- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Penguin (1966)
- ASIN: B005J3GV6K
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
A CONNOISSEUR'S CASE (C2410) Mass Market Paperback – 1966
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At the beginning of "A Connoiseur's Case," the reader finds Sir John and his wife strolling along a disused canal, one fine English summer day. They indulge in affectionately ironic conversation, making it obvious that theirs is a long-standing marriage (although as I remember, they also talked that way to each other before marriage---see "Appleby's End"):
Lady Judith: "It's private enough. As we were saying, this country-side seems absolutely deserted. Not a sign of habitation, population, a trace of the modern world."
Sir John: "You're wrong there, Judith. Look south."
"Judith looked south---which was towards what Appleby had called the secondary motor road. All she saw was a momentary glint of light.
"'I think,' she said, `that I saw the sun reflected from the wind screen of a passing car. Right?'
"'Right as far as you go. What you saw was a silver-grey Rolls-Royce Phantom V.'
"'My dear John, it's terribly vulgar to name cars---particularly astoundingly expensive ones. It's only done by cheap novelists. You must just say: `a very large car.''
"Appleby received this with hilarity."
Eventually (you knew this was going to happen), the Applebys find a body floating face-down in the scummy canal-water. The quest for the murderer of returned prodigal, Seth Crabtree, proceeds in the leisurely fashion of a Golden Age British manor house mystery. It is leavened, as are all of Michael Innes's novels, with a great deal of erudite wit and conversation. It has not one, but two snobbish butlers, and also features Judith's eccentric great-uncle, Colonel Raven whose life's work-in-progress is the "Atlas and Entomology of the Dry-Fly Streams of England."
If you are a already a fan of Margery Allingham, Edmund Crispin, or Dorothy Sayers, you definitely need to add Michael Innes's mysteries to your reading list. "A Connoiseur's Case" is perfect in its class, and you will also learn quite a bit about the English Canal system.
Note: Alternate title is "The Crabtree Affair"