John Appleby Biography - Inspector - Sir
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Sir John Appleby

A Brief Biography

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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.
Rather than suspend Appleby in time Innes takes us on a journey through his whole career, indeed even retirement brought no respite from crime solving. Fans of Appleby are certainly well catered for as Innes' output was prodigious, with thiry-two novels and seventy-three short stories.

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.

Michael Innes Bibliography     Michael Innes Biography

Text © 2004 R.D. Collins


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