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Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby, #1)
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Group reads > Death at the President's Lodging - SPOILER thread

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Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
This is our spoiler thread for our February group read, Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes. Please be aware that spoilers can be openly discussed here, as it is assumed that anyone reading this thread has finished the book.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I know this was set a while ago, but I found it a little odd that those staying in the building did not lock their bedrooms at night. This is not really a spoiler, but there was one part where our detective literally walks in and out of the bedrooms to check who is in bed and who is wandering abroad. I felt like saying, someone just got killed in this college, the crime has not been solved and you are not even locking your doors!

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments This book was strange to me, and I enjoyed the Christie more. I didn't figure it out with all the looping back and forth

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
I agree that all the wandering to and fro without locking bedroom doors is distinctly surreal - it adds to the puzzle element, as you're not sure who is where at what time, but it's hard to believe that with a murderer on the loose people wouldn't lock their doors firmly!

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I suppose it was possible they couldn't lock them, but if someone had been shot in a room down the hall from me, I would, at the very least, prop a chair under the handle... After all, it wasn't as though they didn't seem to suspect each other.

Leslie | 592 comments As I mentioned elsewhere, I think that this series improves after this first one so I hope that people will consider trying at least one more even if this one didn't much appeal.

I have just started rereading it as it has been almost 4 years since I read it but here is a link to my review from then:

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I would certainly read the next one, Leslie. I didn't dislike it and I know some series start slowly...

Lesley | 384 comments Even though it started out slowly, I thought Innes created the academic atmosphere well, and that and the plot kept me involved to the last page.I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have every intention of continuing with the series.

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2064 comments I did enjoy it, but it did keep going around in circles. I was amazed at how much Appleby managed to fit into a day, what with his "quiet walks" as well. It made me feel that I must be quite lazy really.
The summing up was somewhat complicated. I had to reread parts of that to get a clear picture of whose version of events it was. Whether that was just me or the lateness of the day, I'm not sure.

message 10: by Sandy (last edited Feb 09, 2017 08:50PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sandy | 2792 comments Mod
I originally posted this in the non-spoiler thread, so sorry. I found the ending a bit fantastical, with the four suspects each arranging the crime scene. It made for an amusing "locked room" solution. I enjoyed the characters, and the students were a treat. However I'm not likely to continue; there are so many other books.

message 11: by Judy (last edited Feb 12, 2017 05:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
The solution is a bit like a farce, isn't it, with everyone hiding from/suspecting everyone else! I found this slightly heavy going second time around (and have changed my rating from 4 to 3 stars), but am looking forward to reading more in the series.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I think a few of us have mentioned this being difficult or heavy. Has anyone read more in the series? Does the style change in future books?

message 13: by John (new)

John Frankham (johnfrankham) | 30 comments Susan, I wrote this on the other thread a few days ago:

"Please don't give up on Appleby! This one is a fairly straightforward closed-room type of whodunnit, whereas Innes develops him brilliantly and involves him in erudite, magical, adventure, and farcical plots.

Operation Pax; Hamlet, Revenge; Appleby's End are three of the best Golden Age whodunnits I have ever read - and re-read, and re-read.

After his peak period during and after the war, the last dozen or so do get shorter and with a narrower breadth of plot and focus.

He does find a wife in one of his books, and has progeny, so there is some development of that area."

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 819 comments I am slow starting on Death at the President’s Lodging so can’t comment yet. But I have read just about every book in the series and adore most of them. Death on a Quiet Day I recall as one of my favorites.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I did not dislike Appleby. I certainly think I would read on. We didn't really get to know him that well in this outing, but I think he is well worth meeting again.

message 16: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
I'm definitely planning to read the next one in the series, Hamlet, Revenge! - just as soon as I get through a few of the others on my TBR!

message 17: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2064 comments I will also carry on with this series. Just a matter of time. John recommended the next one, so well worth a try.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
Perhaps, when we have finished the Wimsey sequels, we can do it as a buddy read?

message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Great idea Susan !

