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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dorothy L. Sayers
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Book 1 in the "Lord Peter Wimsey" series!

Lord Peter Wimsey investigates the sudden appearance of a naked body in the bath of an architect at the same time a noted financier goes missing under strange circumstances. As the case progresses, it becomes clear that the two events are linked in some way!

Editorial Reviews


She brought to the detective novel originality, 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 'She combined literary prose with powerful suspense, and it takes a rare talent to achieve that. A truly great storyteller.' Minette Walters


'She brought to the detective novel originality, 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 'She combined literary prose with powerful suspense, and it takes a rare talent to achieve that. A truly great storyteller.' Minette Walters

Product Details

  • File Size: 819 KB
  • Print Length: 153 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1604445203
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Rising Star Visionary Press (January 19, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00359FEU4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,278 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Sayers' apprentice-work September 13, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If "Whose Body?" is the only Lord Peter Wimsey novel you've read, don't judge the rest by it. And if, like me, you read the later ones first, you may be amused to see how different this one is. I wonder whether Dorothy L. Sayers was still unsure, when she wrote this, whether she wanted to write a detective story or a parody of a detective story. There are wonderful comic touches, oddly mixed with some fairly gruesome scenes. The characters are broadly satirical, like the caricatured upper-class twits in P.G. Wodehouse. Lord Peter is frivolous and eccentric, a sort of smarter cousin to Wodehouse's amiable fop Bertie Wooster; the Dowager Duchess, his mother, is endearingly ditsy, like Aunt Dahlia of Wodehouse fame. As a mystery, the story fails -- I knew who the murderer was at once, not because of any clues but because there wasn't any other reason to introduce that character. However, it's interesting to examine the early, rough work that preceded Dorothy L. Sayers later, more polished mysteries. In this book, she was just beginning to learn her craft. Aspiring writers can probably learn a lot by comparing this with the much more successful "Clouds of Witness," written 4 years later.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of Dorothy L. Sayers' detective novels, but 70-odd years after publication it's not the best introduction to Sayers or to her most successful hero, Lord Peter Wimsey. If that's what you're looking for, try Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, or one of the books that include Harriet Vane (my personal favourite is Gaudy Night).
"Whose Body" is something of an apprentice work. Lord Peter is here more a bundle of characteristics than a character: a collector of rare books and incunabula, facile with quotations, fluent in French and probably in Latin, a skillful and sensitive pianist who never needs to practise, slightly built but possessed of "curious" strength and speed which he maintains without exercise. Over subsequent books, this caricature smooths and deepens into one of the most interesting and attractive detectives in fiction.
In spite of its awkwardness, Whose Body is worth reading. The plot is clever, the villain is believable and sadistic, and most of the supporting characters are a delight. Some of these characters are further developed in later novels: Bunter, Parker, the Dowager Duchess, Freddy Arbuthnot. Others fortunately are not. Sayers is much better with people she might recognise as "like us" then with people from other social groups.
Sayers developed into a powerful writer of fiction whose technique was imperceptible. Here she has less mastery of technique, so that the scenes that work have disproportionate impact. The encounter between the Dowager Duchess of Denver and the American millionaire Milligan is a tiny classic.
In summary, interesting and entertaining for existing fans, but a hurdle for newcomers to the world of Wimsey.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book- a true kindle bargain of quality June 1, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Please publish more Sayers books on Kindle! This one is notable for being the first entry to my knowledge in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, but as soon as you finish it, you are ready for the next one. Hurry, Kindle!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet the Wimseys September 9, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Lord Peter Wimsey's debut novel, Dorothy L. Sayers provides her detective with quite the conundrum: a known missing body as well as a found unknown one. While the modern reader won't likely be puzzled by whodunit for long, the story is still an enjoyable read. While the class distinctions seem anachronistic - at least in 21st Century America - I can see that the story could have easily been a sensation for the time and place it was written.

