With the exception of Gladys Mitchell, Michael Innes is unique in writing a string of masterpieces in rapid succession. This is the second, set at one of England's most Stately Homes, and featuring the memorable onstage murder of no less a person than the Lord Chancellor while acting in Hamlet. Naturally, international implications are rife, andn the P.M. is worried - a very young Appleby is sent down. Everything in the book is a sheer joy - a delight, making this a genuinely intelligent novel a book to be read slowly - to be savoured. As is common with Innes, it is much more than mere mathematical ingenuity. Innes was a novelist. The characters are wonderful, and, despite a huge cast (30 odd), memorable and separable. The detection is first-class: indepth, but entertaining, and never dull. The detection culminates in a brilliantly Innesian solution at the end of Part 3 - a dazzling firework display.