By J.I.M. Stewart
Penelope, the daughter of a neighborhood priest, is lured to a villa within the south of France the place she is the sufferer of a merciless hoax. As to how she got here into the placement, we're first brought to her as a toddler and the heritage is determined out with Stewart’s ordinary wit and hugely descriptive writing. Fulke Ferneydale, now a wealthy novelist, knew Penelope then – certainly, in her later teenage years he without warning proposed to her, yet she grew to become him down. on the time, he had whatever of a chip on his shoulder as his father used to be ‘in trade’, that's anything Penelope’s father regarded down upon in a snobbish demeanour, even though it didn’t have an effect on her. as a result, Ferneydale went off and married Sophie, even if he to that end controlled to get pleasure from a string of mistresses and younger boys. Penelope married Caspar, yet he's withdrawn, scholarly and uninteresting, let alone materially unsuccessful. So what's to develop into of her in France? there are lots of twists to this story, now not least the ultimate surprise.
The writer: John Innes waterproof coat Stewart (who additionally wrote as ‘Michael Innes’) used to be born in Edinburgh the place his father was once Director of schooling. He attended Edinburgh Academy prior to going as much as Oriel collage, Oxford the place he used to be provided a firstclass measure in English and gained the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and was once named a Bishop Frazer pupil. After a brief interlude vacationing with AJP Taylor in Austria, together with learning Freudian psychoanalysis for a yr, he launched into an variation of Florio’s translation of Montaigne’s Essays. This for that reason helped him safe a publish instructing English at Leeds University.
In 1932, Stewart married Margaret Hardwick, who practised medication, and so they as a consequence had 3 sons and daughters. by means of 1935, he have been presented the Jury Chair on the collage of Adelaide in Australia as Professor of English and had additionally accomplished his first detective novel, ‘Death on the President’s Lodging’, released less than the pseudonym ‘Michael Innes’. This used to be a right away luck and a part of an extended working sequence focused on ‘Inspector Appleby’, his basic personality while writing as ‘Innes’. there have been nearly fifty titles accomplished below the ‘Innes’ banner in the course of his profession.
In 1946, he lower back to the united kingdom and spent years at Queen's collage in Belfast, sooner than being appointed pupil (Fellow and coach) at Christ Church, Oxford. He used to be later to carry the publish of Reader in English Literature of Oxford collage and upon his retirement was once made an Emeritus Professor. when by no means eager to depart his cherished Oxford completely, he did have the ability to healthy into his busy time table a vacationing Professorship on the college of Washington and was once additionally honoured by means of different Universities within the united kingdom.
Stewart wrote many works below his personal identify, together with twenty-one works of fiction (which contained the hugely acclaimed quintet entitled ‘A Staircase in Surrey’, targeted basically in Oxford, yet with substantial forays in different places, particularly Italy), numerous brief tale collections, and over 9 realized works at the likes of Shakespeare, Kipling and Hardy. He used to be additionally a contributor to many educational courses, together with an incredible part on glossy writers for the Oxford historical past of English Literature. He died in 1994, the final released paintings being an autobiography: ‘Myself and Michael Innes’.
J.I.M. Stewart’s fiction is vastly prominent for its wit, plots and literary caliber, while the non-fiction is stated as being definitive.