Renowned English novelist, poet, playwright, and literary critic, Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Whose Body?” was first published in 1923. In this novel we are introduced to her most famous character, the aristocratic amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Lord Wimsey has developed an interest in solving crimes and joins in to help his friend Inspector Charles Parker and the official investigation into the disappearance of a famous financier. A naked body is discovered in the bathtub of a nearby flat and it seems to be the missing businessman, but Lord Wimsey cleverly deducts that it is a deceptive look-alike and resolves to get to the bottom of the disappearance and find the connection to the body. In this entertaining and suspenseful mystery set in London after World War I, Lord Wimsey uses his intelligence and intuition to solve the case and escape murder at the hands of the suspect. “Whose Body?” was a commercial and critical success upon its publication and Sayers would go on to write many more thrilling mysteries set in London in the exciting years before World War II and starring her beloved Lord Wimsey and his brilliant mind. This edition is printed in premium acid-free paper.
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About the Author
Date of Birth:June 13, 1893
Date of Death:December 17, 1957
Place of Birth:Oxford, England
Education:B.A., Oxford University, 1915; M.A., B.C.L., 1920
Read an Excerpt
The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries
By Dorothy L. Sayers
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1923 Dorothy Sayers
All rights reserved.
"Oh, damn!" said Lord Peter Wimsey at Piccadilly Circus. "Hi, driver!"
The taxi man, irritated at receiving this appeal while negotiating the intricacies of turning into Lower Regent Street across the route of a 19 'bus, a 38-B and a bicycle, bent an unwilling ear.
"I've left the catalogue behind," said Lord Peter deprecatingly. "Uncommonly careless of me. D'you mind puttin' back to where we came from?"
"To the Savile Club, sir?"
"No—110 Piccadilly—just beyond—thank you."
"Thought you was in a hurry," said the man, overcome with a sense of injury.
"I'm afraid it's an awkward place to turn in," said Lord Peter, answering the thought rather than the words. His long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola.
The taxi, under the severe eye of a policeman, revolved by slow jerks, with a noise like the grinding of teeth.
The block of new, perfect and expensive flats in which Lord Peter dwelt upon the second floor, stood directly opposite the Green Park, in a spot for many years occupied by the skeleton of a frustrate commercial enterprise.
As Lord Peter let himself in he heard his man's voice in the library, uplifted in that throttled stridency peculiar to well-trained persons using the telephone.
"I believe that's his lordship just coming in again—if your Grace would kindly hold the line a moment."
"What is it, Bunter?"
"Her Grace has just called up from Denver, my lord. I was just saying your lordship had gone to the sale when I heard your lordship's latchkey."
"Thanks," said Lord Peter; "and you might find me my catalogue, would you? I think I must have left it in my bedroom, or on the desk."
He sat down to the telephone with an air of leisurely courtesy, as though it were an acquaintance dropped in for a chat.
"Hullo, Mother—that you?"
"Oh, there you are, dear," replied the voice of the Dowager Duchess. "I was afraid I'd just missed you."
"Well, you had, as a matter of fact. I'd just started off to Brocklebury's sale to pick up a book or two, but I had to come back for the catalogue. What's up?"
"Such a quaint thing," said the Duchess. "I thought I'd tell you. You know little Mr. Thipps?"
"Thipps?" said Lord Peter. "Thipps? Oh, yes, the little architect man who's doing the church roof. Yes. What about him?"
"Mrs. Throgmorton's just been in, in quite a state of mind."
"Sorry, Mother, I can't hear. Mrs. Who?"
"Throgmorton—Throgmorton—the vicar's wife."
"Oh, Throgmorton, yes?"
"Mr. Thipps rang them up this morning. It was his day to come down, you know."
"He rang them up to say he couldn't. He was so upset, poor little man. He'd found a dead body in his bath."
"Sorry, Mother, I can't hear; found what, where?"
"A dead body, dear, in his bath."
