Inspector Appleby was introduced to us by Michael Innes in 1936 when he appeared in
Death at the President's Lodgings and is widely regarded as one of the most urbane
and 'academic' characters in detective fiction.
His police career is charted from the rank of Inspector Appleby right through to his appointment as Commisioner of London's Metropolitan Police, a Knighthood and eventually retirement.
Depending on 'how you like' your detectives Appleby's main character trait is either his greatest stength or weakness. The chararcteristic urbane and witty replies, literary flourishes and extensive quotations probably repel as many readers as they attract.
Appleby meets his future wife, Judith Raven, in Appleby's End and she goes on to
play a key role in several novels and many of the short stories. Nepotism abounds further
with the introduction of their youngest son, Bobby, who also assists his father on occassion.
In summary, Appleby is still highly regarded amongst both readers and collectors and is unquestionably an important and influential character in the genre. On a personal note I find the writing style self indulgent with large passages simply'over written.' That said for those who like the style and enjoy the prose there is no better detective.
Text © 2004 R.D. Collins
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