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Authors: Michael Innes

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Appleby's Other Story

BOOK: Appleby's Other Story
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Copyright & Information

Appleby's Other Story

 

First published in 1974

© Michael Innes Literary Management Ltd.; House of Stratus 1974-2010

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

 

The right of Michael Innes to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted.

 

This edition published in 2010 by House of Stratus, an imprint of

Stratus Books Ltd., Lisandra House, Fore Street, Looe,

Cornwall, PL13 1AD, UK.

 

Typeset by House of Stratus.

 

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library and the Library of Congress.

 

ISBN: 075512085X   EAN: 9780755120857

 

This is a fictional work and all characters are drawn from the author's imagination.
Any resemblance or similarities to persons either living or dead are entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

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www.houseofstratus.com

 

 

About the Author

 

Michael Innes is the pseudonym of John Innes Mackintosh Stewart, who was born in Edinburgh in 1906. His father was Director of Education and as was fitting the young Stewart attended Edinburgh Academy before going up to Oriel, Oxford where he obtained a first class degree in English.

After a short interlude travelling with AJP Taylor in Austria, he embarked on an edition of
Florio's
translation of
Montaigne's Essays
and also took up a post teaching English at Leeds University.

By 1935 he was married, Professor of English at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and had completed his first detective novel,
Death at the President's Lodging
. This was an immediate success and part of a long running series centred on his character Inspector Appleby. A second novel, Hamlet Revenge, soon followed and overall he managed over fifty under the Innes banner during his career.

After returning to the UK in 1946 he took up a post with Queen's University, Belfast before finally settling as Tutor in English at Christ Church, Oxford. His writing continued and he published a series of novels under his own name, along with short stories and some major academic contributions, including a major section on modern writers for the
Oxford History of English Literature
.

Whilst not wanting to leave his beloved Oxford permanently, he managed to fit in to his busy schedule a visiting Professorship at the University of Washington and was also honoured by other Universities in the UK.

His wife Margaret, whom he had met and married whilst at Leeds in 1932, had practised medicine in Australia and later in Oxford, died in 1979. They had five children, one of whom (Angus) is also a writer. Stewart himself died in November 1994 in a nursing home in Surrey.

 

 

1

‘
Grove nods at grove
' – Sir John Appleby quoted – ‘
each alley has a brother
– '

‘What's that, my dear fellow?' Colonel Pride, who had drawn up his car on the Palladian bridge for a preliminary view of Elvedon Court, glanced at his companion with every appearance of perplexity.

‘
And half the platform just reflects the other
.'

‘Ah, a bit of poetry.' Pride nodded. He was seemingly gratified at having got, as he would have expressed it, right on the ball. ‘And I see what the chap means. All a bit formal, I agree. What another of those long-haired characters calls fearful symmetry.'

‘Just that.' Appleby was never very sure about his neighbour Tommy Pride. The most antediluvian type of Chief Constable, with the Indian Army behind him, he was readily put down as one who would have nothing but Kipling, Sir Henry Newbolt, and
The Forsyte Saga
on his shelf. And he certainly played up to that image. But here he was, producing a neat little joke out of William Blake. ‘Nothing that you could call forests of the night,' Appleby continued by way of appreciating it, ‘but an uncommonly fine beech avenue. And not a clump of trees in the park that doesn't, in some subtle fashion, balance another one. You don't care, Tommy, for wild nature tamed and landscape-gardened?'

‘If I owned Elvedon, I'd think no end of it. Tytherton certainly does. But one fancies what one was brought up to, wouldn't you say? My home was a Berkshire rectory, with a wild garden and a paddock and a hazel copse. What about you, John?'

‘A back street in a Midland town.'

‘Well, that's dashed interesting, I must say.' Pride didn't know Appleby particularly well, and the Christian names were a matter of his having been a childhood friend of Appleby's wife. But he did know that Appleby had risen to be Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, and thus the commander of 18,680 men, which compared very respectably with the Guards Division. Like every policeman, he also knew that as an unassuming CID man Appleby had been a legend in his time. All this gave Pride honest pleasure in his recently acquired acquaintance, and he had rather taken to showing him off. It was precisely this that he was about now. But he seemed in no hurry to drive on. ‘Much to be said for a middle station, eh?' he offered philosophically. ‘I've never been much of a one for great houses myself. And I suppose Elvedon counts as that.'

