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Lament for a maker

Michael Innes

This novel records events surrounding the dramatic, snow-bound death of a universally despised Scottish laird - was it suicide, did he fall, or was he pushed? The story is told, at length, by a series of narrators all offering a different viewpoint, and what starts as a simple puzzle builds to a desperate tragedy of Jacobean proportions. If you are looking for a light, 1930s, Christie-style confection to fill a couple of rainy hours, this is not for you. Remember that Michael Innes was a Scottish academic (Professor of English at Adelaide and, later, Oxford University) with an interest in psychology. The book starts with a witty pastiche of the then-popular Scots vernacular fiction - worth sticking with, as it is actually very funny in parts. Tropes from other literary forms are introduced (epistolatory novels, Gothic fiction, Jacobean drama). A character wanders in briefly from...

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