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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Mass Market Paperback – May 10, 1995

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (May 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061043540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061043543
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit. P. D. James Her books are English Literature at its best. Her plots are finely tuned and her Lord Peter Wimsey is delightful The Times (letter) I admire her novels ... she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail Ruth Rendell D. 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.

About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers was born in 1893. She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University, and later she became a copywriter at an ad agency. In 1923 she published her first novel featuring the aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey, who became one of the world's most popular fictional heroes. She died in 1957.

More About the Author

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

Red herrings abound!
Joan Dee Sizemore
Dorothy L. Sayers is among the greatest mystery writers.
A well written mystery.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Another fantastic entry in (to my mind) one of the best mystery series ever written. Lord Peter Wimsey surely deserves to be counted as one of fiction's greatest detectives, along with Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple and Inspector Maigret. This mystery showcases Lord Peter at his finest, along with the usual cast of Bunter, Parker and Mr. Murbles (with the lamentable exception of Miss Climpson!). Lord Peter has to untangle an unusually knotty mystery where a half-million pound inheritance hangs upon an uncertain time of death. His own feelings in the case are at issue since he has been friends with the brothers who stand to gain. I also liked the deveopment of Ann Dorland's character and the very real sympathy and desire to help that Lord Peter comes to feel for her is echoed in the reader's mind. The mystery itself is intricately plotted and as usual, Ms Sayers does a fine job of pulling together all the threads for the reader. A most satisfying and absorbing read!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Lord Peter Wimsey comes down to the Bellona club to dine with an old friend he little expected to find the 90 year old General Fentiman sitting quietly by the fire in full rigor mortis. Nor, did he expect to be confronted with a case about which one of the General or his sister, Lady Dormer, predeceased the other. But, seeing that it was a matter of some half million pounds he was delighted to oblige old Mr. Murbles, the family solicitor.
It turns out that establishing Fentiman's time of death is going to be a major feat. No one, including his heirs, the staff of the Bellona Club and most of London seems to recall what the General was doing that morning, or when he showed up, opened his newspaper and promptly expired. Worse, what few facts that Wimsey can put together convince him that something was very, very wrong with Fentiman's timely ticking off. Suddenly this is no longer a case of friendly detection but a serious investigation into a murder.
'The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club' was one of Dorothy Sayers' early smash hits. It shows off Wimsey's charming urbanity against the gemlike setting of his friends and cohorts, only striking serious chords when grim necessity rears its monocled head. Wimsey doesn't act quite as foolish as he was prone to in past novels, which makes him likeable as well as witty. The other regular characters have also acquired some extra depth that makes everyone a bit more believable. Everyone but the bit players, of course. Each of those is, as usual, a quick, delightful pastiche, one of Sayers greatest talents.
This is one of Sayers' most memorable books, and, despite a plot that is a little too transparent, is one of her most re-readable.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on January 13, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Among the more successful mysteries is Dorothy Sayers' "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club." A very wealthy woman dies, leaving a fortune to her brother if he is still alive, otherwise to a young female companion. When the brother is found dead in his chair at the Club, the novel becomes, not a whodunit, but a "whenwasitdun," a question much on the mind of not only the heirs of the two deceased persons but of Lord Peter Wimsey, who is asked by the brother's lawyer to help establish the time of the brother's death (that of the sister being certain).

The question of When is answered halfway through the novel. But even before that, the other questions of how he died and by whose hand become paramount; and Wimsey winds up offending almost everybody concerned in his inexorable quest for the solution. There is a certain tongue-in-cheek element in Sayers' writing that calls out for a good reading--and that is exactly what we get in the Audio Partner's set of 6 audio cassettes with none other than Lord Peter himself, which is to say Ian Carmichael, doing the honors.
Having read the book twice in the past and watched the Acorn Media video release many times, I enjoyed listening to this tape even more, picturing in my mind the scenes from the television version, which seems to be remarkably faithful to the novel. This set is highly recommended for those who love a good mystery, well-told and (here) well read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Snowbrocade VINE VOICE on June 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lord Peter is at his best in this mystery novel which gives us 21st century dwellers a view of English post WWI culture, specifically the Men's club. In the process of untangling this convoluted mystery, Lord Peter touches on some of his own issues regarding his military service and some resulting psychological scars.

Despite all this, Lord Peter chases the criminal with class, wit and ridiculous humor. He never takes himself too seriously, and is always charming--even when the stessed out subjects of investigation lash out at him.

Lord Peter has two perennial sidekicks--Bunter, his perfect butler, and Parker, the police detective. Both of these men are excellent at their trade and balance Peter's ridiculously good humor with sedate and serious good sense. Peter is a brilliant intuitive which contrasts with his piercing deductive mind. Bunter has good insight into human character and Parker has dogged determination and the abilty to integrate diverse evidence.

Despite the sometimes dated language, Sayers has the knack of writing an engaging and suspenseful mystery as well as taking us back in time to simpler more gracious times.
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