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An Inspector Calls

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  14,169 ratings  ·  724 reviews
The action of the play occurs in an English industrial city, where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death. An inspector calls to interrogate the family, and during the course of his questioning, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl's undoing. The ...more
Paperback, 117 pages
Published 1987 by Reclam (first published 1945)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,169 ratings  ·  724 reviews


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Bionic Jean
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
An Inspector Calls is a memorable play from the mid-1940s, written by the popular English dramatist J.B. Priestley. Partly both philosophical and psychological, partly a moral fable, it is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage. It deals with issues of exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, within the framework of a detective mystery. And just to add a little more spice, it also has hints of the supernatural. However it is firmly rooted in the English society life of the time, and ...more
Mark
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: absolutely anyone with a pulse
Recommended to Mark by: Mr William Flint, english teacher extraordinaire
Shelves: favorites
Re-read this last week and then realized I have never added it to my books. This is one of the most satisfyingly riveting plays i have ever read, seen in the theatre (three times), watched in film (Alastair Sims, goodness only knows how many times) listened to on the radio and now I have an audiobook version. Thus i can now luxuriate, whenever I feel the need to experience the wonderful schadenfreude of the gradual implosion of the horrendous edifice of arrogance which is the middle class Birlin ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
The proscenium stage has a romance of its own. You, the spectator, is actually a Peeping Tom, staring into the lives of total strangers through the invisible fourth wall. And what lives! For on the stage, time and space are usually compressed or telescoped according to the whims and fancies of the playwright. Passions are exaggerated on purpose, and action proceeds at an unbelievable pace; all the while retaining the semblance of normality (this is not essential for an arena stage, where the unr ...more
Connie G
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic, play, one-day, england
"An Inspector Calls" has themes of responsibility, class structure, and social duty. Set in 1912, Arthur Birling, a wealthy factory owner, is celebrating his daughter's engagement to the son of another industrialist. The celebration is interrupted by Inspector Goole who is conducting an investigation of the suicide of a working class woman. As the Inspector questions the family members in the dining room, it becomes obvious that each person had a connection to the young woman and had treated her ...more
Ayesha (The Fifth Marauder)
*After finishing this play*

Me: (slides Priestley $20) So lets talk about that ending, huh?
Jonathan Terrington
With its tightly wound and didactic plot 'An Inspector Calls' is among the finer examples of the play world. While not as fanciful or elaborate as some of the greatest works by masters such as Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde in his style Priestly manages to pull off what he must. It is in fact the simplicity of his work that creates such an appeal, because it touches more at the heart of humanity and society.

The narrative of the play delves around a mysterious Inspector who interrupts the celebratio
...more
Amber
Mar 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no-one
Recommended to Amber by: my english teacher??
Includes spoilers.

This is such an awful play. I'm going to try and make something coherent out of this rant, and I'm sorry if it's long-winded, but I guarantee you that it will be more interesting than the entirety of all three acts.

Ok, so let's start.

The play opens up in an upper class English household in 1912. Just in case you couldn't tell, Priestly drops hints about it for the entire scene, including references to the titanic - which, incidentally, hasn't sunk yet - of course, Birling stil
...more
Manny
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
If it were an Agatha Christie, it'd sort of be Orient Express crossed with Roger Ackroyd. Perhaps she bet Priestley that those two plots couldn't be combined?

(view spoiler)
...more
Jayanth
One of the best crime detective story ever written, period.

The story crafting in this play has got to be one of best ever, it had such an intense effect on me. The thrill and ominous tension had me on the edge of the seat even though I've already seen the 2015 TV movie adaptation. It speaks volumes about the play itself.

I love books and movies set in confined space and where there is a lot of dialogue between characters. This play is set in a single room, a family is celebrating an engagement a
...more
La Mala ✌
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.
Rachel Louise Atkin
Man I wish we’d have read this in secondary school. This was suuuuuuper good.
Connor Franks
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Read this for school. I gave it a lower rating because personally I don’t really like reading plays and I had to read it for school, forced reading let’s it down a bit. The ending though made it 2 stars!
MacK
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Searching desperately for a fall play to direct, I was handed this brilliant bit of writing, and fell hard and fast.

It's like when you first see a television show that immediatly hooks you. Taut, concise writing that holds you in the moment and a twisting plot line that leaves you guessing until the very end.