"What?—no, no, we haven't finished. Please don't cut us off. Hullo! Hullo! Is that you, Mother? Hullo!—Mother!—Oh, yes—sorry, the girl was trying to cut us off. What sort of body?"
"A dead man, dear, with nothing on but a pair of pince-nez. Mrs. Throgmorton positively blushed when she was telling me. I'm afraid people do get a little narrow-minded in country vicarages."
"Well, it sounds a bit unusual. Was it anybody he knew?"
"No, dear, I don't think so, but, of course, he couldn't give her many details. She said he sounded quite distracted. He's such a respectable little man—and having the police in the house and so on, really worried him."
"Poor little Thipps! Uncommonly awkward for him. Let's see, he lives in Battersea, doesn't he?"
"Yes, dear; 59, Queen Caroline Mansions; opposite the Park. That big block just round the corner from the Hospital. I thought perhaps you'd like to run round and see him and ask if there's anything we can do. I always thought him a nice little man."
"Oh, quite," said Lord Peter, grinning at the telephone. The Duchess was always of the greatest assistance to his hobby of criminal investigation, though she never alluded to it, and maintained a polite fiction of its nonexistence.
"What time did it happen, Mother?"
"I think he found it early this morning, but, of course, he didn't think of telling the Throgmortons just at first. She came up to me just before lunch—so tiresome, I had to ask her to stay. Fortunately, I was alone. I don't mind being bored myself, but I hate having my guests bored."
"Poor old Mother! Well, thanks awfully for tellin' me. I think I'll send Bunter to the sale and toddle round to Battersea now an' try and console the poor little beast. So-long."
"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. Have you found the catalogue?"
"Here it is, my lord."
"Thanks. I am going to Battersea at once. I want you to attend the sale for me. Don't lose time—I don't want to miss the Folio Dante nor the de Voragine—here you are—see? 'Golden Legend'—Wynkyn de Worde, 1493—got that?—and, I say, make a special effort for the Caxton folio of the 'Four Sons of Aymon'—it's the 1489 folio and unique. Look! I've marked the lots I want, and put my outside offer against each. Do your best for me. I shall be back to dinner."
"Very good, my lord."
"Take my cab and tell him to hurry. He may for you; he doesn't like me very much. Can I," said Lord Peter, looking at himself in the eighteenth-century mirror over the mantelpiece, "can I have the heart to fluster the flustered Thipps further—that's very difficult to say quickly—by appearing in a top-hat and frock-coat? I think not. Ten to one he will overlook my trousers and mistake me for the undertaker. A grey suit, I fancy, neat but not gaudy, with a hat to tone, suits my other self better. Exit the amateur of first editions; new motive introduced by solo bassoon; enter Sherlock Holmes, disguised as a walking gentleman. There goes Bunter. Invaluable fellow—never offers to do his job when you've told him to do somethin' else. Hope he doesn't miss the 'Four Sons of Aymon.' Still, there is another copy of that—in the Vatican. It might become available, you never know—if the Church of Rome went to pot or Switzerland invaded Italy—whereas a strange corpse doesn't turn up in a suburban bathroom more than once in a lifetime—at least, I should think not—at any rate, the number of times it's happened, with a pince-nez, might be counted on the fingers of one hand, I imagine. Dear me! it's a dreadful mistake to ride two hobbies at once."
He had drifted across the passage into his bedroom, and was changing with a rapidity one might not have expected from a man of his mannerisms. He selected a dark-green tie to match his socks and tied it accurately without hesitation or the slightest compression of his lips; substituted a pair of brown shoes for his black ones, slipped a monocle into a breast pocket, and took up a beautiful Malacca walking-stick with a heavy silver knob.
"That's all, I think," he murmured to himself. "Stay—I may as well have you—you may come in useful—one never knows." He added a flat silver matchbox to his equipment, glanced at his watch, and seeing that it was already a quarter to three, ran briskly downstairs, and, hailing a taxi, was carried to Battersea Park.
