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Lord Mullion's Secret (Honeybath) Paperback – 23 Sep 2008

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus; New edition edition (23 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842327437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842327432
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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Format: Paperback
This is not so much a detective story as a quaint dark-family-secret kind of tale, except that the secret, as you might expect from Innes, turns out to be not so very dark after all. The protagonist is Charles Honeybath, the elderly portrait painter and amateur detective featured in four novels of Innes's later period. This is very mild stuff and not particularly memorable in the author's canon, but extremely pleasant and amusing if you're in the mood for this kind of thing. The cover of the House of Stratus edition states that this is an Inspector Appleby mystery, which is not actually the case.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b70a704) out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7658b8) out of 5 stars The least interesting of Michael Innes' mysteries 1 Sept. 2012
By ealovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In spite of this book's subtitle, this is NOT an 'Inspector Appleby' mystery. "Lord Mullion's Secret" stars Charles Honeybath, a mild-mannered portrait painter. I've read all of Michael Innes' Inspector Appleby mysteries, and decided to branch out and follow the adventures of Honeybath, another one of Innes' highly literate, comfortably well-off English sleuths, although this character is by profession a portrait painter rather than a professional policeman.

This book might explain why the Honeybath series didn't run to more than four books ("The Mysterious Commission" (1974), "Honeybath's Haven" (1977), "Lord Mullion's Secret" (1981), and "Appleby and Honeybath" (1983)). It most definitely isn't a murder mystery, but a romance: Lord Mullion's daughter falls in love with the gardener's boy, who has mysterious ancestors. Honeybath doesn't even get started on a portrait until the book's end, although he does a bit of snooping amongst Lord Mullion's paintings, and discovers a missing miniature of one of the Earl's ancestors.

In fact, if I didn't like Michael Innes so much, I might even classify this book as boring. It certainly put me to sleep several nights running. I would recommend "Lord Mullion's Secret" only to the most rabid of this author's fans.
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