Whose body? by

2 April 2010

Setting: , ,
Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

ISBN: 9780450031298 DDC: 823.912
Lord Peter Wimsey #1
LibraryThing ; Dorothy L. Sayers Society ; Free ebook edition

‘Oh damn!’ said Lord Peter Wimsey at Piccadily Circus. ‘Hi, driver!’

The body of a stout man is found in a bathroom, naked but for a gold pince-nez. At the same time, a prominent banker goes missing. Is the dead man the missing Mr. Levy? And if so, how did he manage to end up in Mr. Thipps’ bathroom? And was he murdered?

This is the first book Sayers wrote to feature Lord Peter Wimsey. He is the second son of an ancient English house, his elder brother is the Duke of Denver. And his hobby is criminology. Already he has solved the case of some missing emeralds, now he is on two cases at once; to find the missing Levy & to figure out the who, why and where concerning the mystery body.

One of the reasons I picked this up is that Peter Wimsey makes a small cameo in a Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes story. That piqued my interest. And I’ve always wanted to read something by Sayers, she’s such a well regarded author. Plus a certain blogger has been quite enthusiastic about all things Sayers, so clearly it was only a matter of time.

I quite enjoyed this novel. I won’t say I loved it, bits of it, yes, I certainly love parts of it, but as a whole, while good it wasn’t quite great :) Still, there is plenty there to admire. Lord Wimsey himself, a man who plays a role, whether that is to keep people from knowing him, or because he doesn’t want to know himself? Bunter, his butler, and the relationship between the pair. Almost Jeeves & Wooster-ish. Most of all I think I liked some of the smaller moments, Wimsey trying to figure out if he has the “right” to interfere in somebody else’s life, an interference that may possibly end up with that person hanged. And I thought the incidence of shell-shock and its continuing effects in post WWI Britain were very well written.

In short, I’m off to order the next in the series.

Other reviews: Lines from the page ; A girl walks into a bookstore ; Just one more chapter.

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9 Responses

  1. Nymeth says:

    I have yet to read this one, but everyone tells me it's the worst (or least good) in the series. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall and that you'll continue to read them! And I'm interested to know it deals with shell shock among other things. I know just what you mean about the little moments being the best ones – I felt the same about the Harriet Vane books.

    • Fence says:

      Yeah, that seemed to be the opinion in the reviews I read too, which is a good thing, as I liked this, and if they get better I should like th others too :)

      The shell-shock is only a minor aspect, but it means the modern reader is forced to remember that this was *just* after WWI which had a huge impact on society in Europe. In many ways leading to a leap forward in women's rights, for example.

  2. anne says:

    How do you mean free e-book? Can you explain how it works – it's playing hard to get with the download. :(

    • Fence says:

      On the right hand side there is a little drop-down menu to allow you to chose a format. I only tested the html version, but it seemed to work fine for me

  3. anne says:

    Completely unrelated. Well. Of course it's related but not… Anyway. Did you know that the very Dorothy L. Sayers is the one who came up with "Guinness is good for you"? Did you? I'm catching up with QI on youtube. Quite interesting indeed!

  4. Fence says:

    Not just quite, but very. Love me some Stephen Fry

    • anne says:

      i really enjoy Alan Davies, too. Esp. as i can't wrap my head around the difference between him and Jonathan Creek.

      Thanks for the tip on the e-book, the zip format just didn't want to work.

  5. Fence says:

    Any time.

    Jonathan Creek would probably know more answers than Alan Davies though ;)

    • anne says:

      Turns out, i was being exceedingly thick – everything worked, except me. You'll understand then that i can't really comment on Alan Davies' performance, now…