|About the Book|
Rupert Craine is a wealthy, cultured banker, who treats problems of high finance and additions to his collection of paintings with equal seriousness. He is aware, however, that his wife’s first husband, who was killed in the war in Italy, was aMoreRupert Craine is a wealthy, cultured banker, who treats problems of high finance and additions to his collection of paintings with equal seriousness. He is aware, however, that his wife’s first husband, who was killed in the war in Italy, was a brilliant artist. Something strange occurs when drawings by the latter suddenly appear on the market and a telegram summons Craine and his wife to Italy. There, the past grotesquely and irresistibly explodes into the present. ‘The author manages to depict the English social maze through his heros intrigued and piercing gaze.’The Author: John Innes Mackintosh Stewart (who also wrote as ‘Michael Innes’) was born in Edinburgh where his father was Director of Education. He attended Edinburgh Academy before going up to Oriel College, Oxford where he was awarded a first class degree in English and won the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize and was named a Bishop Frazer scholar. After a short interlude travelling with AJP Taylor in Austria, including studying Freudian psychoanalysis for a year, he embarked on an edition of Florio’s translation of Montaigne’s Essays. This subsequently helped him secure a post teaching English at Leeds University.In 1932, Stewart married Margaret Hardwick, who practised medicine, and they subsequently had three sons and two daughters. By 1935, he had been awarded the Jury Chair at the University of Adelaide in Australia as Professor of English and had also completed his first detective novel, ‘Death at the President’s Lodging’, published under the pseudonym ‘Michael Innes’. This was an immediate success and part of a long running series centred on ‘Inspector Appleby’, his primary character when writing as ‘Innes’. There were almost fifty titles completed under the ‘Innes’ banner during his career.In 1946, he returned to the UK and spent two years at Queens University in Belfast, before being appointed Student (Fellow and Tutor) at Christ Church, Oxford. He was later to hold the post of Reader in English Literature of Oxford University and upon his retirement was made an Emeritus Professor. Whilst never wanting to leave his beloved Oxford permanently, he did manage to fit into his busy schedule a visiting Professorship at the University of Washington and was also honoured by other Universities in the UK.Stewart wrote many works under his own name, including twenty-one works of fiction (which contained the highly acclaimed quintet entitled ‘A Staircase in Surrey’, centred primarily in Oxford, but with considerable forays elsewhere, especially Italy), several short story collections, and over nine learned works on the likes of Shakespeare, Kipling and Hardy. He was also a contributor to many academic publications, including a major section on modern writers for the Oxford History of English Literature. He died in 1994, the last published work being an autobiography: ‘Myself and Michael Innes’.J.I.M. Stewart’s fiction is greatly admired for its wit, plots and literary quality, whilst the non-fiction is acknowledged as being definitive.