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Whose Body?

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The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detec The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.

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The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detec The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.

30 review for Whose Body?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    The very first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, and thus the genesis of one of the most engaging characters I've ever encountered, literary or otherwise. Actually, make that at least two (since Bunter is equally astounding), and maybe three (because the Dowager's quite engaging, too). In rereading this, I found myself surprised at how solid the characters are at the very beginning of the series; they are essentially the same fully-realized people they are ten books later, though we only see certain face The very first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, and thus the genesis of one of the most engaging characters I've ever encountered, literary or otherwise. Actually, make that at least two (since Bunter is equally astounding), and maybe three (because the Dowager's quite engaging, too). In rereading this, I found myself surprised at how solid the characters are at the very beginning of the series; they are essentially the same fully-realized people they are ten books later, though we only see certain facets of them here. More dimension follows later. There is so much that I love about this book, including the very first page; its first two words, and indeed the first two words Wimsey ever utters to us, are "Oh, damn!" Just a few lines down is the sentence that encapsulates so much about Sayers's writing, the perfect litmus test for the Lord Peter series: "His long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola." Either you find that quirkily poetic and want to read more, or you should be reading something else entirely. (Curiously, this is only the first of no fewer than three completely random and incidental mentions in this volume of that particular cheese. I have to assume that Sayers was a fan.) The actual mystery is brilliant: a man goes into his bathroom one morning to find a naked corpse in the tub, wearing nothing but a pair of golden pince-nez. He has no idea who the man might be or how he came to be dead in his tub. Meanwhile, a financial bigwig's gone missing, and while he bears a superficial likeness to the corpse found across town, they are clearly not one and the same. But as satisfying as the cases are, more satisfying by far is the chance to meet Lord Peter as he babbles foolishly in the way only the very rich can get away with, picking apart the mysteries while quoting poetry in between snifters of Napoleon brandy and bidding on early editions of Dante. And early-'20s England is painted beautifully—which is not entirely surprising, given that the book was written in, erm, early-'20s England. Quite. There are some rough edges, to be sure (the odd temporary shifts into second person perspective leap to mind), but they are ultimately very forgivable in a first novel and almost seem charming in light of the later works. If you'd like to give it a whirl before expending any energy to get an actual copy of the book, the novel is now public domain, and appears in its entirety here: [http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome...]. And the preface is quite good, too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    Time to meet Lord Peter Wimsey, archetype of amateur gentleman detective & his sidekick, the invaluable valet Bunter. “Bunter!” “Yes, my lord.” “Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.” “Indeed, my lord? That’s very gratifying.” “Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me." Update 13/03/2017 I did not really have any expectations, this book having been my first from Dorothy L. Sayers, Time to meet Lord Peter Wimsey, archetype of amateur gentleman detective & his sidekick, the invaluable valet Bunter. “Bunter!” “Yes, my lord.” “Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.” “Indeed, my lord? That’s very gratifying.” “Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me." Update 13/03/2017 I did not really have any expectations, this book having been my first from Dorothy L. Sayers, just some curiosity of how she compares to my beloved Agatha Christie. Having said that much, I was still pleasantly surprised at how much enjoyed reading it. I loved the all characters: Lord Peter Wimsey, Bunter, detective inspector Parker & the Dowager Duchess of Denver (Lord Peter's mother). In the beginning, Bunter read very much like Jeeves to Lord Peter's Bertie Wooster: Lord Peter Wimsey: "It’s much easier to work on someone else’s job than one’s own—gives one that delightful feelin’ of interferin’ and bossin’ about, combined with the glorious sensation that another fellow is takin’ all one’s own work off one’s hands." Bunter: "Yes, Mr. Graves, it’s a hard life, valeting by day and developing by night—morning tea at any time from 6.30 to 11, and criminal investigation at all hours." "I’m off. With a taxi I can just—” “Not in those trousers, my lord,” said Mr. Bunter, blocking the way to the door with deferential firmness. “Oh, Bunter,” pleaded his lordship, “do let me—just this once. You don’t know how important it is.” “Not on any account, my lord. It would be as much as my place is worth.” Their exchanges are funny and a nice comic relief, but as the story continues both characters -along with DI Parker - gather depth. Nothing too elaborately detailed, but rather through some nice little touches you learn that a seemingly flippant, offhand Lord Peter served in WW I and suffered a nervous breakdown due to shell shock from which he never recovered completely. Sometimes he has relapses, especially if his investigations -like here- lead to someone (even though a murderer) losing their life. We also learn that Bunter served under Lord Peter's command & during his relapses he takes care of him conscientiously & effectively. Detective Parker seems to be another sidekick to Lord Peter. “It affords me, if I may say so, the greatest satisfaction,” continued the noble lord, “that in a collaboration like ours all the uninteresting and disagreeable routine work is done by you.” He is thorough, cautious, clever & well-educated (reminds me a bit of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the Perry Mason series). He likes reading biblical commentary as a chill-out before going to sleep. One of the most interesting parts of the book was a conversation between Lord Peter & Parker which highlights their characters even more: “Look here, Peter,” said the other with some earnestness, “suppose you get this playing-fields-of-Eton complex out of your system once and for all. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that something unpleasant has happened to Sir Reuben Levy. Call it murder, to strengthen the argument. If Sir Reuben has been murdered, is it a game? and is it fair to treat it as a game?” “That’s what I’m ashamed of, really,” said Lord Peter. “It is a game to me, to begin with, and I go on cheerfully, and then I suddenly see that somebody is going to be hurt, and I want to get out of it.” “Yes, yes, I know,” said the detective, “but that’s because you’re thinking about your attitude. You want to be consistent, you want to look pretty, you want to swagger debonairly through a comedy of puppets or else to stalk magnificently through a tragedy of human sorrows and things. But that’s childish. If you’ve any duty to society in the way of finding out the truth about murders, you must do it in any attitude that comes handy. You want to be elegant and detached? That’s all right, if you find the truth out that way, but it hasn’t any value in itself, you know. You want to look dignified and consistent—what’s that got to do with it? You want to hunt down a murderer for the sport of the thing and then shake hands with him and say, ‘Well played—hard luck—you shall have your revenge tomorrow!’ Well, you can’t do it like that. Life’s not a football match. You want to be a sportsman. You can’t be a sportsman. You’re a responsible person.” “I don’t think you ought to read so much theology,” said Lord Peter. “It has a brutalizing influence.” When finding out who the murderer is, Lord Peter gets also thrown into a moral dilemma (view spoiler)[ The murderer, though not a nice person, as such, is a very useful member of society, who does some good work & is charitable (hide spoiler)] that brings on one of his relapses. You can guess who the perpetrator is relatively quickly. Sayers places her clues inconspicuously, but they can be discovered without much difficulty and yet it does not really diminish the merits of the book. It stays enjoyable from beginning to end.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jaline - (on 2/3 hiatus)