Mr. Alfred Thipps was a small, nervous man, whose flaxen hair was beginning to abandon the unequal struggle with destiny. One might say that his only really marked feature was a large bruise over the left eyebrow, which gave him a faintly dissipated air incongruous with the rest of his appearance. Almost in the same breath with his first greeting, he made a self-conscious apology for it, murmuring something about having run against the dining-room door in the dark. He was touched almost to tears by Lord Peter's thoughtfulness and condescension in calling.
"I'm sure it's most kind of your lordship," he repeated for the dozenth time, rapidly blinking his weak little eyelids. "I appreciate it very deeply, very deeply, indeed, and so would Mother, only she's so deaf, I don't like to trouble you with making her understand. It's been very hard all day," he added, "with the policemen in the house and all this commotion. It's what Mother and me have never been used to, always living very retired, and it's most distressing to a man of regular habits, my lord, and reely, I'm almost thankful Mother doesn't understand, for I'm sure it would worry her terribly if she was to know about it. She was upset at first, but she's made up some idea of her own about it now, and I'm sure it's all for the best."
The old lady who sat knitting by the fire nodded grimly in response to a look from her son.
"I always said as you ought to complain about that bath, Alfred," she said suddenly, in the high, piping voice peculiar to the deaf, "and it's to be 'oped the landlord'll see about it now; not but what I think you might have managed without having the police in, but there! you always were one to make a fuss about a little thing, from chicken-pox up."
"There now," said Mr. Thipps apologetically, "you see how it is. Not but what it's just as well she's settled on that, because she understands we've locked up the bathroom and don't try to go in there. But it's been a terrible shock to me, sir—my lord, I should say, but there! my nerves are all to pieces. Such a thing has never 'appened—happened to me in all my born days. Such a state I was in this morning—I didn't know if I was on my head or my heels—I reely didn't, and my heart not being too strong, I hardly knew how to get out of that horrid room and telephone for the police. It's affected me, sir, it's affected me, it reely has—I couldn't touch a bit of breakfast, nor lunch neither, and what with telephoning and putting off clients and interviewing people all morning, I've hardly known what to do with myself."
"I'm sure it must have been uncommonly distressin'," said Lord Peter, sympathetically, "especially comin' like that before breakfast. Hate anything tiresome happenin' before breakfast. Takes a man at such a confounded disadvantage, what?"
"That's just it, that's just it," said Mr. Thipps, eagerly. "When I saw that dreadful thing lying there in my bath, mother-naked, too, except for a pair of eyeglasses, I assure you, my lord, it regularly turned my stomach, if you'll excuse the expression. I'm not very strong, sir, and I get that sinking feeling sometimes in the morning, and what with one thing and another I 'ad—had to send the girl for a stiff brandy, or I don't know what mightn't have happened. I felt so queer, though I'm anything but partial to spirits as a rule. Still, I make it a rule never to be without brandy in the house, in case of emergency, you know?"
"Very wise of you," said Lord Peter, cheerfully. "You're a very far-seein' man, Mr. Thipps. Wonderful what a little nip'll do in case of need, and the less you're used to it the more good it does you. Hope your girl is a sensible young woman, what? Nuisance to have women faintin' and shriekin' all over the place."
