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Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – July 11, 1995

4.3 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews
Book 3 of 14 in the Lord Peter Wimsey Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the greatest mystery story writers of this century." -- --Los Angeles Times

"Suspense, wonderful plotting, first-rate detection." -- --Cincinnati Enquirer

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (July 11, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061043583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061043581
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book to be probably the best of all of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. The plotting is tight and all the threads are pulled together for the reader. A nice touch is that neither Lord Peter nor Parker are superhuman detectives who miraculously discern the truth at every step. Instead, they are allowed to make mistakes and even be a bit slow sometimes in getting to the truth, which makes them completely believeable. But the best part of the book was the great atmosphere - Ms Sayers brings 1920's England vividly to life so much so you feel you are actually there. I liked the way the story shifts back and forth between London and the countryside. Also, what fun to be introduced to Mr. Murbles and Miss Climpson - surely some of the most entertaining characters ever created in detective fiction! I read all the mysteries written subsequently and was a little disappointed that their characters are not more fully developed in later books - both appear in other novels but not to the extent I would have wished. All in all, it's an unputdownable mystery - try it and you will be hooked!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Originally published in 1927, UNNATURAL DEATH is the third of Dorothy L. Sayer's "Lord Peter Wimsey" mystery novels--and a novel in which Sayers manages to strike the same balance of literary style and humor that she previously created in the 1926 CLOUDS OF WITNESS. But also like CLOUDS OF WITNESS, UNNATURAL DEATH is not a murder mystery per se--a fact that may annoy readers in search of a classic "whodunit" novel. In this instance, the criminal is a foregone conclusion; it is catching her that poses the problem.

That problem proves remarkably convoluted. Miss Agatha Dawson, an elderly lady of considerable wealth, has died after a long battle with cancer--a reasonable death. Even so, the doctor in charge of the case feels uneasy; not only did the death benefit Miss Dawson's great-niece considerably, it seemed to him a little premature. And when Lord Peter Wimsey becomes intrigued, it seems that any individual who could give evidence against the niece suddenly dies! This poses an unexpected moral issue for Wimsey. Should he continue to pursue the case--even though his persistence seems to force the killer to kill again or again?

While somewhat marred by her occasional tendency toward a patronizing sort of racism, UNNATURAL DEATH is far from the worst of the worst of Sayer's work--it is not, mercifully, as painfully overworked as the slightly later THE FIVE RED HERRINGS or HAVE HIS CARCASS. And although it falls a bit short of her masterpieces of the mid-1930s (MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, THE NINE TAILORS, GAUDY NIGHT, and BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, titles that continue to dazzle readers and inspire writers to this day), it not only indicates the style of those works but it holds up very well as a tightly written, fast-paced, and intriguing read. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Dr. Edward Carr overhears Lord Peter Wimsey and Detective Charles Parker discussing crime and the responsibility of the medical profession, he is drawn to share a perplexing problem of his own. When a patient of his who was slowly dying of cancer suddenly took much worse and died, he was unable to sign the death certificate with confidence and insisted on a post mortem, greatly discomfiting the survivor, one Mary Whittaker. When nothing suspicious is found, Dr. Carr found himself losing patients, and eventually had to sell his practice.
Wimsey is intrigued, and, despite the misgivings of both the doctor and Detective Parker, dispatches the elderly Miss Alexandra Climpson to gather information in the town of Leahampton while he pursues other leads in London. He finds many suspicions, but no facts, even when one death and then another are reported. In each case there are no indications of foul play, and Wimsey becomes convinced that he has grabbed the tail of the perfect crime. His opinion is not shared by Parker, however, and it is only reluctantly that the latter consents to investigate.
Gradually circumstance builds, and even Parker must admit that there are many questions to be answers. Yet all are baffled. Even knowing who the perpetrator must be, the investigators are unable to formulate a case that will stand in court. Wimsey is up against one of those sociopathic minds that pays careful attention to detail and apparently has the means to murder as if by magic. Dorothy Sayers has created a truly baffling case.
The greatest delight of this novel is the first appearance of Miss Alexandra Climpson. A delightfully sharp woman who is a persistent and dedicated investigator in the service of Lord Peter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dorothy Sayers once described Peter Wimsey as a cross between Fred Astaire and Bertie Wooster, and I think that captures the character perfectly -- just the right mix of dashing, erudite and silly. Like all Dorothy Sayers's mystery work, "Unnatural Death" is charming, funny and highly readable. However, the actual mystery here is a little convoluted and the smoking gun a little less evident, which sometimes makes the plot feel like it's wandering. Still, if you're a devoted fan, you'll find all the things you love in these books. The dialogue is always witty and the characters engaging. On the other hand, if this is your first Peter Wimsey experience, I would recommend starting with one of the two earlier books that have more concrete "sleuthin'," as Lord Wimsey would say, to get a feel for the Wimsey style and the little ensemble that make up his circle.
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