It's shocking that this book is largely ignored by Americans (witness the fact that only a few more than 50 people have reviewed it here on "goodreads"). Perhaps the setting and tone lend it
...more
Caitlin
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so good, best book i studied for english tbh
Goddess Of Blah
I first read this play when I was 14. I didn't understand all the socio-economic and political issues until I was 19. It was during this period that I became a confirmed socialist (or rather left leaning in my politics).

When I first read the play - I remember a few classmates being confused that one family encountered the same girl, which went beyond coincidence - far too contrived. This is NOT the case - that's just a twist - if you had assumed that than you'll not be able to sympathise with Ev
...more
Megan
I had to read this for English class and it was actually much better than I expected.

For starters, although it was set in 1912, a period that I obviously wasn't around in, the dialogue used wasn't particularly hard to understand and it seemed to be quite suited to modern day english. I've never particularly liked reading plays, especially for school so I wasn't keen on reading it but I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, I was reading it because I had nothing better to do in a cold, boring engli
...more
rebecca
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
11/3/16: Although I kind of saw the ending coming, I really enjoyed this play and am not only looking forward to studying it this year, but reading more plays in the future. They're so easy to read and pretty insightful, usually.

15/4/16: was 5 stars, but i tweaked it bc i was thinking about it and i realized how bad the ending was. it's basically making the inspector seem like a totally implausible character, and therefore making the whole idea of socialism seem implausible because the inspector
...more
Manuel Alfonseca
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ENGLISH: This is the seventh time I've read or watched this magnificent play, one of my nine favorite modern plays. The author allows himself, from his advantage point in the future, to look back upon a past time where the people concerned were living on the brink of disaster and didn't know it. But the main theme is different: Are we responsible for what happens to everybody else? Are our lives interlaced in such a way that the smallest thing we do can be a matter of life and death for somebody ...more
Samuel Zucca
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
It does its job. The play starts off with a plan that the audience can immediately see the outcome of; switching between the different family members until the story of Eva Smith is slowly pieced together. Where the play does its best is where the dramatic irony kicks in strongly, and there's definitely a lot of conflict that the audience can tap into. However, where it falls short is at the point where it becomes too 'preachy' on the subject of socialism. There are a lot of repeated beats, and ...more
ZOEY
I remember reading this when I was 10.
(during my Sherlock Holmes phase.)
I already knew the ending but it was still a fun trip down memory lane.
Anisha
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boom! MIND BLOWN!!! Seriously it's just so good how it gets revealed in the end.
Hasna
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! The ending was especially hilarious! Who WAS that inspector?!
BrooKe
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A cleverly crafted masterpiece.

I read this 2-3 years ago for a school assignment and it was the only set text I ever enjoyed reading. I can’t explain much since it’s been a while but I vividly remember loving this story to pieces and obsessing over it months after I’d read it. It shone a light on so many social issues and it honestly changed me. It all took place in one single room over the course of one single dinner and I was on the edge of my seat throughout.

I have nothing but praise for thi
...more
Hannah
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Ya know it’s not a bad book but the fact that I know that imma have to analyse it in an exam brings it down
Tara Kemp
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant, amazing, beautiful and absolutely fantastic ending. Wonderful.
El (book.monkey)
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I really enjoyed this one! full review to come
Emmie C
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
J.B preistly is a god damn hero
Ffion Wyn
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr-don-t-own, plays
Enjoyable but a tad predictable!
Anyone else agree that the inspector might be a representation of god?
Vita Mia Orfeo
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5/5 stars
I enjoyed this play very much.
It's well-written, easy and quick to read, the characters and the story are relatable and the morale (just as morales are supposed to be) makes you think.
I just overall loved this story.
Jan C
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Interesting play. Now I'm going to have to find a dramatization on YouTube or wherever.
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Never too Late to...: 2019 September: An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley 9 13 Sep 02, 2019 07:12PM  

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John Boynton Priestley, the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Bradford in September 1894, and after schooling he worked for a time in the local wool trade. Following the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Priestley joined the British Army, and was sent to France --in 1915 taking part in the Battle of Loos. After being wounded in 1917 Priestley returned to England for six months; then, after going ...more
“We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.” 84 likes
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