    Dorothy L. Sayers wrote mysteries (notably, the Lord Peter Wimsey series) from the 1920’s through the early 1950’s. She also did translations, such as Dante’s Inferno. She was a controversial writer of her time and a very accomplished one. From letters she wrote, she had begun working out her plot for Whose Body? in 1920-21 and the book was published in 1923. Lord Peter Wimsey has found his own critics as a character. He was in WWI and experienced “shell shock” with a consequent fear of responsib Dorothy L. Sayers wrote mysteries (notably, the Lord Peter Wimsey series) from the 1920’s through the early 1950’s. She also did translations, such as Dante’s Inferno. She was a controversial writer of her time and a very accomplished one. From letters she wrote, she had begun working out her plot for Whose Body? in 1920-21 and the book was published in 1923. Lord Peter Wimsey has found his own critics as a character. He was in WWI and experienced “shell shock” with a consequent fear of responsibility due to his regiment being decimated during the war. He comes off as garrulous at times due to nervous tension, and all the quirks of his personality are due to his war experiences. At the same time, he is aware of his life of privilege and wants to do something meaningful; thus, his ‘hobby’ of investigating crime cases. The Dowager Duchess of Denver, Lord Peter’s and Lord Wimsey’s (Gerald) mother, is shrewd enough to know that if her son is to fully recover, his hobby could be a good avenue for getting there. When she learns that the body of a man turns up in the tub of an architect she knows, she lets Peter know about it and asks him to see if there is anything he can do. Detective Sugg, an “arrest-whoever-is-handy” sort, is in the process of trying to find proof that the architect and his house maid contrived to hide this crime in plain view. Lord Peter disagrees, and his friend with Scotland Yard, Charles Parker, sees it the same as Lord Peter. Meantime, Parker also has a case that just came up: a well-known Jewish financier named Sir Reuben Levy has disappeared. Thus begins the story that winds its way through many different households and settings. The writing is definitely brilliant and, aside from Lord Peter’s own thought processes becoming the chief red herrings, those same wayward thought processes get the job of solving the crime done. Bunter, Lord Peter’s manservant and one of his Seargents in the war, is a photography buff and aids in both finding and eliminating possible leads. Parker takes up a lot of Lord Peter’s slack when Lord Peter experiences agitation at getting too close to possible suspects. At one point, Parker lectures him that he can’t treat crime solving like a football match at school; that it isn’t a game and he must get over his notion of giving suspects a “sporting chance”. Lord Peter, at one point, does have an episode with flashbacks to the war. It is when he believes he has discovered a guilty person and is reluctant, yet driven, to do the right thing. The depth of the characters is one of the chief features of this book. While they may awkwardly hide behind academics or sheer verbal frivolity at times, there are reasons (if no excuses) for these excursions. I enjoyed the psychological aspects of the characters as much as I did the mystery itself. This initial offering in the series has made me very curious and I look forward to getting to know these characters further in the second book of the series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    Oh, I feel so badly how much I disliked this book. As a mystery genre fan and avid reader of Agatha Christie, I thought for sure I would enjoy the much-reccomended Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. But alas, I found myself bored and annoyed by the personalities of the characters. The plot seems interesting enough: a random body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of glasses shows up in a bathtub. Who is he and how did it get there? Book collector Peter Wimsey is on the case! To be ho Oh, I feel so badly how much I disliked this book. As a mystery genre fan and avid reader of Agatha Christie, I thought for sure I would enjoy the much-reccomended Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. But alas, I found myself bored and annoyed by the personalities of the characters. The plot seems interesting enough: a random body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of glasses shows up in a bathtub. Who is he and how did it get there? Book collector Peter Wimsey is on the case! To be honest I couldn't bring myself to complete this book. The characters were much too arrogant for my taste and the whole take on the mystery solving seemed primitive. Not to mention constant anti-semetic comments littering much of the book. I just was very turned off by it all. Some people consider this an early mystery masterpiece. Me? I pass.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    British Jason #1: Jolly good book, what? British Jason #2: Oh, rather! British Jason #1: I say, how much longer do you suppose we can keep this up? British Jason #2: Not long, old bean. I've run out of stereotypical Brit words and this ridiculous accent is doing me head in! I almost filed this all up in my PG Wodehouse shelf. The similarities in style, setting and character are striking. There's a somewhat daffy lead in Lord Peter Wimsey, though he's clearly got more on the ball than Bertie Wooster. British Jason #1: Jolly good book, what? British Jason #2: Oh, rather! British Jason #1: I say, how much longer do you suppose we can keep this up? British Jason #2: Not long, old bean. I've run out of stereotypical Brit words and this ridiculous accent is doing me head in! I almost filed this all up in my PG Wodehouse shelf. The similarities in style, setting and character are striking. There's a somewhat daffy lead in Lord Peter Wimsey, though he's clearly got more on the ball than Bertie Wooster. There's the taciturn Parker, just a little looser and given more freedom than the butler Jeeves. After all, Parker is a police investigator and his own man. Even the time and place, 1920s England, hits the Jeeves/Wooster mark. The mystery of who dunnit wasn't exactly mind-boggling. I suspected the culprit almost the moment he hit the stage. But this mystery doesn't seem to care for the diabolical plot as much as others in the genre. Dorothy Sayers appears perhaps more interested in developing a deeper character. No, no one between the pages of Whose Body? is coming close to Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov, but Sayers seems more concerned with her whys as opposed to her whos. For instance, the reasoning behind Lord Peter's desire to catch criminals comes into question more than once through the book. His past reaches into the present to color the proceedings. These are nice touches that you don't tend to get with Agatha Christie. Does Sayers always succeed in her quest for why? No. Allow me to explain: The criminal's confession is more than a mystery genre trope. It's a staple. Unnaturally delivered admissions of guilt absolutely abound in these books and it is taken to a RIDICULOUS extreme in Whose Body? Sure, the bad guy is said to be one of those clever chaps who needs to brag, but that doesn't justify the lengths to which the character details his every move. Let's face it, Sayers had come up with something good and she couldn't help blurting it out. Bah, I don't care. It was very interesting after all. I don't think I could put this review to bed without mentioning this book's racism. It is a product of its time, a time when Jewish intolerance was rising and no one but whites were thought much of by whites. Also, at one point the main character says something like "He's got a touch of the tar-baby in him." Perhaps it's all part of Sayers' attempt to create a well-rounded and representative person from 1920s England. Perhaps it was the casual racism that came naturally to her as it did to so many of her era. If you don't understand and need an example, have a look around. It's the same sort of casual racism happening today.