Whose Body? (The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, April 9, 2013||
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From the Publisher
Sayers with Friends
Sayers with friends, posing as shipping magnate Sir Hugh Allen, in 1915.
Portrait of Sayers
A studio portrait of Sayers taken in 1926.
Sayers in 1950
Sayers in 1950, at the unveiling of a plaque at the S. H. Benson advertising agency, where she once worked as a copywriter. The plaque was placed at the foot of a spiral staircase in the agency, a tribute to a character in Murder Must Advertise who plunges down a similar staircase.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00BX8U56M
- Publisher : Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (April 9, 2013)
- Publication date : April 9, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 5612 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 132 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #69,416 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However, from the beginning I admired the elegant and deft prose, the cool wit and the confident unfolding of the byzantine plot which begins when an unidentified body is found in an architect's bath and a City of London financier goes missing. By the time I was half-way through I was fully acculturated to the 1920s and loved every aspect, especially how a darker tone is very gradually introduced and takes over by the end. The characters who had at first seemed generic stereotypes, were gradually revealed to be complex human beings, moulded by class, but credible individuals of any era. The 1920s context is expertly sketched and I became at least as familiar with it as I would if I'd read a social history of the period. An Appendix where Lord Peter's uncle pens his interpretation of his nephew's character is a neat touch. Sayers' novels are for those who read to coolly solve an extremely tricky puzzle, rather than those who want an emotional roller-coaster of fear and suspense which so many 21st century crime writers aim to provide.
'Whose Body' is highly recommended for students of the crime genre and lovers of beautifully wrought prose.
Whose Body was written in the early 1920's. It reflects attitudes toward Jews which were common in Britain at the time. Today, the book would be considered insensitive by the politically correct while anti-Semitics would condemn it for being favorable to Jews. The rest of us can simply accept it as a slice of life in the 1920's.
In my opinion, this first Peter Wimsey novel is a very good mystery but not as strong as subsequent works such as The Nine Tailors. Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her greatest work.
Note: There were no fingerprint or DNA data bases in 1923. There was no easy way to identify a body.
“Yes, my lord.”
“Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.” “Indeed, my lord? That’s very gratifying.”
“Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me."
I did not really have any expectations, this book having been my first from Dorothy L. Sayers, just some curiosity of how she compares to my beloved Agatha Christie. Having said that much, I was still pleasantly surprised at how much enjoyed reading it.
I loved the all characters: Lord Peter Wimsey, Bunter, detective inspector Parker & the Dowager Duchess of Denver (Lord Peter's mother).
In the beginning, Bunter read very much like Jeeves to Lord Peter's Bertie Wooster:
Lord Peter Wimsey: "It’s much easier to work on someone else’s job than one’s own—gives one that delightful feelin’ of interferin’ and bossin’ about, combined with the glorious sensation that another fellow is takin’ all one’s own work off one’s hands."
Bunter: "Yes, Mr. Graves, it’s a hard life, valeting by day and developing by night—morning tea at any time from 6.30 to 11, and criminal investigation at all hours."
"I’m off. With a taxi I can just—” “Not in those trousers, my lord,” said Mr. Bunter, blocking the way to the door with deferential firmness. “Oh, Bunter,” pleaded his lordship, “do let me—just this once. You don’t know how important it is.” “Not on any account, my lord. It would be as much as my place is worth.”
Their exchanges are funny and a nice comic relief, but as the story continues both characters -along with DI Parker - gather depth. Nothing too elaborately detailed, but rather through some nice little touches you learn that a seemingly flippant, offhand Lord Peter served in WW I and suffered a nervous breakdown due to shell shock from which he never recovered completely. Sometimes he has relapses, especially if his investigations -like here- lead to someone (even though a murderer) losing their life.
We also learn that Bunter served under Lord Peter's command & during his relapses he takes care of him conscientiously & effectively.
Detective Parker seems to be another sidekick to Lord Peter.
“It affords me, if I may say so, the greatest satisfaction,” continued the noble lord, “that in a collaboration like ours all the uninteresting and disagreeable routine work is done by you.”
He is thorough, cautious, clever & well-educated (reminds me a bit of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the Perry Mason series). He likes reading biblical commentary as a chill-out before going to sleep.
