Death on a Quiet Day

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 May 2019

Member Reviews

This is what felt like a light-hearted tale of young student David Henchman who while out for a walks finds a dead body. Except when he comes back with the police the body has disappeared. It gets a bit farcical as the bodies swap several times. There's also a chase scene which went on a bit too long for me. I enjoyed the setting of the book and it does pack a lot into it. Quite enjoyable
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The Inspector Appleby books I’m finding to be quite a mixed bag, in the sense that you never know what you are going to get. They are always entertaining and will always have a crime at the centre but sometimes they can be relatively serious, sometimes a little more humorous and occasionally verging on farce and slapstick.

This is the case with ‘Death on a Quiet Day’. It starts with a fairly light-hearted description of college life focusing on a group of students, one of whom is to be caught up in a murder through no fault of his own. It then rapidly turns into a convoluted and ever increasingly unbelievable chase story along the lines of ‘The 39 Steps’. It is a good third of the way through, right at the end of the chase, before Inspector Appleby turns up and proves to be his usual cryptic self. It is here that things take a (relatively) more steady and sensible turn, with a proper investigation and a puzzle and solution that have a logic to them as well as some hidden factors that up the suspense.
Once again, really quite enjoyable!
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David Henchman, a member of a reading party with a bunch of students and their tutor Pettifor, is in a country inn in Monachorum.  The boys play "chicken" one night, and the next morning David is ready to have a quiet time out in the country.  He sees Knack Tor, and decides to climb it.  As he is climbing he hear's a shot.  As he crawls over the rim, he sees a man lying on his back holding a gun with a hole in his forehead.  He looks around the edge and sees a man walking by and calls him up.  It is soon apparent to David that the man might have something to do with the killed man.  He starts running and has a wild time.  The man chasing him blows a whistle and another man comes running.  He tries to hook a ride with a young woman, but the car won't start. He runs more and goes into a decaying building where he throws a lot of bottles, jumps into a hay wagon, and finally jumps onto a riderless horse where he is still being followed.  He loses his followers temporarily, and finds his friend Ian who was about to go in an ambulance, but they change places.  The ambulance takes him to a police station where he meets Appleby.  They go back to the Tor, and there is a different dead man lying there.  The new corpse is Redwine, a man Appleby knows.    

But the quiet day isn't over.  At least one more man must die, while Appleby continues to his secret in an ivy-covered tower.  This is a very convoluted plot, where the characters are not always what they seem, but it is certainly an exciting read.
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Book 16 in the Inspector Appleby mysteries - a welcome re-issue, originally published as 'Appleby Plays Chicken'. Another satisfying read from Michael Innes written with both flair and humour - a murder mystery bordering on swiftly moving thriller, peppered with suspense, leading to a very enjoyable conclusion. Innes fans will surely not be disappointed.
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After the first chapter this book reads like a Richard Haney adventure _ then the surprises begin _ and when Inspector Appleby appears the story takes on all the characteristics of a classic crime novel.  For this reader that is a treat indeed _ and this book does not disappoint.  A fast pace, several red herrings and an ending with a few surprises and Appleby rounds it off _ Brilliant!  Please bring on more Inspector Appleby.
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What a titillating, enjoyable mystery romp in the English countryside!

Written almost tongue in cheek, this was a really good read and just what I needed. I will certainly look out for more books by Michael Innes, and I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of death, humour and a moor or two. 

And, as it should be, there are some sort of military chaps and what could be a vicar involved, as well as an undergraduate bloke who seems to stumble from one death scene to the next with perfect pitch. Utter fun. If you don't  mind murder of course. 

Excellent stuff!
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I have never read an Appleby book before this one but found this to be a pleasant read. I'll go back and read the other books in the series now I think.
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Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes
An Inspector Appleby Book #16

Originally published in 1956 this murder mystery was written over seventy years ago. I have to say that as I began reading I realized once again that books written long ago have much more description and less dialogue and action...or it often seems so. And yet, there is something to be said for the style of Innes writing. He may tend to tell the story more than have it unroll like a modern movie filled with special effects but once I got into the rhythm of the story I was definitely intrigued and wanted to find out what would happen. 

As I read I realized that this book takes place only a few years after the austerity of WWII in England. I just looked up to find out when food rationing was discontinued and it was in 1954. It put this entire story in a different light for some reason. Many of the characters had been in the military or perhaps even spies but were back to “real” life again. Gettinga glimpse of that time period was a treat. 

