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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  864 ratings  ·  55 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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57th out of 139 books — 120 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,954)
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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
Leslie
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 this is the type of mystery where the reader can figure out who is guilty before the detecti
...more
Ali
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
Katherine
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
Jane
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
...more
Vipula
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
Ed
#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
...more
Niki
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
Mmyoung
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
...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.
Donna
As I was scrolling through Facebook this morning I came upon a blog post naming the greatest of the Golden Age mysteries. I was excited to realize that I was actually halfway through one of them. What better inducement to finish!

This is a wonderful -- and complicated -- puzzle with seven suspects and several students whose activities seem to interrupt the flow of the story. I did not identify the murderer until it was revealed. So many people telling sham stories as well as working at cross purp
...more
Teresa
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.
Jon Wilson
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
...more
Carol Best
This is my third book by this author. The first I didn't finish (The Daffodil Affair) because I found the story absolutely absurd. The second was called A Connoisseur's Case which Good Reads does not even recognize as a Michael Innes book. Does it have another title? This was a most enjoyable mystery whatever its name may be and I recommend it. I found this current mystery interesting but it was certainly involved and tangled with the suspects changing their stories as often as I change clothes. ...more
Jess castellanos lobaton
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
...more
Sally
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
Damaskcat
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
Simon Mcleish
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
...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'
...more
Emily
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
...more
Durdles
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
Leah
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

...more
Claire Charmant
Quietly but immensely entertaining. Innes's prose is dryly witty and elegant--just what you'd wish for a favorite English professor. Innes's career as an English professor gives his debut Appleby novel a cheeky self-conscious feel, as it's a locked-college mystery with a smattering of scholars as the suspects.
Laura
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
Val
The story starts with an obvious red herring: the murder can not have taken place when the shot was heard. It then slowly uncovers the details of who was where when. This is all a bit complicated and I kept flicking back to look at the 'helpful' map of the college. I considered drawing up a timetable. New characters appear part way through and the one who was supposed to be out of the country isn't.
Then it turns out that every clue we have is either not connected to the murder or someone trying
...more
Ardys
Very convoluted 1930s British mystery--I defy anyone to figure it out before the final pages! This book is mostly about the puzzle and has a very restrained, academic bent, although a few hapless undergrads are thrown in for comedic relief. The detective doesn't have many distinguishing characteristics other than smarts, but I'm sure he's fleshed out a bit more in the forty or so books to follow.

A note about the London: V. Gollanz edition: I made it to the final page only to discover with dismay
...more
Lesley Anne
This book started out being very boring; fortunately, it got better and more exciting as I read through. I think because I read the book digitally, I found it hard to follow with the locational details; where all the characters were coming and going throughout the story. Also, there were too many characters that, to me, were representative of the same personality, therefore I was getting confused about who Appleby was talking about. Also, the story was far too wordy for a detective story, regard ...more
Debbie
This is the first in Innes’ Inspector Appleby series and was published in 1936.

I expected perhaps something akin to Agatha Christie but Innes is very different. Or perhaps I only think so because this particular mystery was set in an Oxford/Cambridge-based university and I have no understanding whatever of dons/underdons/proctors and so on and found it difficult to wade through all of those issues (which are pertinent to the crime).

The mystery was solid but although I may read more Innes, give
...more
Bev
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
...more
Gerry
A clever, cerebral even, thriller which features Inspector Appleby who investigates the President of St Anthony's College's murder.

There are four suspects, all connected with the College, and Appleby, who is one of the brainiest detectives, looks closely at each one and comes up with circumstances and reasons which could point to any one of the suspects being the guilty party.

However, thorough investigation, with plenty of red herrings along the way, reveals the killer who ... well, I'll not spo
...more
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87958
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
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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)
Hamlet, Revenge! (Sir John Appleby, #2) Appleby's End  (Sir John Appleby, #10) Lament For A Maker (Sir John Appleby, #3) The Daffodil Affair  (Sir John Appleby, #8) The Case of the Journeying Boy

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