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    At last, I pick up Dorothy Sayers' first mystery novel and finally learn the Origins of Lord Peter! ...except, this isn't an origin story like I was expecting. We don't get to see Lord Peter as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, deciding to become a defender of justice while pretending to be a empty-headed rich playboy (oh man, did anyone else start thinking of Peter Wimsey/Batman slashfic? Maybe Batman builds a time machine and goes back to the 1930's and he and Peter fight crime together while Alfre At last, I pick up Dorothy Sayers' first mystery novel and finally learn the Origins of Lord Peter! ...except, this isn't an origin story like I was expecting. We don't get to see Lord Peter as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, deciding to become a defender of justice while pretending to be a empty-headed rich playboy (oh man, did anyone else start thinking of Peter Wimsey/Batman slashfic? Maybe Batman builds a time machine and goes back to the 1930's and he and Peter fight crime together while Alfred and Bunter hang out and trade dry witticisms and then everyone makes out. Give me a couple days, I'll work on it.) - instead, this is more like the earlier Batman movies, where he's already running around Gotham punching people in funny outfits and it's always been that way. There are some references in this book to Peter taking up detective work out of boredom, but when the book starts he's already solved several important cases and has his method figured out. Boo on Sayers for not giving me the gritty origin story I expected, but that's okay. Aside from that quibble, I enjoyed this story pretty well - like most other reviewers, I guessed the culprit pretty quickly, but it's not Sayers' fault that I watch so much Law and Order: SVU and have learned to pick out the patterns. This is very obviously a first novel, and her style has improved a lot since this book. It's not the best in the series, but it's still a fun, brief detective romp. Which leaves only one thing left to talk about. RACISM. In her very thoughtful review of this book, Kelly expressed discomfort with what she saw as anti-Semitic elements present throughout the plot. Having now finished the book, I disagree with this reading, and will try to explain myself without pissing anyone off. First: an author is not her characters, and just because a character expresses a certain view does not mean that the author shares this view. It's true that some of the minor characters in this book express anti-Semitic opinion, but I think Sayers is using their prejudiced beliefs to make a point about how Jews were seen by the general population at the time - I don't think anyone can deny that in the 1920's, people were still racist as hell. Secondly, I read the book specifically looking for anti-Semitic statements and...I just don't see them. Some (not all) characters are prejudiced against Jews, but no one is saying that Jews are evil - if anything, characters just echo commonly accepted misconceptions and stereotypes about Jews, and none of it seems motivated by a particular malice, but by just general ignorance. A prime example of this is Peter's mother who delivers what Kelly saw as a lengthy rant against Jews (I think she was referencing Peter's mother, anyway - the character's not named in the review, so I apologize if I got it wrong, Kelly) Here's some of the Duchess's dialogue, judge for yourself: "...and I'm sure some Jews are very good people, and personally I'd much rather they believed something, though of course it must be very inconvenient, what with not working on Saturdays and circumcising the poor little babies and everything depending on the new moon and that funny kind of meat they have with such a slang-sounding name, and never being able to have bacon for breakfast. Still, there it was, and it was much better for the girl to marry him if she was really fond of him..." I don't see anti-Semitism in that. Peter's mother doesn't understand Judaism very well, but there's nothing particularly unkind in her dialogue - in fact, she's basically saying, "Yes, Jews are different and I don't understand their religion at all, but they should be able to marry who they like." Furthermore, I think that based on what I know of Sayers' other books, the speech is meant to be a comic display of how little Judaism was understood at the time. I don't think Peter's mother is anti-Semitic, and I don't think the book is, either.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Connie G

    Lord Peter Wimsey is a charming, intelligent aristocrat who keeps occupied as a rare book collector and an amateur sleuth. Set in post-World War I Britain, he occasionally suffers from PTSD from his war years. Wimsey enlists the help of his valet, Mervyn Bunter, in the detective work, and the dry British wit of the duo had me laughing. Wimsey's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, is another wonderful character--a socialite who often voices the feelings of the 1920s upper class. A body--naked e Lord Peter Wimsey is a charming, intelligent aristocrat who keeps occupied as a rare book collector and an amateur sleuth. Set in post-World War I Britain, he occasionally suffers from PTSD from his war years. Wimsey enlists the help of his valet, Mervyn Bunter, in the detective work, and the dry British wit of the duo had me laughing. Wimsey's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, is another wonderful character--a socialite who often voices the feelings of the 1920s upper class. A body--naked except for a pair of gold pince-nez-- is found in the bathtub of an acquaintance of Wimsey's mother. On the same day Reuben Levy, an important Jewish financier, is reported missing. The corpse has a mild resemblance to Levy. Wimsey, Bunter, and the competent Inspector Parker from Scotland Yard work together to solve the cases. A confessional letter by the criminal at the end of the book detailed why the corpse was found in the tub. Although the characters seem to think that the Jewish Reuben Levy is a good person, there were quite a few stereotypical comments about Jews scattered throughout the book. It is probably reflective of the lack of understanding of other religions and ethnic groups that existed in 1923. This short detective story is the first of a series of Lord Peter Wimsey cozy mysteries. It kept my interest, and I especially enjoyed the humor.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    There are many book series that over the years I have said "I'd love to read those books!'' and then never did. Lord Peter Wimsey is one of those great characters that I vowed to visit, and promptly forgot my promise. In an attempt to turn over a new leaf reading-wise, I am changing this habit. When I find a book that really appeals to me, I make the time and read the book! This does mean that I reshuffle my TBR pile more, but that's ok. I have already read several delightful books that I probab There are many book series that over the years I have said "I'd love to read those books!'' and then never did. Lord Peter Wimsey is one of those great characters that I vowed to visit, and promptly forgot my promise. In an attempt to turn over a new leaf reading-wise, I am changing this habit. When I find a book that really appeals to me, I make the time and read the book! This does mean that I reshuffle my TBR pile more, but that's ok. I have already read several delightful books that I probably never would have read otherwise. They would all still be lost in wishicouldreadthisland. Recently I read an article listing several female detective writers that wrote before and at the same time as Agatha Christie, and I had never read a single word of any of their writings. Then I watched a documentary by Lucy Worsley about British murders that mentioned most of the same authors again. When the little voice inside my head started saying "I would love to read that!'' I didn't allow myself to just forget about it . I immediately picked one of the authors -- Dorothy L. Sayers. I went to openlibrary.org and found a scanned copy of Whose Body? and actually started reading! Finally reading Sayers is just the first step. I have a whole list of female mystery writers from that time period....and one at a time, I'm going to actually delve into their fictional worlds and savor their exceptional talent as storytellers. Whose Body? is the first Lord Peter Wimsey story. He is quite an interesting character. English aristocracy. Wealthy, privileged, a bit of an upper class dandy....but with a difference....he can solve crimes. He's different from Sherlock and Poirot in that he goes after a case with a sense of flair, humor, and upper class sarcasm. He uses his social standing to gain a foothold and his brains to finish the job. I thought I might find him annoying....rather upper class twit-ish. But from the first chapter of Whose Body? I found myself liking Wimsey....he's amusing, capable and at times, pokes fun at himself and his class with witty bad verse and even song. Too much fun! In his first case, Wimsey teams up with his friend Charles Parker, to solve the discovery of a murdered naked dead man in a bathtub, and the disappearance of a local financier, Sir Reuben Levy. Levy left his house in the middle of the night without so much as a stitch of clothing with him, never to return. The police (namely Wimsey's nemesis, Detective Sugg) want to claim the dead body in the tub as the financier....find a naked man, lose a naked man, they must be one and the same, right? But Wimsey