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Busman's Honeymoon (The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries Book 13) Kindle Edition
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The Dowager gets a little more action than usual, which is all to the good. She's one of the great characters of English fiction, and I adore her every appearance.
A wonderful story, and a must-have for Wimsey fans.
Lord Peter Wimsey is a great deal more than the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" as as an amateur Private Detective you might have been led to believe he is from many of the movies and television shows that feature him. The later books, written after her marriage to WWI veteran Atherton "Mac" Fleming, often dealt sympathetically with what we now know as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which Lord Peter suffered from following his own war experiences. That combination of eccentric behaviors (at one point in the story, Peter weaves a nest out of the straw used to pack vintage wines in on top of his head, while talking local Police Superintendent Kirk) and abrupt mood swings (at several points in the story Wimsey goes from cheerful to affectionate to passionate to cold to angry to maudlin!) are dealt with by both his faithful manservant Bunter and his bride Lady Peter, *nee* Harriet Vane.
The story is a pretty basic English "cozy": Peter purchases a small estate, Talboys, in the town where Harriet grew up as a wedding present and place to spend their honeymoon - only to realize that none of the preparations or renovations Peter paid for had been done by the former owner Mr. Noakes! After a comically rough time getting settled ending in a relatively comfortable wedding night, Harriet, Peter and Bunter attempt to get the place set up on their own, with the dubious aid of the locals who worked there or wish to work for the new Lord - only to stumble upon Noakes's body on the basement stairs. It quickly becomes clear that Noakes had intended to pocket the money Lord Peter paid him and vanish, as he had a number of creditors both local (just about everybody who'd worked for him or was related to him) and from London (all the furniture in the house, it turns out, was pledged for loans that he'd failed to pay back). With such a large pool of people who might wish the man dead, Peter and Harriet, along with Superintendent Kirk, spend much of the book trying to find out Who Dun It.
The book also has a brace of Sayers short stories, mostly earlier Lord Peter mysteries although there is one story featuring another detective character of hers, traveling wine salesman Montague Egg.
Once I got past the main novel's slow build, I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. If you're not looking for rapid action, you will probably enjoy it was well.
“Kind hearts,” Kirk was saying, “are more than coronets; him as said that lived to wear a coroner himself.”
The mind boggles.
I am sorry that the editing is so poor, because the books are otherwise very handsome, with well laid out pages and a nice feel in the hand. But if you (unlike HarperCollins’ editors) are someone who can’t help noticing typos, this edition might not be for you—and if you are new to Sayers, you owe it to yourself to experience her fine writing without the distraction of textual bloopers.