David Henchman was an intriguing character. When he realizes his life is in danger he runs...and uses his brain to find a way to stay alive until he eventually runs into Inspector Appleby. Sir John Appleby may be on holiday in the area but his experiences before and now working for Scotland Yard have him seeing that David’s situation requires some looking into. As the two talk and David tells Sir John what he has experienced that morning the two realize that not only a murder or two have occurred but there is a mystery surrounding the deaths that needs to be looked into. 

I found the process Appleby used to find out what was going on very interesting in deed. There were no cell phones or computers or forensic tools as modern as now exist but find the reason and the murderer Appleby did. 

Did I like this book? Yes
Would I read more of this series? I might
Does this story stand the test of time? Yes
Do you need to read other books in the series before this one? No

Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for the copy to read – This is my honest review.

4-5 Stars
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While on a walk, David Henchmen finds a dead body. It appears to be suicide, but the appearance of a solitary walker soon after gives David reason to think otherwise. And when that stranger picks up the gun David realizes he’s the next to die and escapes across the moor.

I’ve read several of the Inspector Applebys and thought I knew what to expect…I was wrong. This was an interesting story with plenty of action, more suspense than usual, but also quite a bit more humor. Where this departed from the others is that Appleby doesn’t even come into it until well into the book. 

My only complaint, and it’s a small one that I have with every Appleby, is that sometimes the language can be overly intellectual. But I can overlook that because what kept me reading was the way the intriguing way that the story unfolded. With the addition of characters who were totally likeable, this was a fun read.

My thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for the advance reader copy made available for my review.
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I haven't come across a story that has such a spectacular and nail-biting beginning. It just doesn't end there. Until the end, the reader is in for a whole lot of twists and turns and surprises. Totally entertaining and mind-blowing story this!

The storytelling is absolutely brilliant and entertaining. The plot to story development and character portrayal is magnificent.  The ending is, again, full of twists and surprises. The identity of the rogues - unexpected. If I have to sum it up in two words then I would say Literary Indulgence!
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I really enjoyed this book.  It has great main characters and a really good story line.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
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Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes is a welcome reissue of an Inspector Appleby book and one that I throughly enjoyed.

The story starts off with a game of dare or chicken that then moves into a chase across Dartmoor before its excellent conclusion

As with other Appleby books that I have read the writing and storytelling are brilliant and engaging and Death on a Quiet Day is definitely recommended
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Death on a Quiet Day was originally published as Appleby Plays Chicken in 1956. In one respect it is not a typical Appleby novel.  Appleby doesn’t appear until over a third of the way through the book. Yet, in another respect, it IS typical. We get lots of quotations from Shakespeare and other poets.

David Henchman is a student forming part of a reading party, i.e. a bunch of students and their tutor are staying on Dartmoor, reading and exchanging views. David is a bit of a loner and goes for a long walk.  He finds a corpse in the middle of the moor with a bullet hole in its forehead. David then finds that a chap appearing a few minutes later really doesn’t want David to publicise this and David must flee for his life. We are then treated to a highly exciting well-written chase sequence that is six chapters long. 

Appleby is staying in the area with relations of his wife, Judith. However, when David leaps upon a riderless horse at a Point to Point in his efforts to evade pursuit, Appleby’s interest is piqued. When he sees the stray bullet embedded in David’s shoe, that interest deepens significantly.

Whilst, as I say, Appleby appears after the chase sequence, this is still a most enjoyable book. The chase is highly suspenseful with David’s safe escape always in doubt. The students provide light relief and act as a useful source of helpful assistants when Appleby needs them. There is perhaps a lot more tense action in this novel than in many, more cerebral, Appleby books – and the novel only covers 24 hours, so the action is highly compressed.

I consider this a faultless Appleby novel and strongly recommend it.

#DeathOnAquietDay #NetGalley
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Wonderful fun led by a literate, intelligent and cultured inspector, John Appleby. Such good writing and such an unexpected villain. Spies, brave university boys, blackmail, and impersonation. More, please.
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While this isn't a typical Appleby mystery - after all, about 60% is a chase over the moors - it does display all of Innes' wonderful qualities: his smooth and literate prose, his love of whimsy and absurdity, There's a bit of a feel that things wind up rather perfunctorily but fans of this eccentric series know what the expect. So not a good place to start if you're new to Appleby (best to begin with one of the classic murder cases) but another ridiculously fun read which is intelligent and characterful.
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