knows the dead man is not the missing wealthy Jewish financier......so who is he? Sugg is quick to rush to judgement in an effort to close the case -- he arrests the man who lives in the apartment where the dead body was discovered, and a servant girl. Wimsey knows Mr. Thipps did not kill the strange man, but he knows he needs to discover the identity of the found corpse and his killer and find the missing banker before Sugg makes more mistakes. With his trusty man servant Bunter and Scotland Yard's Charles Parker in tow, Lord Peter Wimsey is on the case! At just over 200 pages, this book is a quick and fun read. Wimsey and Parker each take a case and begin investigating, then compare information with each other. And Wimsey's trusted manservant Bunter photographs items and dusts for fingerprints, all while quizzing the servants about their employers and anything they may have witnessed or overheard. All of this is done with Sugg of Scotland Yard seething in the background. Wimsey pulled rank (his mother is good friends with the Chief, of course) and has complete access to the crime scenes. Cue more Sugg seething. You know, the poor guy isn't that great of a detective, but he is an excellent seether. Too bad there isn't a spot at Scotland Yard for seething. He would be perfect. In the end, this case turns out to have just as many magnificent twists and turns as any Christie novel. And it is just as masterfully executed. I am definitely going to push on to book 2.....Wimsey's brain power and antics are just too fun! Dorothy L. Sayers wrote 11 Lord Peter Wimsey books and five collections of short stories. Author Jill Paton Walsh completed an unfinished manuscript left by Sayers and also wrote 3 Wimsey books herself. I was led to finally read this series while watching the documentary A Very British Murder featuring Historian Lucy Worsley. She mentions many classic mystery writers. My TBR grew by leaps and bounds!! The documentary is wonderful for classic mystery lovers (I found it streaming on Britbox). I highly recommend anything by Lucy Worsley! She discusses history with intelligence, understanding, and humor!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    It's difficult for me to be objective about Dorothy L Sayers. Since discovering Strong Poison in the school library when I was about 14, she has been one of my favourite writers and one whose novels I re-read regularly. In the past couple of years I've ventured beyond the novels and the short stories (not being much of a short story reader, I've not read all of these) to read Sayers' collected letters, some of her essays (such as Are Women Human?) and Barbara Reynold's excellent biography, Dorot It's difficult for me to be objective about Dorothy L Sayers. Since discovering Strong Poison in the school library when I was about 14, she has been one of my favourite writers and one whose novels I re-read regularly. In the past couple of years I've ventured beyond the novels and the short stories (not being much of a short story reader, I've not read all of these) to read Sayers' collected letters, some of her essays (such as Are Women Human?) and Barbara Reynold's excellent biography, Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul. This has in turn made me want to read more of Sayers' non-fiction as well as her plays and her translation of Dante. Suffice to say, I'm a big fan and a shared love of Sayers' writing is what has introduced me to a number of my GR friends. This novel is where it started for Sayers' best known contribution to crime fiction literature, Lord Peter Wimsey. At the time the novel was published in 1923, Sayers was an Oxford University graduate (she was amongst the first group of women graduates to be finally awarded their degrees in 1920) and a published poet. She had worked in publishing and as a high school teacher and was then working as a copy writer in a London advertising agency - all of which makes her stand out from other women of her generation. For a first novel, this has a lot of strengths. Lord Peter, the wealthy and erudite younger son of a Duke, shell-shocked WWI veteran, musician, collector of incunabula and amateur detective, comes to the page fully created. He develops throughout the course of the twelve novels in which he features, but the essentials of his character are there from the beginning: the sharp intelligence, the ready wit, the tendency to quote poetry at odd moments, the silly-ass impersonation and affected drawl of his public persona, which disappears when he speaks seriously to those he is closest to, the troubled conscience, the lingering effects of shell-shock. Lord Peter is a superb character, as are his manservant Bunter, his friend Scotland Yard inspector Charles Parker and his truly wonderful mother, the Dowager Duchess, all of whom (thankfully) also feature in later novels. The deft characterisation - not at all common in a Golden Age mystery novel - is not the only strength of Sayers' writing. Her prose is excellent, her dialogue is witty and the mystery itself is interesting enough. That said, the novel is not without its weaknesses. There is, for example, a startling lapse from the third person voice to the second person at one point in the narrative. In addition, the perpetrator is not that difficult to pick (although admittedly the big reveal is not necessarily a feature of Sayers' novels), the perpetrator's method is complex and improbable and the novel contains one of my pet peeves in crime fiction - the extended confession in the form of a letter. The weaknesses are enough for me to rate the novel lower than I would want to rate anything written by Sayers. However, the fangirl in me means I can't bring myself to give this less than 4 stars, well, maybe 3-3/4. I'm looking forward to a Lord Peter re-read over the next 12 months with my good friend and Sayers novice Jemidar.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I understand Sayers is a master and one of the classic mystery writers, in the vein of Agatha Christie. However, I don't find her writing to be as good as Christie's, actually I dislike a lot of her writing style. Lord Peter Wimsey says the most RIDICULOUS stuff sometimes. He quotes random poetry that is bizarre all the time. He leaves his 'g's off of the end of his gerunds: believin', reckenin', understandin' - and it drives me NUTS. Another thing I dislike about the novel is all the anti-Semiti I understand Sayers is a master and one of the classic mystery writers, in the vein of Agatha Christie. However, I don't find her writing to be as good as Christie's, actually I dislike a lot of her writing style. Lord Peter Wimsey says the most RIDICULOUS stuff sometimes. He quotes random poetry that is bizarre all the time. He leaves his 'g's off of the end of his gerunds: believin', reckenin', understandin' - and it drives me NUTS. Another thing I dislike about the novel is all the anti-Semitism. It's Jews this and Jews that and 'oh, you know how those Jews are' and 'He was a good man in spite of being a Jew,' and 'Jews are monsters for circumcising babies', and blah blah blah. It really gives me the shudders, especially since lately in the real world it seems like anti-Semitism is making a strong comeback. The mystery is good. I mean, it's set up well and makes sense. However, Sayers just cannot get to the point. She draws certain stuff out for far too long, delighting in scenes where nothing is happening in relation to the case. Also, I'd figured out who-dun-it about halfway through the book and from there it was a long slog towards Wimsey 'getting his man.' There were a few stellar lines. The two that stood out the most were: His long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola. This was seriously disgusting - and she was describing our hero Wimsey with this line! But it was a good line, and I expected more like this, but I didn't get any. The only other line that really grabbed me was when Wimsey's about to be killed by the murderer and he grabs the murderer's wrist in an iron grip: When lovers embrace, there seems no sound in the world but their own breathing. So the two men breathed face to face. Wow. I thought that was very good writing. However, it's so few and far between it's definitely not a reason to pick this book up. In short - If you're interested in mystery classics, then it makes sense to pick this up. But Sayers is no Christie, that's for sure!