I’ve read a lot of Michael Innes books over the years and also his books written under the name J.I.M. Stewart and I usually really enjoy them but for me The Daffodil Affair was a disappointment. It was first published in 1942 and it’s an Appleby mystery so I settled down to enjoy a good wartime puzzle but the storyline is decidedly weird and really if it had been written by anyone else I think I would have given up on it fairly early on – and I hardly ever give up on books.
The story begins in wartime London where bombs have been raining down and ruined buildings are part of daily life. At Scotland Yard the Assistant-Commissioner’s sister who resides in Harrogate has reported that a horse called Daffodil has disappeared, it happens to be her favourite cab-horse. Appleby is dispatched to that northern England spa town to get to the bottom of the mystery.
But it isn’t only a horse which has vanished, a young girl called Lucy Rideout and a London house have disappeared too. The house was supposedly haunted.
It turns out that someone is gathering people who are supposed to possess special psychic powers together, with the intention of assembling a huge psychic circus, and Appleby and his side-kick Hudspith end up travelling to the other side of the world to get to the bottom of it all – in the middle of a world war!!!
As I said, this is a deeply weird one, I’m just wondering if Michael Innes was on some sort of medication at the time!
I read this one as part of the Read Scotland 2014 challenge. I wouldn’t recommend it, but don’t be put off trying other books by the author.