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Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  1,129 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Inspector Appleby is called to St Anthony's College, where the President has been murdered in his Lodging. Scandal abounds when it becomes clear that the only people with any motive to murder him are the only people who had the opportunity - because the President's Lodging opens off Orchard Ground, which is locked at night, and only the Fellows of the College have keys ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published (first published 1936)
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Jul 11, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Inspector John Appleby mystery, set firmly within the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, both in terms of period and style. Dr Josiah Umpleby, President of St Anthony's College, has been shot and Inspector Appleby is sent to help local authority, Inspector Dodd, discover the murderer. The mystery is very much an academic exercise, with Appleby outlining possible suspects, motives and methods. Of course, there are many red herrings and much confusion, involving professional argume ...more
Kim Kaso
3.5 stars. Cerebrally enjoyable, university setting was well-done, but characters were not stand-outs. Felt more like pieces of a puzzle to be moved around, and denouement fell flat, felt incomplete. Innes wrote a plethora of Sir John Appleby books, will try another to see if he improves. I want to like them, find another vein of Golden Era detective fiction.
Abigail Bok
Feb 23, 2017 Abigail Bok rated it it was amazing
Death at the President’s Lodging introduces readers to Inspector Appleby, at this point a young but rising detective with Scotland Yard. He is sent into the medieval confines of a (fictional) Oxford college, where the president has been murdered in his own study. Early on it becomes clear that the murderer is most likely one of the president’s colleagues, and in fact most of the investigation takes place, claustrophobically enough, within the walled confines of the college. (We do get to escape ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I have trouble with mysteries that start with a map of the premises. It's usually an early warning sign that events are going to be confusing, and the first Appleby mystery is no exception. Don't expect a synopsis of the action, because I found it confusing and hard to follow, not only because of the red herrings, crosses and double crosses, but because of the narration itself. In his first book, Innes seems to partake of the rarified atmosphere of Oxbridge academia to the point of being almost ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
February 2017 -- I found this less slow this time around and more fun!

Review from March 2013:
Seven Suspects is the American title of Michael Innes' first Inspector Appleby book Death at the President's Lodging. The murder of a university president forms the basis of this version of a locked room mystery.

I found the beginning slow going, mostly due to Innes' style of prose. However, once I became accustomed to the style & the plot began to unfold, the story quickly engrossed me. I don't think
Jan 10, 2017 Chari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Este es un libro que disfruté pero entiendo que quien no sea tan aficionado al género policíaco clásico, pueda resultarle algo.. pesado? máxime si se tratara de un primer acercamiento a un típico caso de asesinado de habitación cerrada, aquí un College, porque en Muerte en la rectoría, aparecen en el final de la resolución de la investigación, tantos implicados que puede llegar a parecer enrevesado, pero no por ello carente de lógica.
Me ha gustado la escritura elegante de Innes (pudiera a otros
Jan 23, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have wished for a bit more drawing out of these characters, particularly because the suspects were all of a similar type and therefore a bit difficult to keep straight. Good fun, otherwise, though; the prose is intelligent and there is even a surprisingly effective streak of humor running throughout. I particularly enjoyed the denouement as the intelligence and quick-thinking qualities of the suspects were brought into play. Plausible? No, but who reads mysteries like these for their pla ...more
May 11, 2015 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Death at the President’s Lodging Innes (as I shall continue to call him now) created an intricately plotted mystery – the full solution to which I would say is fairly impossible to work out. The atmosphere of a 1930’s male dominated world of fusty academics is brilliantly re-created here. There are more than a few references to ancient and classical academic study that were a little over my head I confess – but certainly help to set the novel and the characters in the context of their world. ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Teresa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly did not appeal to me. I found it very dry and not enough to keep me interested in the characters. Will have to try another to see if it was just this particular story.
Nov 12, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
England and the golden age of crime writing called me. I remembered Michael Innes. I read, and liked, one of his books a few years ago but I had never got round to reading another one. Surely it was time.

I picked up the first Inspector Appleby mystery, Death at the President’s Lodging.

I knew from the opening paragraph what I could expect: a classic mystery, shot through with intelligence and wit.