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    What a complete and utter mess of a book! I had been informed by many reliable sources (including Lucy Worsley in her documentary A Very British Murder) that Sayers was even better than Christie where murder mysteries are concerned. They are all wrong! This mystery has an intriguing enough premise - a naked dead body is found in the home of a harmless man that everyone automatically knew was not the murderer because well, the Wimseys (mother and son) said so! Lord Wimsey is called on to investiga What a complete and utter mess of a book! I had been informed by many reliable sources (including Lucy Worsley in her documentary A Very British Murder) that Sayers was even better than Christie where murder mysteries are concerned. They are all wrong! This mystery has an intriguing enough premise - a naked dead body is found in the home of a harmless man that everyone automatically knew was not the murderer because well, the Wimseys (mother and son) said so! Lord Wimsey is called on to investigate the murder. At the same time, Wimsey's friend, Parker, is searching for a missing person - a JEW. Mind you, JEW in capital letters. A self made JEW. A good man despite being a JEW. JEW JEW JEW. Got that? All right. For some reason unknown to the reader, Wimsey is insistent that both cases are related. And then I really don't know what happens. Or why. Because it's that badly written. I don't understand how Wimsey even arrives at the conclusion that X is the murderer. The motive for the murder is largely unbelievable and doesn't even make much sense. The characters are hideous! Peter Wimsey is extremely annoying in every way possible. He puts on an affectation every time he opens his mouth. He tries some weird accent that doesn't add anything to his character or to the plot. He is shallow and annoying and I constantly felt the need to slap him. Hard. Especially when he begins to quote random poetry or starts singing at people who have no clue what he's doing. I have a strong suspicion that Sayers meant it all to funny, but it falls terribly flat. The Duchess is even more annoying, if possible. The entire aura of upper class British aristocracy is shamelessly flaunted as something awesome, without any context to its existence. (And I say this as a Downton Abbey lover!) I honestly feel bad I started my year with this dud. I don't think I'll be wasting my time on any more Sayers. This certainly is not a classic, whatever else it may be.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Evgeny

    A dead body of an unknown man is found in a tub of a seemingly harmless local architect, and it is up to Lord Peter Wimsey to prove his innocence. To add to the mystery, somebody shaved this man after his was dead. Lord Peter Wimsey also looks into a disappearance of a prominent financier to help his friend inspector Parker. This is my first Dorothy Sayers book. I heard so much about her, my expectations probably were too high. The plot was quite good and kept me guessing... for the first half o A dead body of an unknown man is found in a tub of a seemingly harmless local architect, and it is up to Lord Peter Wimsey to prove his innocence. To add to the mystery, somebody shaved this man after his was dead. Lord Peter Wimsey also looks into a disappearance of a prominent financier to help his friend inspector Parker. This is my first Dorothy Sayers book. I heard so much about her, my expectations probably were too high. The plot was quite good and kept me guessing... for the first half of the book. It was possible to guess what was going on right in the middle of the book. What is more, the identity of the murderer was practically spelled a couple of pages later - for those who has not guessed it yet. All this leaves the second half of the book with what I consider to be filler: keep in mind this is not a thriller, which means no high-speed chases, no fights; the bad guy always manages to escape in these types of books. As a character, Lord Peter Wimsey does not hold a candle to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple. I hope he will develop better in the next books; still this book was good enough for me to continue to the next book in the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Mr. Thipps goes to have his morning bath, only to find the corpse of a naked man wearing only a pince nez in the tub. A first glance, the corpse appears to be that of Lord Levy, a Jewish financier. Only things aren't always as they seem. Fortunately, Lord Peter Wimsey is on the case... I really liked this one. I have to believe Dorothy Sayers was influenced by P.G. Wodehouse at least a little bit. Lord Peter Wimsey could easily be a Wodehouse character. He's a short pompous British aristocrat, sh Mr. Thipps goes to have his morning bath, only to find the corpse of a naked man wearing only a pince nez in the tub. A first glance, the corpse appears to be that of Lord Levy, a Jewish financier. Only things aren't always as they seem. Fortunately, Lord Peter Wimsey is on the case... I really liked this one. I have to believe Dorothy Sayers was influenced by P.G. Wodehouse at least a little bit. Lord Peter Wimsey could easily be a Wodehouse character. He's a short pompous British aristocrat, shell-shocked from WWI, who solves mysteries for fun and has a decidedly Wodehousian manner about him. His manservant, Bunter, doubles as his Watson. The writing is good although I thought the dialogue was a little long-winded at times. The mystery was well done. There were more than enough suspects and it took me forever to pick out the killer. I'd recommend this to mystery fans especially those of British mysteries. Sayers's writing is like Agatha Christie with a hint of Wodehouse. Quite enjoyable. I'll be reading more of Wimsey's cases, that's for sure.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    This was my first Dorothy Sayers cozy mystery and I enjoyed it. It took me a bit to get used to the writing style; at times I felt like I was missing something in the dialogue or I couldn't quite follow the train of thought of the astute and often amusing Lord Peter Wimsey. I suspect that the story wasn't quite polished, but eventually I settled in and had fun with it. The character of Lord Peter Wimsey appealed to me, as did his industrious butler, Bunter. I would like to see these characters d This was my first Dorothy Sayers cozy mystery and I enjoyed it. It took me a bit to get used to the writing style; at times I felt like I was missing something in the dialogue or I couldn't quite follow the train of thought of the astute and often amusing Lord Peter Wimsey. I suspect that the story wasn't quite polished, but eventually I settled in and had fun with it. The character of Lord Peter Wimsey appealed to me, as did his industrious butler, Bunter. I would like to see these characters developed more fully in later installments in the series. The relationship between Lord Peter and the detective, Parker, was equally entertaining. "It affords me, if I may so, the greatest satisfaction, that in a collaboration like ours all the uninteresting and disagreeable routine work is done by you", this uttered by Lord Peter to Parker in reference to their partnership. Another favorite bit of sarcasm by Lord Peter here: "Sugg's a beautiful, braying ass. He's like a detective in a novel." So, I give this mystery three stars for providing a fun bit of diversion; I look forward to reading another.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    I hope that Dorothy Sayers would be pleased that people are still reading her Lord Peter Wimsey series in the 21st century, 50 years after her death. That said, this was very much a “first book” in the series. Lord Peter is very well named, it seems to have started a bit whimsically. Ms. Sayers was obviously finding out who this gentleman was and what he was capable of. There are regular references to Sherlock Holmes, so Sayers was obviously conversant with Conan Doyle’s creation. Especially in t I hope that Dorothy Sayers would be pleased that people are still reading her Lord Peter Wimsey series in the 21st century, 50 years after her death. That said, this was very much a “first book” in the series. Lord Peter is very well named, it seems to have started a bit whimsically. Ms. Sayers was obviously finding out who this gentleman was and what he was capable of. There are regular references to Sherlock Holmes, so Sayers was obviously conversant with Conan Doyle’s creation. Especially in the matter of the criminal’s need to confess and explain what he did and why he did it, something that I am unsure actually happens in real life. I also found echoes of two of her contemporaries, Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse. Lord Peter is an amateur sleuth, like Miss Marple, but he has connections in the police department rather like Hercule Poirot. His relationship with his butler, Bunter, is reminiscent of Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves. I was very fond of Peter’s mother, the Duchess. She is a wonderfully intelligent & lively woman and I hope that she continues to feature in future installments. It was an entertaining little book—unfortunately my copy had some major typographical problems. Every time the character “æ” should have appeared in a word, “¾” replaced it, making for some very odd looking words. Things went even further awry close to the end of the book, when Lord Peter speaks with a woman in French. All the accents, circumflexes and cedillas were replaced by symbols and numbers and made the conversation extremely difficult to parse out. Though not the most scintillating mystery that I’ve ever read, it is better than many. When time permits, I will undoubtedly read further adventures of Lord Peter Wimsey.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kin

