Stewart, J I M

Stewart, J I M
▪ 1995

      British novelist and literary critic (b. Sept. 30, 1906, Edinburgh, Scot.—d. Nov. 12, 1994, Coulsdon, Surrey, England), created the character of Inspector John Appleby, a British sleuth known for his suave humour, "raised eyebrow," and literary finesse. Stewart wrote such beloved murder mysteries as Appleby's End (1945), The Journeying Boy (1949), and Operation Pax (1951) under the pseudonym Michael Innes. Stewart was unique among fellow mystery writers of the day because he allowed his fictional inspector to grow older naturally, from a young man into middle age and finally into retirement. Stewart did not, however, set out to become a popular novelist. He was first an admired teacher and respected literary aficionado. While making a sea voyage from England to Australia to assume the post of Jury Professor of English Literature at the University of Adelaide (1935-45), Stewart began to write a mystery novel, Death at the President's Lodging (1936), the first of almost 50 novels and short stories written under his pseudonym. Upon publication the mystery was immediately recognized as unique within the genre because of its stylish wit. Other fictional works written under Stewart's name include Mark Lambert's Supper (1954), The Guardians (1955), An Acre of Grass (1965), and A Villa in France (1982). In addition to these novels, Stewart also wrote many scholarly books using his real name, including works on Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, and Rudyard Kipling. He held academic posts at the University of Leeds in England (1930-35), Queen's University of Belfast (1946-48), and the University of Oxford (1969-73). His autobiography, Myself and Michael Innes, was published in 1987.

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