“An academic life, Dr Johnson observed, puts one little in the way of extraordinary casualties. This
Jul 21, 2012 Vipula rated it it was amazing
Winter is the perfect time to read the British murder mystery novels, though I have always wondered why this genre is so popular in England. What is this fascination with cold blooded murders in closed country houses? In The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale explains how the murder at the Road Hill house caught the nations fancy and inspired an entire generation of literature and must have laid the foundation for the Golden Age of the detective fiction and some of the first detectives ...more
A wonderful example of a classic Golden Age detective novel, intelligent and witty, making smart use of the conventions and artificialities of the genre.
Aug 17, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it
#1 in the John Appleby series. This 1936 debut was written by an Oxford graduate, who eventually retired from the English faculty at Oxford. The academic background shows. This is a very intelligent novel of an exceptionally educated police inspector investigating the murder of the college president. In the tradition of the referenced "manor house in a snowstorm" mystery, the murder takes place in a closed system with a limited number of possible suspects.
The erudite 1936 writing style takes som
From the back of the book: At St. Anthony's College, Inspector John Appley must contend with academic intrigues, scholarly scandals, and one very clever killer.

Murder in the sanctity of an english university was bad enough; but such a vulgar, ungentlemanly murder--bones scattered about the room, a grotesque drawing of grinning death's-heads scrawled on the wall, and poor President Umpleby's head wrapped in an academic robe--was a serious blot on the college's reputation. In this complex and bri
Feb 16, 2013 Niki rated it really liked it
I had just finished an Agatha Christie novel before reading this. I read this as it was on a list of classic mysteries. I have to say it was very good, absorbing, fast paced, and kept me guessing. My only detraction, thus the four star, was that it was almost too challenging a book for enjoyment purposes. I felt slightly tired by the end. I am sure there are many that would love keeping track of the minutiae in order to solve the crime, however I found it a little confusing. Not enough, however, ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
Couldn't decide between a two or a three star rating for this book. The mystery is complex which is enjoyable but the story didn't really hit the spot with me. However, I enjoyed the way it came together at the end.
Simone Frost
Feb 27, 2017 Simone Frost rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book did not appeal to me, although I really hoped it would. It surely is intelligently written. It is a golden age mystery favorite! It is set in the academic world, which I work in (as junior manager) and I just cannot resist any work that takes a humorously cynical view on it. It is also teeming with literary and psychological references. I thoroughly enjoyed the night time stalking about scene and giggled many times (up to chapter 10).
The heralded detective brought in from London
Oct 06, 2016 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
This is the first Inspector John Appleby mystery, set firmly within the Golden Age of Detective Fiction (betwen the wars) and very much in that style. Dr Josiah Umpleby, President of St Anthony's College, has been shot and Inspector Appleby is sent to help local authority, Inspector Dodd, discover the murderer. The mystery is very much an academic exercise, with Appleby outlining possible suspects, motives and methods. Of course, there are many red herrings and much confusion, involving professi ...more
Alexander Inglis
First novels are often a special treat and, in this case, Death at the President's Lodging, published in 1936 by the scholar J.I.M. Stewart under his pseudonym Michael Innes, turns out to be a cracking good puzzle set in a fictional college not unlike the author's own experience … except, of course, the president in his day wasn't snuffed out. His lead character, Inspector Appleby, would turn up in 30-odd novels with his last outing published at the end of Stewart's life in the 1980s.

St Anthony'
Jun 08, 2009 Leah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
I will probably post reviews for many of my favorite mystery writers, but will respond not only to the book named but to all or most of the series. Exceptions will be made for books that freaking deserve it.

This is the first of Michael Innes's John Appleby detective stories. Appleby is a Scotland Yard police officer (his rank changes throughout the series), but one of the "new" breed: college-educated, shy and sensitive at times, a little arty (he eventually marries a sculptor).

The body of a co

Simon Mcleish
Feb 25, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here& in August 2000.

It is hardly surprising that this novel (about the murder of an Oxbridge college president) was retitled Seven Suspects for its American edition; its original title would clearly give a completely different impression from its actual content.

Innes uses the way that colleges like St Anthony's were shut off from the world at night time to isolate his small group of suspects - like a "submarine" as one of the characters puts it. These boundar
Dec 31, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This was my second book to listen to by Michael Innes, and I probably should have started with this one - his first detective inspector John Appleby novel. I thought it was a great mystery. It was not exactly a locked-room mystery, but had that kind of feel to it. It made me think a little of Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" because of the many suspects for the murderer. I thought all of the characters were developed well so that there was a good sense of the type of people involved. An ...more
Jul 15, 2014 Mmyoung rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If this book had been presented as an expose of the degree to which the class system of England had embedded itself into every facet of life it would have been a far more interesting read.