‘Well up the league table.' Appleby surveyed the mansion planted before them in the middle distance. ‘Would it be by somebody chasing up late Wren, but with some older things in mind? It's like a larger Queen's House at Greenwich.'

‘A bit in the same style inside, as a matter of fact. Symmetry and all that the thing there too. There's a big hall – rather a useless thing, to my mind – which is a double cube gone enormously lofty. And no end of small cubes making up the rest. Not really a graceful notion, would you say? Like living inside something made out of a child's box of bricks. If Maurice Tytherton shows you round, you may feel like wanting to pull the lid down by three or four feet. At least I do. Easier to heat that way – and easier for dusting too. But then I'm not a dab at architecture and all that, as I know you are.'

‘Oh. I'll probably agree.' Although Appleby did in fact enjoy gaping at splendid places it was his inclination to do so after paying his shillings at a turnstile and submerging himself in a crowd. He would be quite glad to get this courtesy call, as he considered it, performed and done with. ‘I imagine our ancestors felt more secure in common-or-garden caves than in caverns measureless to man. Have there been Tythertons here for a long time?'

‘Lord, no.' Pride seemed anxious to obviate misconception. ‘Totally unheard of in the county three generations ago. And unrelated, so far as I know, to the great Whig family that built the place. Victorian bankers who won out when all the little local concerns began to be bundled up together. Oceans of money now, but nothing immemorial about them.' Having thus perhaps reached an assurance that his friend would not be overawed, Pride appeared to judge it fair that something should be said on the other side. ‘But a perfectly civilized chap, this Tytherton. Wykehamist – and father and grandfather at the same shop. Man of taste, too. Pictures and so forth. Lost a dollop of them, as a matter of fact, in a robbery some years ago. I expect he'll enjoy holding forth to you on that.'

‘Most interesting.' Appleby was aware of a dark suspicion passing fleetingly through his mind. Art-thefts were known to have been rather his thing. ‘What kind of robbery?' he asked.

‘The case was closed a little before my coming on the job in these parts, so I'm not well up on it. Nothing spectacular, I believe. The thieves took alarm before getting at the best things. But the investigation, I'm sorry to say, appears to have been a flop so far as the police were concerned. I do know that Tytherton was very sensible about it all. Didn't raise all hell when our efforts were no go – as you must be so well aware some chaps do. Throw their weight about as people of influence, and all that.'

‘Yes, indeed.' Appleby was decidedly not without memories of this kind. ‘What sort of household does your friend Tytherton have?'

‘So far as family goes, there's just his wife Alice – who is rather younger that he is, and a good deal livelier. Quite ready to make eyes at a fellow, if you ask me.' Colonel Pride paused. ‘John,' he added hastily – thereby indicating that this is something one doesn't say about a woman except to an intimate friend. ‘There's only one child, a grown-up son by a former marriage, called Mark. He must be the heir to a good deal. But he lives in Argentina, where he's said to look after various substantial family interests. Never seems, though, to hop on a jet and visit dad and stepmum.'

‘And that occasions gossip?'

‘Bound to, eh? There are people who claim to remember Mark Tytherton as a bad hat. Malicious twaddle, as likely as not. He may be a dud, of course, but that's not the same thing.'

‘Not remotely.' Appleby had listened not without amusement to Colonel Pride's entirely gentlemanlike way of straying into scandal. ‘Mark may merely be a mild drunk, or a little given to drugs, or not to be trusted with the housemaids.'

‘Quite so. Anything of that kind. Then there's a nephew, also of the name of Tytherton, who comes and goes. Archie Tytherton. No notion what his line is, but it seems to allow him a good deal of leisure. That's the whole family, so far as I know. The only other regular is a fellow whose name I forget. No I don't. Ramsden. Something-or-other Ramsden. He's unmarried, and lives in the house, and seems to combine managing the farms and acting as Tytherton's personal secretary. Perhaps we'd better drive on.'

BOOK: Appleby's Other Story
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