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
It would be good to compare ideas. Or we could do it in between the Wimsey books, if you want to read that one first :)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 364 comments I am just about to start this one, but I have an omnibus which also contains Hamlet, Revenge! so I would like to join a buddy read too

Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) I like the sound of a follow on read - it wasn't my favourite but I enjoyed it enough to see where the character goes!

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 819 comments If I can get free I’d love to join the buddy read (or future group read). It has been way too long since I’ve worked my way through Michael Innes! I have just started reading the current one and am adoring his language rhythms and vocabulary, as always.

message 24: by Judy (last edited Feb 15, 2017 12:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Great that you are interested, Pamela, Hilary and Abigail! I would slightly prefer to finish the Wimsey sequels first but am happy either way.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
Yes, I think finishing the Wimsey sequels is a good idea.

By the way, we did the first two Nicholas Blake novels as a buddy read previously? Would anyone like to read those? If so, I will happily join in and the threads are already up?

message 26: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Thanks Susan, sounds like Wimsey then Appleby! As this is a spoiler thread not everyone will see these postings, so I'll mention the buddy reads in the 'what are you reading' thread tonight, when I'm not on my phone! I'd also chip in again on Blake.

message 27: by Judy (last edited Feb 18, 2017 12:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Sorry, this slipped my mind, but I've now revamped the buddy reads thread so it will hopefully be easier for people to suggest and discuss forthcoming buddy reads:

I've also posted about this in the 'what are you reading' thread.

message 28: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Getting back to discussion of Death in the President's Lodging - this posting will discuss the ending... so just a reminder that this is a SPOILER thread.

If you haven't finished please look away now!

An aspect of the book I found a bit disturbing was its treatment of mental illness - the way that it is suggested that the character who turns out to be the killer was obviously the most likely suspect because he had suffered a breakdown in the past.
Of course, this was written in another era and attitudes have changed - also fortunately I don't think this is typical of G.A. fiction.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
I have to say that I found the ending confusing and I do not think it worked that well. Obviously, this is the first in a series, so I am prepared to make allowances, but it did let the novel down a bit in my opinion.

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments Judy wrote: "Getting back to discussion of Death in the President's Lodging - this posting will discuss the ending... so just a reminder that this is a SPOILER thread.

If you haven't finished please look away ..."

Good point about mental illness. I hadn't really thought about that.

Sandy | 2792 comments Mod
Re mental illness
I think the prejudice still exists, sometimes justified. There have been two local news items where both perpetrators have a past history of breakdown. So I imagine police would look there first.

message 32: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I have to say that I found the ending confusing and I do not think it worked that well. Obviously, this is the first in a series, so I am prepared to make allowances, but it did let the novel down ..."

I also found it a bit confusing, if clever - hoping that the next book will have a better ending.

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 819 comments Finally finished, and I thoroughly enjoyed luxuriating in the (for me) sensual pleasures of J. I. M. Stewart’s language. It is mysterious to me that this volume was missing from my collection (I thought I owned and had read all his fiction), and in fact I seem never to have read this book before. So thank you to the group for an unexpected, and rich, pleasure!

My review here:

message 34: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much, Abigail - it's lovely to find another book by a favourite author when you thought you'd read them all. Thanks for the great review.

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 819 comments Thanks, Judy! It was a huge treat for me—almost as if he had come back to life!

message 36: by Judy (last edited Feb 24, 2017 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
I know the feeling... as a Dickens fan who has read all the novels multiple times and the short stories at least once, I got a thrill a few months back when I read Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi which he edited and discovered large chunks were like extra chapters of The Pickwick Papers. Lots of fun.

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
Abigail, we are planning to read the second book in the series as a buddy read, after completing the Jill Paton Walsh books, if you are interested.

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 819 comments Definitely interested, Susan, thanks!

Susan | 10031 comments Mod
Have a look at the buddy read thread, as we have a few good books coming up, including the last two Jill Paton Walsh books, the next Appleby mystery, Heads You Lose by Christianna Brand and Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days.

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