"Oh, Gladys is a good girl," said Mr. Thipps, "very reasonable indeed. She was shocked, of course; that's very understandable. I was shocked myself, and it wouldn't be proper in a young woman not to be shocked under the circumstances, but she is reely a helpful, energetic girl in a crisis, if you understand me. I consider myself very fortunate these days to have got a good, decent girl to do for me and Mother, even though she is a bit careless and forgetful about little things, but that's only natural. She was very sorry indeed about having left the bathroom window open, she reely was, and though I was angry at first, seeing what's come of it, it wasn't anything to speak of, not in the ordinary way, as you might say. Girls will forget things, you know, my lord, and reely she was so distressed I didn't like to say too much to her. All I said was: 'It might have been burglars,' I said, 'remember that, next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man,' I said, 'and that's unpleasant enough, but next time it might be burglars,' I said, 'and all of us murdered in our beds.' But the police-inspector—Inspector Sugg, they called him, from the Yard—he was very sharp with her, poor girl. Quite frightened her, and made her think he suspected her of something, though what good a body could be to her, poor girl, I can't imagine, and so I told the Inspector. He was quite rude to me, my lord—I may say I didn't like his manner at all. 'If you've got anything definite to accuse Gladys or me of, Inspector,' I said to him, 'bring it forward, that's what you have to do,' I said, 'but I've yet to learn that you're paid to be rude to a gentleman in his own 'ouse—house.' Reely," said Mr. Thipps, growing quite pink on the top of his head, "he regularly roused me, regularly roused me, my lord, and I'm a mild man as a rule."
"Sugg all over," said Lord Peter. "I know him. When he don't know what else to say, he's rude. Stands to reason you and the girl wouldn't go collectin' bodies. Who'd want to saddle himself with a body? Difficulty's usually to get rid of 'em. Have you got rid of this one yet, by the way?"
"It's still in the bathroom," said Mr. Thipps. "Inspector Sugg said nothing was to be touched till his men came in to move it. I'm expecting them at any time. If it would interest your lordship to have a look at it—"
"Thanks awfully," said Lord Peter. "I'd like to very much, if I'm not puttin' you out."
"Not at all," said Mr. Thipps. His manner as he led the way along the passage convinced Lord Peter of two things—first, that, gruesome as his exhibit was, he rejoiced in the importance it reflected upon himself and his flat, and secondly, that Inspector Sugg had forbidden him to exhibit it to anyone. The latter supposition was confirmed by the action of Mr. Thipps, who stopped to fetch the door-key from his bedroom, saying that the police had the other, but that he made it a rule to have two keys to every door, in case of accident.
The bathroom was in no way remarkable. It was long and narrow, the window being exactly over the head of the bath. The panes were of frosted glass; the frame wide enough to admit a man's body. Lord Peter stepped rapidly across to it, opened it and looked out.
The flat was the top one of the building and situated about the middle of the block. The bathroom window looked out upon the back-yards of the flats, which were occupied by various small outbuildings, coal-holes, garages, and the like. Beyond these were the back gardens of a parallel line of houses. On the right rose the extensive edifice of St. Luke's Hospital, Battersea, with its grounds, and, connected with it by a covered way, the residence of the famous surgeon, Sir Julian Freke, who directed the surgical side of the great new hospital, and was, in addition, known in Harley Street as a distinguished neurologist with a highly individual point of view.
This information was poured into Lord Peter's ear at considerable length by Mr. Thipps, who seemed to feel that the neighbourhood of anybody so distinguished shed a kind of halo of glory over Queen Caroline Mansions.
"We had him round here himself this morning," he said, "about this horrid business. Inspector Sugg thought one of the young medical gentlemen at the hospital might have brought the corpse round for a joke, as you might say, they always having bodies in the dissecting-room. So Inspector Sugg went round to see Sir Julian this morning to ask if there was a body missing. He was very kind, was Sir Julian, very kind indeed, though he was at work when they got there, in the dissecting-room. He looked up the books to see that all the bodies were accounted for, and then very obligingly came round here to look at this"—he indicated the bath—"and said he was afraid he couldn't help us—there was no corpse missing from the hospital, and this one didn't answer to the description of any they'd had."
"Nor to the description of any of the patients, I hope," suggested Lord Peter casually.
At this grisly hint Mr. Thipps turned pale.
"I didn't hear Inspector Sugg inquire," he said, with some agitation. "What a very horrid thing that would be—God bless my soul, my lord, I never thought of it."
"Well, if they had missed a patient they'd probably have discovered it by now," said Lord Peter. "Let's have a look at this one."
