Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

When David Henchman started off on his walking excursion on the moor, he could not have conceived that he would end up in a run for his life. David and some other students were on a reading party during their spring holiday vacation from Oxford; they were reading Plato with Professor Pettifor.  David had decided to get away from the group for a day and to enjoy a walk through the moor.  His goal was to reach a hill called Knack Tor and to climb it.

David did climb it and at the top he found the body of a man with a bullet hole in his head, and a gun in his hand. David ascertained that he was alone with the body on the top, and looked over the edge where he saw a man walking by. David hailed the man who ignored him at first, and eventually climbed to the top of Knock Tor. Their conversation was essentially a negotiation about what they should do about the body. Should they both leave and report it or should one leave or should they just ignore it and go away. David became more and more suspicious of this man, and his suspicions were realized when the man took the gun from the dead man's hand and aimed it at David. David fled down the side of the tor and across the moor followed by the stranger.

David's run away from his pursuers makes for great reading. As he is totally running out of energy to continue, he meets Sir John Appleby of Scotland Yard who believes his rather fantastic story and takes considerable interest in retracing David's steps. Together they return to Knack Tor and find the body of a dead man, but not the dead man that David found the first time that he was there.

This book was written in 1957 and was also published as Appleby Plays Chicken. This title refers to the game of chicken which the students were playing the night before David had his encounter on Knack Tor. The book is a little short  in the display of Apple's detecting skills and not a lot of time is spent looking for clues and examining witnesses; instead there are several energetic chase scenes involving Appleby, David and the other students which keep the reader reading.

I have read this book for the  2017 Golden Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt in the category of a book with food of some sort on the cover.

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