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on 19 August 2014
This is a classic early Innes. A traditional murder mystery, set in a university (his home territory), full of clever witticisms and academic banter. The author clearly had a lot of fun sending up his fellow-academics. Very dated, of course, but well written and a lot of fun.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 January 2018
I have to say that I didn't enjoy The Weight Of The Evidence as much as some Innes novels. It has his characteristic dry, satirical wit but I do have my reservations.

This, the eighth in the Appleby series, sees him in "Nestfield" University (a scarcely disguised Leeds) investigating the death of an academic who has been killed by a falling meteorite. It is plainly an act of murder and Innes's trademark cast of wittily satirised suspect characters and a plot which depends intricately upon precise times and the exact placement of buildings and people develops.

Innes's skewering portraits of academics when set in Oxford seem like poking fun at his peers. Here, I find a tinge of condescension which I don’t like at all. I know that Innes himself was a lecturer at Leeds and he even has Appleby inwardly condemn one academic as a snob, but there is still a slight air of sneering at provincials who don't do things "properly" in the way that Oxford Colleges do. As a result it seemed far more self-consciously - perhaps even self-regardingly - highbrow than some of his other books. This is a personal feeling, and I'm sure it is not what Innes intended, but it still marred my enjoyment in quite a few places.

Others may not agree, and certainly if you like Innes's dry, witty academic banter and rather grumpy take on modern (i.e. 1940s) life there is much here to enjoy. For me, though, it's not one I'll be going back to.

(My thanks to Ipso Books for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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on 26 January 2018
Professor Pluckrose is killed by a skilfully-launched meteorite while sitting on a deckchair in the quadrangle of Nesfield University. Inspector Hobhouse and John Appleby investigate.

Nesfield is closely based on Leeds University where J I M Stewart lectured from 1930-35. The story is broadly a send-up of the detective genre and of the petty world of provincial Academe. It is full of Classical and Eng. Lit. quotations and allusions, whimsy and artifice, a blend which many may find irritating and over-elaborate.

I found it easier to read-and stomach- than many Innes novels. Treat it as a kind of intellectual exercise and you will enjoy it. After all, there may be-and are- many possible solutions to this mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ipso Books for the digital review copy.
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on 6 May 2015
This is beautifully written - very witty. It has good characterisation of "types" - a range of university dons- and a very good puzzle. There is much more to it than some of Innes' later books which are quite slight. But I do agree with the reviewer who suggested the ending was a bit of a let down. I do not wish to give away the plot but....if you wish to solve the mystery yourself, pay attention to Inspector Appleby's notes towards the end. I thought too much explanation was involved in the final chapter. Still a good book by a classic writer of the genre - and early enough for Appleby to be still an Inspector rather than of very exalted rank - this makes for some interesting evidence of social attitudes contemporary with the time. Very good bedtime reading - excellent for relaxation. Not for you if you are a fan of gritty realism.
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on 17 January 2018
A nostalgic detective story full of academic banter and send-ups and a witty swipe at the genre with surely one of the craziest murder weapons ever: a meteorite! Appleby is at home amongst the pomposity, and is ahead of us in untangling a case not quite as convoluted as usual. This series has grown on me - fun!
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on 27 April 2001
Map of Nesfield Univeristy - Wool Court and surrounding buildings; with Tower over From beginning to end, this Appleby tale set in a university is a sheer delight to read, due to the excellent dialogue, the humour, the interesting and amusing characters, and the maze of bizarre and mystifying events, involving meteorites, love affairs, and false beards - reminding the reader of John Dickson Carr's Arabian Nights Murder (1936). The murder is unique in that the actual murder - that is, not the surrounding circumstances, but the grisly and gory deed itself - is funny. The ending, however, is an anti-climax.
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on 17 January 2018
Excellent! An engaging,entertaining,hugely enjoyable mystery.
These early mysteries are well worth a read .
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on 10 January 2010
I have now read a number of 'Inspector Appleby' mysteries and must confess myself a bit disappointed with this one. Most of these are very good but this one, after a promising start, sort of fizzled out half way through.
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on 28 July 2016
This is set in Leeds University. If you want a vision of Leeds just before the war this is the place to go. The courtyard where the meteorite falls is still there (but the strength of materials lab has moved). Wodehouse Moor is still there but the trams no longer cross it. The Queens Hotel survived the war; take the no.1 bus to follow Appleby's route to the north. Good nostalgic stuff.
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