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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am My Brother's Keeper
Dorothy Sayers' second Lord Peter Wimsey novel comes in on a more serious note. Wimsey, just returned from a long rest in Corsica, finds himself embroiled in a murder far closer to home. While staying at a hunting lodge with friends Peter's brother Gerald has gotten tangled up in a murder, and has become the chief suspect. To make matters more complicated, the victim...
Published on February 23, 2002 by Marc Ruby™

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Errors!
I purchased this Kindle verion of "Clouds of Witness" because the others on offer seemed to be poorly formatted. And, I own this edition of the book so I thought it would be OK. WRONG!!! Sentences are paraphrased or rewritten at random, and words and phrases that did not scan are marked [Blurred]. I have been making corrections using the notes feature bc I am...
Published on January 13, 2013 by voracious reader


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am My Brother's Keeper, February 23, 2002
Dorothy Sayers' second Lord Peter Wimsey novel comes in on a more serious note. Wimsey, just returned from a long rest in Corsica, finds himself embroiled in a murder far closer to home. While staying at a hunting lodge with friends Peter's brother Gerald has gotten tangled up in a murder, and has become the chief suspect. To make matters more complicated, the victim is their sister Mary's ex-fiancée. Very recently ex, as a matter of fact. The murder was done shortly after Gerald has thrown him out of the house as a card cheat.
When an alibi is demanded, Gerald refuses to give one, and so is charged with the crime. As he is the Duke of Denver, Gerald's case will not be heard in court, but before the House of Lords. Lord Peter is confronted with a case in which the accused seems bound and determined to get himself hung. Gerald offers no help to his brother, the police, or even Impey Biggs, his barrister. Peter and his long time friend Inspector Parker, are left with only faint clues and surmises as the basis for building a defense.
It quickly becomes apparent that there is guilt everywhere. Denis Cathcart, the victim, had lived a suspicious life in Paris, Lady Mary has complicated ties to the British socialist movement, and Gerald, if he wasn't killing Cathcart, had to be doing something he didn't want to reveal. Wimsey and Parker find a surplus of suspicious behavior, in England and abroad, but the puzzle refuses to be unlocked. Worse, those mysteries they can solve do nothing to help Gerald. Time marches inexorably on, and Lord Peter must make a last minute race against time in an effort to solve the mystery.
Despite the seriousness of this case, with all its lurking tragedies, Lord Peter retains his sarcastic style, providing both comic relief and the insights of the master detective. This time however he does reveal more of serious side, leaving behind his facetious exterior as he displays new depth. Sayers, of course, continues to write brilliantly, providing finely grained characters and a wonderful sense of place. An unexpected side romance shows signs of beginning, which will delight the readers, as Inspector Parker leaves behind theology long enough to embarrass himself.
The Wimsey novels can be read in any order, although the latter part of the series does have some thematic material with develops over several volumes. The early novels are independent tales, and I exhort the reader to start with whatever is at hand. In little time you will find yourself addicted to an England that never really was, but certainly should have been.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ideal introduction to Wimsey and his world, December 16, 2000
This is one of my three favorite Lord Peter Wimsey novels (the other two are The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club and Murder Must Advertise), and unless you plan to read the entire series (in which case you should start with Unnatural Death), it's the best introduction to Wimsey and his world, as it revolves around his brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, being accused of murdering their sister Mary's fiance. It also features Wimsey's friend Chief Inspector Parker, as well as introducing several recurring characters.
Unlike Unnatural Death, where Wimsey seems more devil-may-care and speaks in more slang-y sentences, this book shows a more mature Wimsey who's fully aware of his duties to his family and the responsibilities of his position in life (an occasional theme in the series), and we see that Wimsey is far from being merely a man about London.
The mystery itself is one of the more clever ones in the series, revolving around holes in Gerald's testimony which Wimsey must investigate, as well as the background of the murder victim, although the final resolution seems not to completely justify the build-up. (This is common in Sayers' mysteries; the setting and characters tend to be stronger than the puzzle driving the plot.) Overall, though, it's an entertaining book, featuring more moments of dramatic suspense than in the later novels, making it perhaps the most well-rounded Wimsey adventure.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Errors!, January 13, 2013
This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Kindle Edition)
I purchased this Kindle verion of "Clouds of Witness" because the others on offer seemed to be poorly formatted. And, I own this edition of the book so I thought it would be OK. WRONG!!! Sentences are paraphrased or rewritten at random, and words and phrases that did not scan are marked [Blurred]. I have been making corrections using the notes feature bc I am familiar with the books and want a more portable edition of this particular title. For those of you considering buying this title, I would strongly urge you to wait until a better version comes along. Not recommended.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Computer printout, not published book, January 7, 2012
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This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Paperback)
This is not a review of Dorothy Sayer's writing; it is a review of the terrible edition being sold to the unwary. This is not a published paperback, it is a printout inserted between covers. There is no publisher, no copyright information, nothing to even guarantee that this is Dorothy Sayers' writing. The cover is ugly and has nothing to do with the story. The layout of the pages is ugly and hard to read - and comes with word processing typos such as fractions and question marks within words. There is no way to tell from the Amazon listing that this is a printout, not an actual published book. And the price is outrageous for such a piece of junk. Save your money and buy a used paperback elsewhere. My order of "Whose Body?" was the same. I am now afraid to order paperbacks from Amazon because they don't identify these printouts in the listings.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Formatting in Kindle Version, October 4, 2011
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This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Kindle Edition)
This is one of my favorite Wimsey stories, but the formatting in the Kindle edition is bad to the point of distracting from the plot. Paragraphs are run together and the margins meander around without uniformity. I hope this edition will be improved in the near future, I'd be glad to re-download it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A great book, but don't buy this particular copy! Not a real publisher!, March 12, 2013
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This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Paperback)
I love Lord Peter Wimsey and found 'Cloud of Witness' to be very enjoyable, but this particular copy of the book is absolutely terrible. I'm pretty sure it was printed on someone's home computer - the cover is blurry (it doesn't look that way in the photograph), the text is so small (I honestly got headaches from trying to read it) and there are huge spaces between each paragraph. Also, there is no publisher listed/mentioned anywhere in the book - only says 'made in the USA | Lexington, KY, with a date listed - the date I ordered it. It is obvious someone found the text of this book online, copied and pasted it into a word document, and then printed it off and had it cheaply bound. There are also piles and piles of typos - all symbols in the middle of words. I just want to warn you not to buy this copy of the book! It's a total rip off. I returned mine. This is so disappointing because Sayer's books are becoming harder to find in trade paperbacks, but I would highly recommend finding it used. (I left this same review on 'Whose Body' because I had the same thing happen with that book I ordered, too.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECT PORTRAYAL, August 10, 2002
Acclaimed for his portrayals of Lord Peter Wimsey on BBC, Ian Carmichael is the ideal voice for this story. As the London Daily Express put it he plays Wimsey so perfectly that "Sayers might have created Wimsey just so Carmichael could portray him."
