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The Nine Tailors Paperback – Print, September 28, 1966

ISBN-13: 978-0156658997 ISBN-10: 0156658992

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The Nine Tailors + Whose Body? + The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (September 28, 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156658992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156658997
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Her books are English Literature at its best. Her plots are finely tuned and her Lord Peter Wimsey is delightful The Times (letter) She brought to the detective novel orginality, intelligence, energy and wit P.D. James I admire her novels ... she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail Ruth Rendell A truly great storyteller Minette Walters Dorothy L Sayers is one of the best detective story writers E.C. Bentley, DAILY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was a playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries, best known for her books starring the gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Born in Oxford, England, Sayers, whose father was a reverend, grew up in the Bluntisham rectory and won a scholarship to Oxford University where she studied modern languages and worked at the publishing house Blackwell's, which published her first book of poetry in 1916.

Years later, working as an advertising copywriter, Sayers began work on Whose Body?, a mystery novel featuring dapper detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Over the next two decades, Sayers published ten more Wimsey novels and several short stories, crafting a character whose complexity was unusual for the mystery novels of the time.

In 1936, Sayers brought Lord Peter Wimsey to the stage in a production of Busman's Honeymoon, a story which she would publish as a novel the following year. The play was so successful that she gave up mystery writing to focus on the stage, producing a series of religious works culminating in The Man Born to Be King (1941) a radio drama about the life of Jesus.

She also wrote theological essays and criticism during and after World War II, and in 1949 published the first volume of a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (which she considered to be her best work).

Dorothy Sayers died of a heart attack in 1957.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the mystery, the setting, the characters, the humor, and the plot.
I'm in a Dorothy L. Sayers marathon of sorts ( reading her Lord Peter Wimsey series) and this is the best I've read so far!
It is full of twists and turns that leave you guessing who was the murderer until the very end.
Emil J. Gnam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Set in the remote village of Fenchurch St. Paul, this 1934 mystery involves an unknown body, which has been disfigured and mysteriously buried in the same grave as a local woman, shortly after the New Year. Many years before, a magnificent necklace of emeralds was stolen here, though it was never found. Two men and a local woman were implicated in the theft, and both men served time in prison. Now the unknown body, the fate of the two men involved in the theft of the emeralds, the whereabouts of the necklace, and the involvement of seemingly upright citizens of Fenchurch St. Paul are all under investigation.

Lord Peter Wimsey, accompanied by his "man" Bunter, becomes involved in the investigation when their car runs off the road on a snowy New Year's Eve. Lord Peter ultimately agrees to substitute for an indisposed bell-ringer when the rector attempts to set a record of more than 18,000 rings in nine hours as a New Year's Eve celebration. The bells are an integral part of the mystery, with the "nine tailors," a pattern of bell ringing, figuring prominently in the action. A coded letter suggests that the bells themselves may be connected to the emerald necklace.

Author Dorothy Sayers creates vivid characters--the somewhat arrogant Lord Peter Wimsey, his faithful manservant Bunter, the "forgetful" rector of the local church and his wife, the French wife and children of one of the thieves, assorted odd characters from the town, and local law enforcement. The opportunity to locate the emeralds and ascertain the fate of the thieves, one of whom escaped shortly after being sentenced to jail, intrigues Lord Peter, and some townspeople have much to gain (or lose), depending on the identity of the man in the grave and his possible killer.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By hacklehorn on December 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This novel, Dorothy L. Sayers' best-known, is, without doubt, one of her best-if not the best. Sayers takes the customary English village, and makes something new of it, by setting it in the Fen country, and by giving to it a church, which, as the well-drawn rector describes, "East Anglia is famous for the size and splendour of its parish churches. Still, we flatter ourselves we are almost unique, even in this part of the world." The church services show great feeling and power, and neatly tie in with the theme of religion. The church possesses bells, the book being best-known for the bell-ringing, described in such powerfully beautiful descriptions as:
"Out over the flat, white wastes of fen, over the spear-straight, steel-dark dykes and the wind-bent, groaning poplar trees, bursting from the snow-choked louvres of the belfry, whirled away southward and westward in gusty blasts of clamour to the sleeping counties went the music of the bells-little Gaude, silver Sabaoth, strong John and Jericho, glad Jubilee, sweet Dimity and old Batty Thomas, with great Tailor Paul bawling and striding like a giant in the midst of them. Up and down went the shadows of the ringers upon the walls, up and down went the shadows of the ringers upon the walls, up and down went the scarlet sallies flickering roofwards and floorwards, and up and down, hunting in their courses, went the bells of Fenchurch St. Paul."
The bells are also eerily threatening-"Bells are like cats and mirrors-they're always queer, and it doesn't do to think too much about them."-which is fitting, as the plot hinges on bells: both an ingenious cryptogram (again, to quote the rector, "I should never have thought of the possibility that one might make a cipher out of change-ringing. Most ingenious.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1996
Format: Paperback
Unlike some of her Lord Peter mysteries, this novel can be read by itself, and it is a delight. About a murder done in an old church in the English countryside, you will learn more about the ringing of church bells than you thought possible. Lord Peter is at the top of his form, literate, intelligent, and a thinker beyond being just a mystery novel detective. None of the characters are one or two dimensional, and each of them is developed fully and delightfully. When it comes to mystery fiction, you can't do much better than Sayers...which may be one reason her novels appeared on PBS' MASTERPIECE THEATRE rather than MYSTERY! They are indeed, masterpieces
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I first read this book, I was in high school. Having encountered the phenomenon of change ringing in Groves Dictionary of Music and read that "The Nine Tailors" was a novel which involved it, I assumed at first that something so old and specialized would be long out of print and unavailable. Imagine my delight when I found that the local college library had it! Presumably unable to borrow it, I felt very daring smuggling it into the 24-hour reading room and leaving it on a coat rack so that I could read it even when the library was closed. It was exciting again to discover later that it was actually in print and I could buy it for myself. This I have had to do several times over the years, because my copies keep disappearing-- probably loaned to friends.
The continued availability of a novel on such an esoteric subject can only be testimony to the "the worth of the work" (one of Sayers's telling phrases in another of her books). It is, indeed, not as readily available as some of her other Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. I have read most of them, believe that this is the best, and wouldn't be surprised if the author agreed. Yet many times I have noticed bookstores having several of the others in stock, but not The Nine Tailors. This has to be a sad commentary on the reluctance of many readers, even of mysteries, to venture into a quaint, abstruse subculture foreign to their own environments. Yet, happily, the real connoisseurs of the genre, who knowingly demand it even on special order, are numerous enough to keep it in print.
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