    This book fails miserably as a mystery novel. It is plain as day who the murderer is right from the beginning, but flagrantly obvious clues are persistently ignored solely for the sake of prolonging the book. It is a failure as a piece of writing, too: it's peopled with ridiculously typological characters - a typical butler, a typical aristocrat, a typical Scotland Yard officer etc., and it drags on and on, despite its relatively small size, as half of the book consists of lenghty, redundant con This book fails miserably as a mystery novel. It is plain as day who the murderer is right from the beginning, but flagrantly obvious clues are persistently ignored solely for the sake of prolonging the book. It is a failure as a piece of writing, too: it's peopled with ridiculously typological characters - a typical butler, a typical aristocrat, a typical Scotland Yard officer etc., and it drags on and on, despite its relatively small size, as half of the book consists of lenghty, redundant conversations, which aim at being witty and entertaining, but induce only boredom verging on annoyance. Moreover, it is INSUFFERABLY elitist. This 20th century novel somehow manages to be more snobbish than many a 19th c. work, and that's something. I don't even want to know whence Sayers got the idea that Peter Wimsey, an irresponsible, idle blue-blood running around interrupting other people's work, ironising about "democracy" and "equality", good-humouredly patronising people who, unlike him, are paid for actually doing something, and pampered like a little baby by his butler, is a likeable character. Discrimination of lower classes goes as far as stating that members of the working class all have a similar, primitive shape of head. What exactly is meant by that is not clear. For a woman so well educated, and fighting against discrimination herself, Sayers sure judges others by their cover. Superficiality is the main theme of Whose Body?: plot-wise, stylistically and ideologically.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    3 1/2 stars for my second ever Dorothy L Sayers read. I don't believe I have ever read a book that has quite as much dialogue as this one! 'It might have been burglars.....remember that next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man.......but next time it might be burglars.' One man disappears and a body is found in a bathtub. Not in the bathtub of the man who has disappeared, but in that of someone totally unrelated! Is the body that of Rueben Levy? It bears a superficial 3 1/2 stars for my second ever Dorothy L Sayers read. I don't believe I have ever read a book that has quite as much dialogue as this one! 'It might have been burglars.....remember that next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man.......but next time it might be burglars.' One man disappears and a body is found in a bathtub. Not in the bathtub of the man who has disappeared, but in that of someone totally unrelated! Is the body that of Rueben Levy? It bears a superficial resemblance.....but Sir Peter Wimsey at once spies something that precludes this being so and sets out to investigate. Dorothy L Sayers so well mastered the art of writing with wit that it is an absolute delight to read her work. One of my favourite lines is : 'Even idiots occasionally speak the truth accidentally.' I am looking forward to reading my way through her works.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Ok, Whose Body just wasn't my cup of tea. Initially I tried it in audiobook format, but couldn't get through it because I thought I didn't care for the narrator. So, I tried it in print. My apologies to Nadia May (the narrator of the audiobook). It wasn't her, it was Whose Body. This is a fine mystery, certainly nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it appeals to a lot of people. The dialogue was witty and sharp. But there was just so much dialogue. The story moved via the conversations of the char Ok, Whose Body just wasn't my cup of tea. Initially I tried it in audiobook format, but couldn't get through it because I thought I didn't care for the narrator. So, I tried it in print. My apologies to Nadia May (the narrator of the audiobook). It wasn't her, it was Whose Body. This is a fine mystery, certainly nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it appeals to a lot of people. The dialogue was witty and sharp. But there was just so much dialogue. The story moved via the conversations of the characters rather than through action statements made by a narrative voice. I don't mean that to be nit-picky, and that is not usually something I mind. But in Whose Body there were just too many voices, too much talking, too few conversational breaks to keep me interested and involved. I couldn't follow all of those people blabbering all the time! I just wanted to shout, "STOP TALKING AND LET ME REST!!" And now, I shall follow my own suggestion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    In Whose Body? as with other detective fictions, Dorothy L. Sayers creates a detective as unique as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Father Brown. This is, indeed, the first of her Lord Peter Whimsey stories, featuring the aristocratic amateur detective as he proceeds to investigate various criminal occurrences. In this particular instance the crime is the sudden appearance of a body in an unused bathtub in the house of one Mr Thripps. There are several peculiarities connected to In Whose Body? as with other detective fictions, Dorothy L. Sayers creates a detective as unique as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Father Brown. This is, indeed, the first of her Lord Peter Whimsey stories, featuring the aristocratic amateur detective as he proceeds to investigate various criminal occurrences. In this particular instance the crime is the sudden appearance of a body in an unused bathtub in the house of one Mr Thripps. There are several peculiarities connected to the body which further highlight the nature of the strange crime. And for once there is no clearly identifiable motives or suspicions, making the crime a bolt out of the blue. Then, at the same time, one particularly notable individual has gone missing. However, as the best detective novels do, Sayers work does not merely stop at observing a crime, the repercussions and the conclusion. This novel is more set around the crime, with the importance of the novel centring around the world of Lord Peter and his colleagues. To that end this novel becomes capable of observing that all too simple idea of 'the human condition.' An idea that after many thousands of years remains as simple and unsolvable a quandary as any of the best crimes to be found in fiction or reality. If you intend to look for some of the better classic crime novels then you cannot go wrong with Sayers work here. Particularly if you are looking for a female author to pair up against such men as G.K. Chesterton or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as I have been. I certainly recommend this novel although it has been noted that the internal chronology of events is rather skewed when one tries to read the entire novels.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    This is a re-read for me since I haven't read a Wimsey book for a while. I stand by my original review except I now know that it is the first of the series. _______________________________ I don't know if this is the first Lord Peter Wimsey book since I am too lazy to look it up!!! But it was written in the early 1920s, so I am making that assumption. The character of Lord Peter is a little more insufferable (but lovably so) than usual and is still having flashbacks of his time in the trenches of This is a re-read for me since I haven't read a Wimsey book for a while. I stand by my original review except I now know that it is the first of the series. _______________________________ I don't know if this is the first Lord Peter Wimsey book since I am too lazy to look it up!!! But it was written in the early 1920s, so I am making that assumption. The character of Lord Peter is a little more insufferable (but lovably so) than usual and is still having flashbacks of his time in the trenches of WWI which are not present in later books. In this story he joins up his man Bunter and Inspector Parker to investigate two seemingly unconnected murders...but not all is what it seems and Lord Peter is convinced that there is something that seems to indicate that the murders are indeed connected. It is a complicated story which leads to a rather clever denouement. A great light read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    Whose Body? is a bit confusing at first. Lord Peter Wimsey appears as silly as you can get, but in time he grows on you. Only once you get to see what the war did to him. It is heartbreaking, but the scene serves to show the relationship between him and his butler. The books is not perfect. I had to get used to the way the main character speaks. The story starts with a murder mystery and a missing person case and it gets very complicated over time. Not a bad introduction to a series. I wasn't ov Whose Body? is a bit confusing at first. Lord Peter Wimsey appears as silly as you can get, but in time he grows on you. Only once you get to see what the war did to him. It is heartbreaking, but the scene serves to show the relationship between him and his butler. The books is not perfect. I had to get used to the way the main character speaks. The story starts with a murder mystery and a missing person case and it gets very complicated over time. Not a bad introduction to a series. I wasn't overly bored and there are a few humorous moments.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten "Ghost Deserved Better"

