in the way that Oxford Colleges do.  As a result it seemed far more self-consciously - perhaps even self-regardingly - highbrow than some of his other books.  This is a personal feeling, and I'm sure it is not what Innes intended, but it still marred my enjoyment in quite a few places.

Others may not agree, and certainly if you like Innes's dry, witty academic banter and rather grumpy take on modern (i.e. 1940s) life there is much here to enjoy.  For me, though, it's not one I'll be going back to.

(My thanks to Ipso Books for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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I do enjoy these old fashioned English mystery, but this one by Michael Innes was a real challenge, I did struggle through it, but unfortunately it really did not met the mark. . I guess occasionally  you get that with an author so don't be put off reading his other books, which I found very entertaining.
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Professor Pluckrose is killed by a skilfully-launched meteorite while sitting on a deckchair in the quadrangle of Nesfield University. Inspector Hobhouse and John Appleby investigate.

Nesfield is closely based on Leeds University where J I M Stewart lectured from 1930-35. The story is broadly a send-up of the detective genre and of the petty world of provincial Academe. It is full of Classical and Eng. Lit. quotations and allusions, whimsy and artifice, a blend which many may find irritating and over-elaborate.

I found it easier to read-and stomach- than many Innes novels. Treat it as a kind of intellectual  exercise and you will enjoy it. After all, there may be-and are- many possible solutions to this mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ipso Books for the digital review copy.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

Inspector Appleby is sent to investigate the death of a professor at Nesfield University. Professor Pluckrose was apparently killed by a meteorite, although one that had some months previously fallen to earth. 

Although this had its moments of humour, and Appleby and his fellow police officer Hobhouse were likeable characters, I did not really enjoy this novel, There were countless whimsical and academic asides, which were uninteresting and often hard to grasp for those of us without a background in the Classics. The suspects were all men (women being mostly relegated to the roles of landlady and girlfriend) and hard to keep distinct in one's mind. The solution was explained in the most convoluted fashion of any detective novel I have read and not terribly satisfactory, although various earlier themes and clues were duly tied in.

I would not have persisted with this novel had I not been reviewing i,t and will not be seeking out any further books by this author.

On a technical note, the plan of the courtyard was too small to make out and could not be enlarged on my Kindle.
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Excellent! Engaging,atmospheric and hugely enjoyable.
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A nostalgic detective story full of academic banter and send-ups and a witty swipe at the genre with surely one of the craziest murder weapons ever: a meteorite! Appleby is at home amongst the pomposity, and is ahead of us in untangling a case not quite as convoluted as usual. This series has grown on me - fun!
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