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Lament for a Maker

Lament for a Maker

An Inspector Appleby Mystery

by Michael Innes

Ipso Books

Horror, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 23 Aug 2017


Lament for a Maker is a novel that will not appeal to a wide audience. The first half is written in the local Scottish dialect. This gives flavor and helps build the setting, but it also is hard going for readers. As in the other novels that I’ve read by Michael Innes, Lament for a Maker takes its sweet time to reach the heart of the plot. I fear that many readers will be driven away by the difficult to read passages or worse - by boredom. Once you reach the heart of the mystery, things quickly liven up and become far more twisted and interesting. It’s obvious that Michael Innes revels in his cleverness, but his attempts at making things more real tend to be more offputting than immersive.

Inspector Appleby doesn’t enter until readers enter the latter half of the book. Unlike the majority of British Police Procedurals, the Inspector plays only a small role in the novel. Personally I prefer more traditionally styled procedurals.

Is Lament for a Maker cleverly plotted and put together, yes. Is it entertaining - that’s a far more difficult question to answer. For some, maybe. I can’t honestly answer yes.

3 / 5

I received a copy of Lament for a Maker from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Something is amiss at a remote castle isolated in the Scottish Highlands. Raving recluse Ranald Guthrie, much despised laird of Erchany, has been wandering his halls obsessively reciting an old Scottish poem: Timor mortis conturbat me. Fear of death disturbs me…

In the depths of a howling winter night, Guthrie falls to his death from the tower of his castle.

Inspector Appleby is called in to investigate this deadly accident. Immersing himself in the lonesome world in which Guthrie spent his final days, Appleby must separate dreadful truth from chilling legend to determine what really happened on that terrible night.

Was this truly an accident? Was Guthrie driven mad enough to take his own life? Or does something darker lurk within this gothic castle?

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