Appleby begins his oversight of the case by failing to demonstrate the most basic degree of competence. There is no adequate excuse put forward for his failing to secure the scene of the crime and determine where the most likely suspects were and what they were doing. Yes, these are 'gentlemen' and so, apparent
Feb 20, 2016 Francis rated it really liked it
So, the President of a small university is murdered. But, it's one of those locked room things, only kinda, cause the room wasn't locked, just the grounds. So, we find out only a few people have a key to access the area that leads to the university Presidents residence. Then we find out that everybody with a key has some motivation to kill the guy.

You with me so far?

Now we find out these suspects, all being academic types, are really quite clever and answer all the usual suspect questions with
Jon Wilson
Jun 25, 2014 Jon Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went back and forth with this one. I read it after "overhearing" (or whatever the internet equivalent of eavesdropping is) the author of one of my favorite series (Charlie Cochrane, Cambridge Fellows) say it was one of her influences.

It is definitely an old-school locked-room mystery, which are not my favorites. But it's main crime was the introduction of a flurry of suspects (all dons/professors/instructors/or whatever the British term is, at a fictional university) which I never felt I got s
Jan 26, 2013 Damaskcat rated it really liked it
The President of St Anthony’s College is found shot dead in his lodgings. Inspector John Appleby, once a student of St Anthony’s and now of Scotland Yard is sent to investigate and finds himself in the middle of a very complex investigation which will test all his considerable investigative powers. It will also test the deductive powers of the most observant reader. At first it seems as though there are at least ten possibly suspects not to speak of the passing murderous vagrant who may or may n ...more
Jan 30, 2011 Durdles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This was the first of the many Inspector John Appleby stories written by Michael Innes between 1936 and 1986. A "Golden Age" murder mystery involving a closed community of Oxford Dons as victim and suspects, the format is familiar and comforting. I don't think there is any way of guessing the correct sequence of events until they are revealed in the final chapters. The web of intrigue is tangled and many of the suspects seem to blend into one another(seven professors dressed alike and wandering ...more
May 06, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read the print version of this book, and I am now listening to the audiobook, narrated by Stephen Hogan.

Innes is one of my favorite mystery authors, and this is one of his books that I really liked. So the audiobook has that going for it already.

Hogan's narration is not memorable, but that's a good thing, because that means it isn't outstandingly bad, either. As far as I've gotten in the book, there are only two voices -- Inspector Appleby, who is suitably Oxford-sounding, and the provinc
Jess castellanos lobaton
Mar 01, 2014 Jess castellanos lobaton rated it really liked it
This is my first Michael Innes book and I gotta say I enjoyed it!!
I liked the way he described different scenes, not too much information but enough for the imagination.
This specific novel is pretty good. There is a crime in the middle of a prestigious university and Mr Appleby, the inspector, has to solve the problem finding the killer... several events confuse everyone more and more, everyone seems to be telling the truth.., or is it that everyone is a good lair? A accuses B, B accuses C, C ac
I'm glad to have discovered Innes and his terrific detective inspector Appleby, and I quite enjoyed this mystery, although the reveal wasn't as exciting as I'd have liked it to be. But the setting was great (a crime that takes place in a secluded, locked courtyard, inhabited only by the president and a number of professors, on the campus of a private English university. I mean, that's perfect, right?). The plot was convoluted but a lot of fun and the characters were a terrific group of nerdy aca ...more
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Michael Innes was the pseudonym of John Innes MacKintosh (J.I.M.) Stewart (J.I.M. Stewart).

He was born in Edinburgh, and educated at Edinburgh Academy and Oriel College, Oxford. He was Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds from 1930-1935, and spent the succeeding ten years as Jury Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.

He returned to the United Kingdom in 19
More about Michael Innes...

Other Books in the Series

Sir John Appleby (1 - 10 of 36 books)
  • Hamlet, Revenge! (Sir John Appleby, #2)
  • Lament for a Maker (Sir John Appleby, #3)
  • Stop Press  (Sir John Appleby, #4)
  • The Secret Vanguard  (Sir John Appleby, #5)
  • There Came Both Mist And Snow  (Sir John Appleby, #6)
  • Appleby On Ararat  (Sir John Appleby, #7)
  • The Daffodil Affair  (Sir John Appleby, #8)
  • The Weight Of The Evidence  (Sir John Appleby, #9)
  • Appleby's End  (Sir John Appleby, #10)
  • A Night Of Errors  (Sir John Appleby, #11)

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