Innovative writing, excellent dialog and delightfully funny. My only problem was with the deep and abiding anti-Semitism. Of course that is as much a cultural artifact as Lord Peter Wimsey's clothing and Bunter's deference. Still, I found it distressing enough to mar the story.
This is a far cry from some of the great mystery stories of today, but must have been a "simply marvelous" read in its time.
This novel was written in 1923 and is one of the classic cozy mysteries.
I hate to sound parochial, but I seem to have a problem with British novelists of any kind. The vernacular, the witticisms, the understatement, the references to places that I have never been, nor have ever heard of, all put me off. (Although I do enjoy British cinema and TV.) In addition to those problems, I had a hard time suspending my disbelief: Lord Wimsey is not a police officer or private detective, but a private citizen whose hobby is solving murders. I know that there are other characters like him in literature and film, but I prefer that the protagonist be a police officer or private detective. For all of those reasons, I could not even finish the first chapter.
I was looking forward to my first sampling of Dorothy L. Sayers. Whose Body?, the first book in her Lord Peter Wimsey series was published in 1923 and this series went on to establish her as on of the greatest mystery writers of her time. The book started off well with the discovery of a unknown naked man in a bathtub, at the same time a well known financier went suddenly missing, could these two cases be connected?
I had a little trouble warming to Lord Peter Wimsey, at first I found him to be very brittle and supercilious. Then at the end of Chapter 8 an event happens which explained a lot about the inner workings of this man.
However, I totally fell in love with his admirable valet/sidekick Bunter. How I would love to have such a competent, caring man overseeing every detail of my life! The other character introduced in this book that is worth her weight in gold is Wimsey’s mother, the Dowager Duchess.
I found this book an enjoyable read, the mystery was good, although I did figure it out quickly. I enjoyed the setting of 1920’s London and the glimpses of fashion, food and pastimes. The characters are interesting and I am looking forward to seeing what they get up to in future books.
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