It’s back down to earth with a bump for John Appleby following* the fantastic events of “The Daffodil Affair” and its unique motive for murder – and what a bump it is for Professor Pluckrose who has been struck by a meteorite! But this is no Act of God: the heavenly body has been dropped onto the learned gentleman from the tower of Nesfield University.
There are many questions that Appleby must answer: Is it really Pluckrose who is dead? If so, was he the intended victim? Why lug the meteorite up the tower when equally deadly objects were already there? Is there any connection to Greek myth? And what is the significance of the three false beards?
As with Death at the President’s Lodging, the academic community present Appleby with their own observations and theories but always with their own individual interests at heart, so Appleby has to work hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Whilst the solution does cleverly answer one of the central questions which is repeated throughout the book, it does come through a disappointing confessional letter, rather than a nice summary from Appleby explaining how he got to the solution.
Overall, the least satisfying of the series so far, though with much that Innes’ fans will still enjoy, but definitely not one to make his detractors change their minds.
*Following in publication order only. This story is actually set pre-WWII.
Vintage Mystery Challenge
Fulfils “Who – An academic”.