Thursday, May 1, 2008

Review: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Whose Body? is the first in the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. A dead body turns up in Mr. Thipps's bathtub one morning wearing nothing but a pince-nez; at the same time, a prominent financier goes missing. It's obvious that the two cases are connected, but how? In comes Lord Peter Wimsey, an amateur detective who quickly solves the case. He's an interesting detective obsessed with old books and Sherlock Holmes. He is assisted by the eminently capable Mr. Bunter, as well as Mr. Parker of the Scotland Yard.

This book felt like a rough draft to me. Only 215 pages long, its as though Sayers just began writing without making an outline, or without knowing much about her protagonist before she began. The murderer is kind of obvious, only because there's no one else who could conceivably have done it. But the premise is intriguing, and the way in which Wimsey solves the case is unique. It’s definitely a book of the time period it was written in, the 1920s; frequent mention is made to the shell shock soldiers experienced after WWI, as well as the goings-on in Russia—the Revolution and subsequent Civil War.

I haven’t read any of Dorothy Sayers’s other novels, but I’ve heard that, although this book isn’t particularly good, the rest of the books in the Lord Peter Wimsey series are better. In any case, I think I might continue reading her work.

1 comment:

Trish said...

Too bad this one wasn't good--the beginning description sounds very interesting (only wearing a pince-nez?!).


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