In addition to introducing Lord Peter, we also meet his mother, the Dowager Duchess, and his brother, Gerald, the Duke (sadly, his sister, Lady Mary and nephew, Gherkins, don't make an appearance in this book), as well as his future brother-in-law, Parker, the Honorable Freddy Arbuthnot, and, of course, the indispensable manservant, Mervyn Bunter. While all of the characters have some growing to do as the novels progress, Lord Peter's relationship with Bunter is firmly established here. There's little wonder Sayers' series became a hit and has continued to be enjoyed down the years.

While the "mystery" portion of the book isn't the most challenging, Sayers includes a few entertaining tangents, like the one about the future of mankind's vestigial conscience (which includes an aside about "backwards individuals" like myself who can wiggle their ears). I enjoyed her philosophical/theological musings here (and moreso in her non-Wimsey mystery, Documents in the Case), and wish she had included more of them in her later novels.

If you've never read any of the Wimsey novels, this is a great place to start. The villain is well-constructed, if insufficiently hidden, and the story has a charm that, while old-fashioned, is charming nonetheless.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Body in the Bathroom February 21, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Lord Peter Wimsey is called in by Her Grace the Dowager Duchess (AKA Mother) to help extricate the timid Mr. Thipps from a case of body in the bathtub he finds himself embroiled in for far more than he has bargained. For one thing, the church architect's excess body, naked except for a Gold pince-nez, appears to be inexplicable. When it turns out that Sir Reuben Levy, an important financier is missing, the police become convinced that the body is that of Levy, and seize Thipps and the maid as the guilty party, despite all evidence to the contrary. Now Wimsey must work quickly with his friend Inspector Parker to solve both crimes and save both Thipps and the leaking church roof.
Thus begins Dorothy Sayer's first novel in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Partly a satire of the British upper class, partly a comedy of manners, and mostly the first of a time honored series of detective novels that very nearly reinvented the British mystery story in the 1920's. Lord Peter is the second son of the current generation of the Dukes of Denver, his rather stuffy brother currently holding the title. Lately recovered from some harrowing war experiences and a badly ended relationship, he has come to be an amateur detective as a way to gain a new focus in life. Wimsey is intelligent, only occasionally serious, and a perfect image of the English gentleman.
Accompanying Lord Peter is his most excellent manservant Bunter, who served with him in the war and has become a loyal and true companion. Bunter is the straight man for many of Wimsey's quips and quotes, but has a wry wit of his own, and is probably the first forensic photographer in detective fiction. Lord Peter's other aide in this and ensuing tales is Inspector Parker who is of the same age and equally bright in his own right.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Great book
Published 2 days ago by sabina lozovsky
5.0 out of 5 stars and it did not disappoint. Wouldn't I love to have her clever mind
I've been a Sayers fan since I was a kid. Couldn't resist this bargain, and it did not disappoint. Wouldn't I love to have her clever mind?! Read more
Published 12 days ago by Lfmiller
5.0 out of 5 stars ... to beat Dorothy Sayers - she's model for most good detective...
Hard to beat Dorothy Sayers - she's model for most good detective mysteries. Not surprisingly, they are also literate.
Published 24 days ago by Anders
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read,
I enjoyed reading this book, it is what I expected in a good British mystery. Yes I do recommend it.
Published 26 days ago by candy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good but not my favorite book by Sayers.
Published 27 days ago by Charles H Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars love her writing
love her writing, adore the character Lord Peter Wimsey... it does take a while to get into the context of the novel due to the British terminology as well as the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Elaine W Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I read it straight through. compelling.
Published 1 month ago by Taxi Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let "ain't" hold you back!
Although I found the frequent use of "ain't" disconcerting, I enjoyed the story. I emailed the DLS Society to ask about it and was told that in the time period of these... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sally
3.0 out of 5 stars Middling, but still Sayers
Sayers, at her weakest, is still readable and entertaining. But this is one of her least credible plots.
Published 1 month ago by Khirul
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 1 month ago by Bookworm
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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.

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