    Read as part of the Book Pals thread at A Good Thriller group. I've read this before, but I'm more than happy to "rediscover" Lord Peter again. I've always loved him ever since I first watched the Lord Peter Mysteries on Masterpiece Theater starring Ian Carmichael. In many ways, the Lord Peter Wimsey character is much better than his contemporaries Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Lord Peter is a well-structured character with a history and a family. He also is a veteran of the Great War and suffer Read as part of the Book Pals thread at A Good Thriller group. I've read this before, but I'm more than happy to "rediscover" Lord Peter again. I've always loved him ever since I first watched the Lord Peter Mysteries on Masterpiece Theater starring Ian Carmichael. In many ways, the Lord Peter Wimsey character is much better than his contemporaries Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Lord Peter is a well-structured character with a history and a family. He also is a veteran of the Great War and suffers from PTSD (although they called it shell shock at that time). In Whose Body?, we are introduced to characters we will grow to love: Lord Peter, his valet Bunter, Inspector Parker of Scotland Yard, and that dear, the Dowager Duchess of Denver. The mystery is nicely paced with fun characters and a nice denouement.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    The very first Dorothy Sayers featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Whose Body? is a highly enjoyable read. I simply love the characters (Wimsey, Bunter, the Dowager...) and Sayers's writing is brilliant and full of wit. The mystery in itself is very entertaining: it all begins when a man finds a naked corpse in his tub one morning, wearing nothing but a golden pince-nez. An excellent premise and a excellent read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cphe

    My first Lord Peter Wimsey novel and an entertaining read. Moved along at a good pace and the mystery element was well done. Wimsey was an interesting character in his own right although my favourite character was the indomitable, unflappable Bunter. Not quite politically correct but enjoyed the times depicted and the character of Lord Peter Wimsey faults, foibles and all.

  25. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    I discovered Dorothy L. Sayers through home-schooling as the author of The Lost Tools of Learning. It was only after I read that, and learned she was a contemporary and friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, that I stumbled on her original claim to fame—Lord Peter Wimsey. Whose Body? is the first of the eleven Lord Peter mysteries she wrote in her lifetime. Each one gets progressively better. I'm stretching it to give this four stars—it's not so good as her later ones, but I don't want to put I discovered Dorothy L. Sayers through home-schooling as the author of The Lost Tools of Learning. It was only after I read that, and learned she was a contemporary and friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, that I stumbled on her original claim to fame—Lord Peter Wimsey. Whose Body? is the first of the eleven Lord Peter mysteries she wrote in her lifetime. Each one gets progressively better. I'm stretching it to give this four stars—it's not so good as her later ones, but I don't want to put anyone off from trying it and you really need to read them in order. If you are at all literary, you need to make friends with Lord Peter who is a literary sleuth. He collects antique manuscripts for a hobby, has his own personal manservant (named Bunter) who reminds one of Jeeves and indeed DLS says LP is modeled after a cross between Bertie Wooster and Fred Astaire. Lord Peter is no perfectionist Hercule Poirot. He's nobody's fool, and he's quite intelligent, but he's humorous, makes mistakes and is very good at laughing at himself. He's one of the most likable fictional characters I've run across, with the possible exception of Bertie Wooster. Oh and the mystery isn't bad either! But I'd say the characters, comedy, dialogue, quotes and shenanigans are really more the thing with LP. He has a rather wacky upper crust family who you get to know better and better with each successive novel. They figure more prominently in the second story, Clouds of Witness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    3.5* Challenge from the Reading the Detectives Group. Read at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome... (I don't enjoy reading books online, but the experience improved when I sat at my desk & used a mouse!) A most enjoyable romp although motivation, plot & method were lacking. What this book had in spades were appealing characters & sparkling dialogue - I especially liked the letter manservant Bunter sent to Lord Peter! A lot of the language & wit reminded me of Wodehouse - a favo 3.5* Challenge from the Reading the Detectives Group. Read at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome... (I don't enjoy reading books online, but the experience improved when I sat at my desk & used a mouse!) A most enjoyable romp although motivation, plot & method were lacking. What this book had in spades were appealing characters & sparkling dialogue - I especially liked the letter manservant Bunter sent to Lord Peter! A lot of the language & wit reminded me of Wodehouse - a favourite author of mine. I'm looking forward to next month with the group & spending some time at the Savile Club with Lord Peter!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Poonam

    I love cozy mysteries and picked this book with great hope. But this is a mediocre read hence the 2 stars . Storyline: A dead body of an unknown person found in the bathtub of an architect- (the architect being known to Lord Peter's mother) and in parallel a renowned financier has gone missing. Is there a connection in between these cases??(view spoiler)[Yes (hide spoiler)] We get a decent hint as to how the story is going to move ahead about 50% of the book and the culprit is easily identifiabl I love cozy mysteries and picked this book with great hope. But this is a mediocre read hence the 2 stars . Storyline: A dead body of an unknown person found in the bathtub of an architect- (the architect being known to Lord Peter's mother) and in parallel a renowned financier has gone missing. Is there a connection in between these cases??(view spoiler)[Yes (hide spoiler)] We get a decent hint as to how the story is going to move ahead about 50% of the book and the culprit is easily identifiable at about 70% of the book. Also the way Lord Peter solves this case did not impress me (view spoiler)[ He just get a brain flash and all the pieces of the puzzle fit in together (hide spoiler)] Main Characters: The main protagonist of this book Lord Peter does come off a callous and interfering at the start. My feelings towards him did improve as the book progressed. Though, Lord Peter's mother would have made a better main protagonist for this book.... Detective Parker (a Scotland Yard detective) was partner of Lord Peter in this investigation and their relation gave off strong Sherlock- Watson vibes. Lord Peter's Butler- Mr. Bunter reminded me of Jeeves- a character from P.G.Wodehouse novels (this may be as I have read My Man Jeeves recently). This was only because he controlled Lord Peter's dressing sense and was involved actively in the investigation..... Folks who are fan's of Agatha Christie may find this mystery rather tepid. I am still going to go ahead and try the next book of this series to see if I like it any better....

