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The Secret Vanguard (Sir John Appleby #5)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  99 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Successful minor poet, Philip Ploss, lives a peaceful existence in ideal surroundings, until his life is upset when he hears verses erroneously quoted as his own. Soon afterwards, he is found dead in the library with a copy of Dante's Purgatory open before him.
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Published September 23rd 2008 by House of Stratus (first published 1940)
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Edward Lengel
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-suspense
Self-consciously literate, but ultimately rather silly WWII suspense/propaganda novel. After a slow start, the action becomes breakneck, but never believable. The main characters fear nothing, exude insufferable British pluck, and quote obscure literature even as they dodge enemy bullets (and the German spies are all halfwits).
Rosemary
OK but not his best. Reminds me of Agatha Christie's spy novels which range from acceptable (N or M?) to dire. I suppose before John Le Carré, people had no idea what spies actually did.
Jean Hontz
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Not the best of the series. Here Appleby is in search of a girl who's gone missing. And discovers a nest of spies.
Elizabeth
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
To say I found this book confusing would be a massive understatement!
Brian Weidert
Sep 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
From the back cover of The Secret Vanguard by Michael Innes:

“Our lovely heroine and her various accomplices are the object of a superb chase across Scotland by a scheming band of undercover Nazis. Sir John Appleby of Scotland Yard–a master craftsman in the art of crime and counterespionage–comes to the rescue, and the British Empire stands secure once more.”

Sounds exciting, right?

I was certainly expecting an action packed read, starting from page one and taking me across Scotland, an exotic loca
...more
Stuart
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This series of detective books are all very different, though they do tend to have an academic, intellectual tone - as befits the fact that the author was an Oxford don. This though is even more different in that t is not really a detective novel, in the accepted sense at all, but a breathless, "Thirty Nine Steps" style adventure - complete with foreign spies, chases, sinister plots and a plucky heroine. Great fun - and very funny in places, especially the almost surreal ending. Great fun.
Henry
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had pretty much no idea what was going on for most of this novel. Despite enjoying the style of Innes' writing and his characters, I felt it was too short for the complex plot it tried to contain.
Linda Chrisman
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The chase through Oxford University's Bodlien University is worth the price of admission. Why, oh why aren't his book better known? A witty intelligent writer.
Tina
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Innes is always a great bet!
JanieB
Nov 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book has a very complicated plot crammed into a very little space - confusing to say the least. Perhaps it's just that I'm not impressed with WWII propaganda novels.
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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
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More about Michael Innes...

Other Books in the Series

Sir John Appleby (1 - 10 of 36 books)
  • Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby, #1)
  • Hamlet, Revenge! (Sir John Appleby, #2)
  • Lament for a Maker (Sir John Appleby, #3)
  • Stop Press  (Sir John Appleby, #4)
  • 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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