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Carson's Conspiracy (Inspector Appleby Mystery) [Paperback]

Michael Innes

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Book Description

23 Sep 2008 Inspector Appleby Mystery (Book 34)
Businessman Carl Carson decides to make a dash for South America to escape the economic slump, leaving his home and his barmy wife. But he has a problem - if his company were seen to be drawing in its horns, it wouldn't last a week. His solution is his wife's favourite delusion - an imaginary son, named Robin. Carson plans to stage a fictitious kidnapping - after all, what could be more natural than a father liquidating his assets to pay the ransom demand? Unfortunately, Carson has a rather astute neighbour - Sir John Appleby, ex-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

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Frequently Bought Together

Carson's Conspiracy (Inspector Appleby Mystery) + Appleby And The Ospreys (Inspector Appleby Mystery) + Appleby And Honeybath
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Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus; New edition edition (23 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842327267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842327265
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1 x 20.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in Edinburgh in 1906, the son of the city's Director of Education, John Innes Mackintosh Stewart wrote a highly successful series of mystery stories under the pseudonym Michael Innes. Innes was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was presented with the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and named a Bishop Frazer's scholar. After graduation he went to Vienna, to study Freudian psychoanalysis for a year and following his first book, an edition of Florio's translation of Montaigne, was offered a lectureship at the University of Leeds. In 1932 he married Margaret Hardwick, a doctor, and they subsequently had five children including Angus, also a novelist. The year 1936 saw Innes as Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, during which tenure he wrote his first mystery story, 'Death at the President's Lodging'. With his second, 'Hamlet Revenge', Innes firmly established his reputation as a highly entertaining and cultivated writer. After the end of World War II, Innes returned to the UK and spent two years at Queen's University, Belfast where in 1949 he wrote the 'Journeying Boy', a novel notable for the richly comedic use of an Irish setting. He then settled down as a Reader in English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he retired in 1973. His most famous character is 'John Appleby', who inspired a penchant for donnish detective fiction that lasts to this day. Innes's other well-known character is 'Honeybath', the painter and rather reluctant detective, who first appeared in 1975 in 'The Mysterious Commission'. The last novel, 'Appleby and the Ospreys', was published in 1986, some eight years before his death in 1994. 'A master - he constructs a plot that twists and turns like an electric eel: it gives you shock upon shock and you cannot let go.' - Times Literary Supplement.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The imaginary son 13 April 2004
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Carson's Conspiracy" (1984) is one of the slenderest Sir John Appleby mystery novels, and was published in Michael Innes's 78th year. The only novel from this prolific author to follow it was "Appleby and the Ospreys" (1986).
Sir John, retired Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) no longer strays very far from home. He tells his friend, the local Chief Constable, that he is more of a Mycroft than a Sherlock now. However, he still occasionally lunches with the neighbors, and when this novel opens, Sir John and his wife are meeting their new neighbors over a slightly pretentious lunch of scallops and champagne.
Carl Carson, the "newish and rather unattractive" neighbor spends lunch fretting over whether his wife will do or say the wrong thing. He is a nouveau riche financier with some shady dealings in the City, and mistakes Appleby for someone "who had been high up in the Inland Revenue." His wife, Cynthia refers to Appleby as the "Commissionaire."
Really, the snobbery and counter-snobbery of the new versus the old gentry are what make this novel sparkle. In his later Appleby novels, Innes no longer relied as heavily on character eccentricities, surreal settings, or dense plotting. Instead, his readers scud merrily downstream on waves of witty, ironic dialogue, literary allusiveness, and an undertow of murderous intent.
The plot is transparent. If nothing else, the title gives it away and the first narrator is Carson, himself. His wife seems to have gone seriously round the bend and is chatting up their new neighbors with the exploits of an imaginary son. Carson, who sees serious financial problems looming dead ahead, decides to kidnap his nonexistent son, who is supposedly returning from America, convert his capital into ransom money, then disappear as another victim of the kidnapping plot---with the loot, of course.
His problems begin, although he is not aware of them at first, when Carson has to find someone to pose as his imaginary son. Every one is taken in by the conspiracy, including the Applebys, until a sudden, violent twist at the very end of the book.
This is a quick, enjoyable read, and don't believe Sir John when he tells the Chief Constable that "Mycroft has retired." He still has one novel to go, and his sharp-edged wit and elegant sleuthing will live on for a long while in the hearts of his readers.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What an ending! 20 Sep 2002
By CMBohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was enjoying this book. I like Sir John Appleby. Michael Innes's mysteries are sophisticated and quirky. Anyway, it was pretty good, then I got to the ending and wow! What a surprise! I had to give it 5 stars.
Appleby's neighbor, Carl Carson, has a loopy wife and lots of money troubles. He decides the only way out of his problems is to arrange for the kidnapping of his son. One problem--He doesn't have a son.
If you've never read an Appleby book, this might not be the best place to start, but it's still great.
5.0 out of 5 stars The penultimate Appleby 6 April 2007
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Carson's Conspiracy" (1984) is one of the slenderest Sir John Appleby mystery novels, and was published in Michael Innes's 78th year. The only novel from this prolific author to follow it was "Appleby and the Ospreys" (1986).

Sir John, retired Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) no longer strays very far from home. He tells his friend, the local Chief Constable, that he is more of a Mycroft than a Sherlock now. However, he still occasionally lunches with the neighbors, and when this novel opens, Sir John and his wife are meeting their new neighbors over a slightly pretentious lunch of scallops and champagne.

Carl Carson, the "newish and rather unattractive" neighbor spends lunch fretting over whether his wife will do or say the wrong thing. He is a nouveau riche financier with some shady dealings in the City, and mistakes Appleby for someone "who had been high up in the Inland Revenue." His wife, Cynthia refers to Appleby as the "Commissionaire."

Really, the snobbery and counter-snobbery of the new versus the old gentry are what make this novel sparkle. In his later Appleby novels, Innes no longer relied as heavily on character eccentricities, surreal settings, or dense plotting. Instead, his readers scud merrily downstream on waves of witty, ironic dialogue, literary allusiveness, and an undertow of murderous intent.

The plot is transparent. If nothing else, the title gives it away and the first narrator is Carson, himself. His wife seems to have gone seriously round the bend and is chatting up their new neighbors with the exploits of an imaginary son. Carson, who sees serious financial problems looming dead ahead, decides to kidnap his nonexistent son, who is supposedly returning from America, convert his capital into ransom money, then disappear as another victim of the kidnapping plot---with the loot, of course.

His problems begin, although he is not aware of them at first, when Carson has to find someone to pose as his imaginary son. Every one is taken in by the conspiracy, including the Applebys, until a sudden, violent twist at the very end of the book.

This is a quick, enjoyable read, and don't believe Sir John when he tells the Chief Constable that "Mycroft has retired." He still has one novel to go, and his sharp-edged wit and elegant sleuthing will live on for a long while in the hearts of his readers.
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