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Innes, Michael

English writer of thrillers, if 'thriller' is really the word for books where reflection is as important as action. Prose style on occasion mannered to the point of precious, but most of the time elegant and readable.

Under the pen-name of Michael Innes, J.I.M. Stewart produced stylish books of detection and deduction usually involving one or more of three characters: John Appleby (a Scotland Yard policeman who eventually reaches the eminence of Assistant Commissioner), his son Bobby or the painter Charles Honeybath.

My favourites include:

Writing under his own name, he produced a set of moderately ponderous books involving people and events connected with an Oxford college. Marbled with angst and rich with characters too prone to exhaustive self-examination, they are still seventeen times more readable than any of C.P. Snow and entirely free of the viciousness that poisons Simon Raven.

Both Innes and Stewart have an eye for male beauty I find almost disconcerting; certainly unexpected in the country-house world of Innes, where even ankles(which belong, opf course, to ladies) are mentioned only with respect.