by Marv Lachman
MICHAEL INNES – A Night of Errors. Dodd Mead, US, hardcover, 1947. US paperback reprints include: Berkley F833, 1963; Penguin, 1966; Perennial Library, 1989 (shown). First UK edition: Gollancz, hardcover, 1948.
In A Night of Errors by Michael lanes, the inspector who asks Sir John Appleby’s assistance says, “The whole thing is a nightmare. Three identical brothers creeping around the place with each other’s dead bodies! It’s like a drunken hallucination.”
It’s certainly a hilarious farce, one which owes more than its similarity of title to Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors. One character is Romeo Dromio. There is also a thieving butler named Swindle, and Grubb, the gardener who “had long schooled himself in the prime duty of being disgruntled
Besides the civilized dialogue and literary allusions we have come to expect from Innes, there are many plot surprises, as well as a fair and ingenious, if scarcely believable, solution.