  28. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I am a lover of mystery, of a collector’s mindset who gathers volumes long before I plunge into my stockpiles. I considered it momentous to dig into Dorothy Sayers, whom I learned one of my Grandpa’s read. I was not swept away and irritated to hear she favoured religious essays; solely penning her famous mysteries for money. I wondered if minimized priority accounted for lack of feeling in “Whose Body?”. Fans assert it was the least warm title and that the rest improved. I was in competent hands, I am a lover of mystery, of a collector’s mindset who gathers volumes long before I plunge into my stockpiles. I considered it momentous to dig into Dorothy Sayers, whom I learned one of my Grandpa’s read. I was not swept away and irritated to hear she favoured religious essays; solely penning her famous mysteries for money. I wondered if minimized priority accounted for lack of feeling in “Whose Body?”. Fans assert it was the least warm title and that the rest improved. I was in competent hands, mystery-wise. There's no asinine formula: encountering a body, its random discoverer taking precedence over police, basing a story on identifying a killer - one thread. The non-‘cozy’ investigation process is mentally stimulating, exciting, original. Clues and investigation are the real deal! Dorothy's plotting was intricate and compelling. This ability, sharpness, originality of adventures that are involved and in-depth define mistresses of mystery. Emotion and character-wise, “Whose Body?” was dry. I wasn’t in love with the characters nor dialogue style. I found ‘Lord Peter Wimsey’ smug and doubted I’d like him in real life. I winced at the thought of "a houseman". It was a professional position but what presumption, to be at 24/7 beck and call, giving your life to a "lord"! What were his off hours? Towards the end I liked ‘Her Grace’, Peter’s Mother. In the houseman, ‘Mervyn’, we received a startling glimpse of a caring component of family; not merely a hired aide. It helped to learn both were war soldier survivors. I liked best normalizing Peter by meeting a teasing brother. Here was personality I could buy into; not his airy ways. At last: I loved his oration to ‘Mr. Parker’ about loathing his attraction to detection as a game. He acknowledges that the outcome affects people's lives!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Published in 1923, this is the first in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. Here the reader is introduced to Lord Peter himself, his enterprising butler/valet Bunter, the police investigators Parker and Sugg (the first bright and personable, a worthy and frequent partner for Wimsey, the latter bumbling and irritable, nearly always wrong), and Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess. Readers of a certain age will remember the wonderful BBC television productions of Sayers’ Wimse Published in 1923, this is the first in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. Here the reader is introduced to Lord Peter himself, his enterprising butler/valet Bunter, the police investigators Parker and Sugg (the first bright and personable, a worthy and frequent partner for Wimsey, the latter bumbling and irritable, nearly always wrong), and Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess. Readers of a certain age will remember the wonderful BBC television productions of Sayers’ Wimsey novels, starring Ian Carmichael. This debut detective thriller has all of the intrigue and irony that one has come to expect from Sayers’ pen, and the result is a continual delight. Lest the combination of an aristocratic lord and his faithful butler bring too readily to mind P.G. Wodehouse’s matchless duo, Bertie Wooster and Jeaves, let it be noted that Bertie is scatter-brained and feckless, prone to malapropisms and clichés, whereas Lord Peter is erudite and cultivated, the collector of rare books, inclined to pop off pertinent allusions to art and literature. He is the brilliant amateur, the hobby detective, sometimes uneasy with his own delight in hunting down murderers and not untouched by his own hauntings, the result of his experiences in the trenches of WW I. I listened to this as an audio-book while working out at the gym on the elliptical trainer, and it enabled the time to pass quickly and painlessly. Many years ago I think I read all the books in the series, but age and time have obliterated the details from my memory, and it was a treat to become reacquainted. I’m eager to read another.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    In this first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery we are introduced to our amateur detective, his friends and family. Living in a sumptuous apartment in Piccadilly, aided by his manservant Bunter, Wimsey is a collector of books with a hobby of criminal investigation. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver is supportive of this interest and telephones him one morning to inform him that the architect working on the church roof was most upset, as he found a dead body in his bath. As a body is found, anoth In this first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery we are introduced to our amateur detective, his friends and family. Living in a sumptuous apartment in Piccadilly, aided by his manservant Bunter, Wimsey is a collector of books with a hobby of criminal investigation. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver is supportive of this interest and telephones him one morning to inform him that the architect working on the church roof was most upset, as he found a dead body in his bath. As a body is found, another seems to have gone missing - that of Sir Reuben Levy. Quickly discovering that the body in the bath is not that of Sir Levy, Wimsey sets out to solve the mystery with his friend, Parker, an able member of Scotland Yard. This is an enjoyable introduction to the delights of Lord Peter and his world. Although it is certainly not the best Wimsey novel, it has a competent plot and is a good beginning to an enchanting series. Although modern crime writers are often scathing of the gentleman, or amateur, detective, this is pure entertainment. Of course, now there is no possible way an amateur could visit crime scenes or interview witnesses with impunity; however suspend all belief and simply enjoy the puzzle and the characters. If you enjoy Agatha Christie or other Golden Age detective novels, then you will love this.

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