Introducing Lord Peter Wimsey

Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I actually read this on the web since it is in the public domain (due to someone forgetting to renew the copyright) and I have bought a small netbook computer which works quite well for reading.

Dorothy Sayers had a fascinating career: She was one of the first women to get a degree from Oxford, started working as a copy writer for an ad agency to make some money, and wrote detective novels to indulge in a bit of escapism and become financially independent. She created Lord Peter Wimsey, a seemingly scatterbrained but, of course, whip smart nobleman complete with WWI shell shock, monocle, a loyal butler named Bunter and, eventually, a girl friend named Harriet Vane who bears quite some resemblance to Sayers herself.

The funny thing is that Sayers wrote a number of religious and philosophical tracts as well as a translation of Dante’s Divinia Commedia, but she is remembered for her detective novels, which, I should say, are remarkably modern and witty for something written in 1926. (In some circles, her essay The lost tools of learning has great currency.)

"Whose body?" concerns a naked body found in a bathtub, resembling a mysteriously disappeared financier. After few twists and turns, it is pretty easy to understand who the villain is, but how Lord Peter Wimsey gets there is less easy to figure out. Sayers strictly follows the classic rules of detection – always leave all clues visible to the reader, then surprise them – and does so here as well. It is not her best work – that would be Murder must advertise or The nine taylors (the latter rather complicated, but interesting) or perhaps Five red herrings. But it is available in the public domain, gives a great introduction to the unbeatable Lord Peter Wimsey, and is not the worst way to spend an hour or two before going to bed.

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