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Thriller Review – An Awkward Lie

An Awkward Lie by Michael Innes

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Sir John Appleby, Innes’ detective series hero, plays a only cameo role in this 1971 thriller. Playing the hero is his son, Bobby, a college kid.

Getting in a round of golf before breakfast, Bobby discovers a dead guy who’s missing his right index finger. The missing digit stirs something in Bobby’s memory but he is distracted by the sudden appearance of The Girl. As one of Innes’ typical capable, brainy and comely lasses, she sends Bobby to call for the police while she minds the crime scene.

But when Bobby returns with the cops, both corpse and The Girl have gone missing. The unfolding of the relatively short story and the abrupt ending are as enjoyably far-fetched as other Appleby mysteries.

Bobby is an interesting character, a Robbe-Grillet type novelist and ex-star athlete. The Girl, however, is not as keenly drawn as other game Innesian heroines and the usual comic characters that make Innes so much fun are nowhere to be found. Fans of Innes will tolerate a lesser effort while Innes-newbies should read the more entertaining Seven Suspects (wacky dons), Hamlet, Revenge! (wacky actors) or Appleby’s End (wacky aristocrats).

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