Dorothy Sayers (1893 - 1957) is surely one of the most popular mystery writers of all time. Today, some years after her death, her stories continue to be widely read. With "Clouds of Witness" her protagonist Lord Peter Wimsey is called upon to investigate the death of his sister's fiancé. At least it may have been a fragrant departure as the recently murdered was found dead among the chrysanthemums, sartorially perfect in dinner jacket and slippers.
Most shocking is the fact that Sir Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, stands accused. Surely that cannot be so. Sir Peter begins his own investigation in order to save his brother.
As is often the case, Sayers creates a surprising courtroom scene and Carmichael reads it with gusto.
- Gail Cooke
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shades of the Future, July 3, 2004
By 
C. T. Mikesell (near Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Clouds of Witness is a good book, but not among Sayers best. Written early in her career, the story allows one to feel that there will be greater books yet to come, but this - alas - is not that book. The book suffers mainly because it feels as if Sayers is emulating other writers (at one point Wimsey refers to his "gray cells"), and not trusting her own voice enough. It's understandable, given that this is her sophomore outing, but it's regrettable that it isn't quite what a modern reader might think of as a "Dorothy L. Sayers mystery."
The characters, women particularly, are well fleshed-out stereotypes. We have the noble fool (Lady Mary), the gold-digger (Simone Vonderaa), and the caged bird set free (Mrs. Grimethorpe). Even the legal team of Murbles and Biggs are set at the far ends of the spectrum of lawyerly caricature (Biggs' closing argument is an especially hammy monologue).
While it's nice to meet Wimsey's family, the rest of the hunting party is mostly useless (murder victim excepted). Wimsey and D.I. Parker's camaraderie is enjoyable, though the latter likely has a conflict of interest - doubly so, given his attraction to Lady Mary, Wimsey's sister and the deceased's fiancée.
My greatest frustration with the book has to do with the way the emerald-eyed cat charm is handled. Although its ownership is proven relatively early in the book Wimsey and Parker keep trying to determine if it belonged to someone else. It seems Sayers wants it to be a red herring, but in light of the fact that we know whose it is - as do Wimsey and Parker - it just doesn't work. Sayers also tries her hand at adventure writing, most notably in the "foggy bog" and "trans-Atlantic flight" scenes; in these she succeeds and it's a pity that in the future these dramatic touches are saved mainly for scenes involving the detective and his Daimler.
Even though the book has several shortcomings it's still an entertaining piece of writing. It does better at charting the rise of one of England's finest authors than as a literary masterpiece in its own right, but for all that Sayers fans should be sure not to overlook this early treasure.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's understandable..., December 1, 1999
By 
frumiousb "frumiousb" (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
...That Dorothy Sayers was in love with her own fictional detective. I'm half in love with him myself. This wasn't my favorite Peter Wimsey novel, but even in being my not-favorite, it was satisfying and enchanting.
Sayers reminds me of GK Chesterton in this novel in the way she uses the form to gently deflate the radical political ideas of the day without losing the plot. The trial procedure for the peer of a realm contrasted with the romances of Wimsey's sister Mary neatly highlight the decaying class system in which these characters move. It's full of priceless moments, such as the one where a character is told witheringly that while he could be forgiven being a murderer, he can't be forgiven for being an ass.
The book suffers a bit from an overly complicated plot that only becomes overly complicated three-quarters of the way through and Sayers accidentally makes several of the red herring characters more interesting than the really pertinent ones. Most importantly, I felt like the character of the murdered man was not illuminated as well as she has done in some of her other novels-- despite all the details provided, he felt curiously unfinished or stock.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful knock-off printing!, September 27, 2011
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This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Paperback)
I purchased the paperback from Amazon and am responding to the physical book I received, not the story. Beware! The "product description" is deceptive and very confusing. Presumably, the novel is out of copyright and has been reprinted (badly) by someone and that is what is being sold. The reprint has such terrible printing (tiny [10-pt?] type and huge [triple] linespacing between paragraphs) it is virtually unreadable. Perhaps it is a print-on-demand copy. Rightly so, no one claims to be publisher, only that it is "made in Lexington, Kentucky." I am returning it immediately. A shameful knock-off!
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Clouds of Witness
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
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