One of the most interesting parts of the book was a conversation between Lord Peter & Parker which highlights their characters even more:
“Look here, Peter,” said the other with some earnestness, “suppose you get this playing-fields-of-Eton complex out of your system once and for all. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that something unpleasant has happened to Sir Reuben Levy. Call it murder, to strengthen the argument. If Sir Reuben has been murdered, is it a game? and is it fair to treat it as a game?” “That’s what I’m ashamed of, really,” said Lord Peter. “It is a game to me, to begin with, and I go on cheerfully, and then I suddenly see that somebody is going to be hurt, and I want to get out of it.” “Yes, yes, I know,” said the detective, “but that’s because you’re thinking about your attitude. You want to be consistent, you want to look pretty, you want to swagger debonairly through a comedy of puppets or else to stalk magnificently through a tragedy of human sorrows and things. But that’s childish. If you’ve any duty to society in the way of finding out the truth about murders, you must do it in any attitude that comes handy. You want to be elegant and detached? That’s all right, if you find the truth out that way, but it hasn’t any value in itself, you know. You want to look dignified and consistent—what’s that got to do with it? You want to hunt down a murderer for the sport of the thing and then shake hands with him and say, ‘Well played—hard luck—you shall have your revenge tomorrow!’ Well, you can’t do it like that. Life’s not a football match. You want to be a sportsman. You can’t be a sportsman. You’re a responsible person.” “I don’t think you ought to read so much theology,” said Lord Peter. “It has a brutalizing influence.”
When finding out who the murderer is, Lord Peter gets also thrown into a moral dilemma that brings on one of his relapses.
You can guess who the perpetrator is relatively quickly. Sayers places her clues inconspicuously, but they can be discovered without much difficulty and yet it does not really diminish the merits of the book. It stays enjoyable from beginning to end.
Top reviews from other countries
Hearing about a body appearing in a bath in an architect’s flat, so Wimsey goes to have a look, although the case is being handled by Inspector Sugg of the Yard. It is certainly something out of the ordinary, if you were to walk into your bathroom and find a corpse in your bath, wearing only pince-nez. But for Wimsey, he has other things on his mind, as his friend Inspector Parker is investigating the strange disappearance of a financier. Could both the cases be somehow connected?
I admit I have read the Wimsey books many times, and so I already knew who the killer is here before I even opened the book, but although it isn’t that hard to work out, the solution of what actually took place, and all the inns and outs do make for an interesting read.
If you have never read a Wimsey book before, then you should be in for a bit of a treat, and it is fun to see the way that our amateur detective treats and gets along with his valet, Bunter, who used to be his batman in the army. Considering the time this was written it is good that Sayers shows her main character suffering with shell shock, something that was still skirted around in polite society at the time.
This isn’t a particularly long book and is something that is great to relax with when you have some peace and quiet.
If you find today's authors of detective novels too scary/vicious/psychological/or just plain nasty then why not wallow in a little gentlemanly detection.
Exceptionally clever, amusing and well written these will fill a lovely gap for reading.
Titled sleuth, time and money on his side sounds upsetting, but this man was buried alive in W W 1 is looked after by his old sergeant and suffers from nerves when he works out the murderer. Add a clever detective sidekick, a mother who any one would like to know and a glimpse of how the other half lives, what could be better.
I find Sayers makes it easier to make sense of clues so you can follow Whimsey's thoughts ..occasionally!
Easy to read, extremely hard to put down.
They are all good but there are favourites. You need to find your own, but Gaudy still holds a place in my heart. Will have to hunt out my bookcase and re-read them all now. Then onto Allingham's Campion books.
One small criticism. The little potted biography of Peter Wimsey that appears at the end of the book refers to almost the entire series and is, in places, a little bit of a 'spoiler.' If you plan to read more of them, I'd recommend avoiding it.
It’s dated of course, and a little verbose in places - partly because Lord Peter is verbose but at times the new author seems to catch it. However, although obviously of its time, and attitudes to race, class and psychiatry have changed a lot it doesn’t jar in the way that many other books of that time can do - Gladys Mitchell for example
The plot, and the descriptions of the lifestyle of Lord Peter and his acquaintances are complex and detailed and I don’t think I understood it when I first read it in my teens, I certainly didn’t remember or work out quite why a body would be disposed of in quite such a bizarre manner - the final explanation does hang together, on the book’s own terms.
The Kindle edition is a bargain, but annoyingly all figures (digits) in the text are missing in action so people catch the . train instead of the 6.12. Odd
Lord Peter becomes politer in later books. He is horribly rude here to Inspector Sugg, and to Thipps' neighbours who have pretentions to gentility. He is unfailingly kind to Thipps, however, the discoverer of the body and a previous acquaintance.
Just one question. A naked corpse is found in Mr Thipps' bath, at the same time a well-known financier, Sir Reuben Levy, goes missing. One detail makes it impossible for the corpse to be Levy. Wouldn't the murderer have thought of that?
By the way, Lord Peter's "huntin', shootin, bally old whatsit" accent belongs to the aristocracy – it isn't an affectation.