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Review: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers


Original date of publication: 1928

My edition: 1998 (Harper Torch)

Why I decided to read: I felt like reading more Dorothy Sayers

How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, April 2010

I’ve been meaning to read more Dorothy Sayers for a while; but when Susan hill mentioned it in Howards End is on the Landing, I knew that this had to be the next to read.

In the years just after WWI, an old military man (a veteran of the Crimea) dies in his club. Although it would seem that he died of natural causes, Lord Peter Wimsey determines that he was murdered; and he sets out to prove not only the time of death but the manner in which the General died. At stake is money, and who will inherit it.

Of her early Lord Peter mysteries, this one is undoubtedly Sayers’s best. She seems to have gotten better and better with each book she wrote, and she really perfected her art with this book. She deals with not only the petty stuff, but the larger things that were going on in he world at the time; in this novel, although WWI is ten years past, it’s still very much on people’s minds. George and Robert Fentiman, grandsons of the General, are perfect examples of this; George has been extremely affected by experiences in the trenches, while Robert escaped untouched.

Dorothy Sayers has a very subtle sense of wit; what I love about Lord Peter is his dryness. You almost have to be looking in order to find the humor in this book, but it’s well-worth it when you do. We learn more about Lord Peter’s experience during WWI and his relationship with Bunter, too—surely one of the most patient butlers in fiction.


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