Excerpted from Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. Copyright © 1923 Dorothy Sayers. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This first novel that introduces Lord Peter Wimsey is a corker! If you like a good mystery, especially a good British mystery, and have not read Dorothy L Sayers, go for it. Only one of her Wimsey novels as ebook (so far).
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book for those who like British mystery stories without the contemporary penchant for excessive violence and foul language. It features Lord Peter Wimsey in his first appearance. These stories were adapted for TV in the British Mystery series. Those are also enjoyable. This e-book is fine-I did not notice distracting misspellings or other artifacts from conversion to electronic format. If Agatha Christie is the foremost British mystery novelist of the 20th century, having created both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, then Dorothy Sayers runs a close second. I deduct a star only because this type of writing may be considered dull by those who grew up on Hannibal Lecter and other more adrenaline producing contemporary crime novels. This is a book the whole family can enjoy and introduces the detective Lord Peter Wimsey whose further exploits can be followed in print and on the screen.
LOVE Dorothy L. Sayers! SO very glad that her books are now in Nook format! Now can "collect" all of her books and keep on Nook for reading again later! I had all of her books in paperback but had to move and get rid of them all! Now won't have to worry! Dorothy L. Sayers is one of the first "ladies" of mystery! We mystery lovers would have no lady writers without Sayers! If you have never read a Sayers book do so and fall in love with the genteel British mystery!
Very English mystery, solvable if you are paying attention to the clues. Maybe a little too sedate for todays tastes but an entertaining novel none the less.
The story line and plot have more twists and turns than a country road. The "villian" is a bit creepy and the author goes a little far into the twisted thinking of the villian, so I didn't suggest this book to my daughters, but I liked it. The end is satisfying and complete. I ended wanting to read the next in the series the same day! I enjoyed it even more!!!! Clouds of Witness is the title.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the witty British Mystery. Sayers is one of my favorite genre, and I wish I had more of her works in my library.
I was delighted to find this early Lord Peter Wimsey book available for Nook. Though brief, it is well-plotted and keeps the reader fascinated.
Dorothy L. Sayers is always a good,light read. This one was just as entertaining as the others and keeps you guessing where she is going next.
Sayers was one of the really good writers of her time as well as a master chef of mysteries. This is one of her earlier works, & is fun for the perspective of how bodies were ID'd before DNA testing was even dreamed of. Always a satisfying read.
Brilliant and awe inspiring knowing Agatha Christie used to read her books
Excellent read/classy and enjoyable
Thipps goes into his bathroom one morning to find in his bathtub the dead body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of pince nez glasses. That same night, a businessman bearing modest resemblance to the dead body seems to disappear, leaving his clothes behind. Lord Peter Wimsey (yes, that’s spelled correctly), an amateur detective, takes on the second matter, eventually joining forces with Inspector Parker, the police officer assigned to the first matter. They include Wimsey’s man Bunter, an avid photographer besides his working for Wimsey. Sayers sets up the two incidents well. The mysteries mount: whose body is it and how did it get into Thipps’ bathtub? What happened to Levy, the businessman, and why, and is there a crime there? Are the two incidents related somehow? Thus, this 1920s era mystery develops, primarily in London. Wimsey is an interesting and complex man, a second son who doesn’t inherit the Dukedom, and a man with the time and intelligence to work on crime solving. He apparently has some issues that would today probably be identified as post-traumatic stress from Wimsey’s participation in the Great War (now, WWI). Whether this is a murder mystery or not, I will allow you to discover. Well written, this reader found the pace slower than comfortable, but cleverly put together. The disappeared man Levy, being Jewish, provided more than one comment about him that by current standards would seem prejudiced and pejorative, something uncomfortable. The ending seemed unnecessarily prolonged to me. The overall evaluation? This is good, well written and clever, with an appealing protagonist. In this reader’s opinion, those were worth the disconcerting issues mentioned above.
This is the first of the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers. It was originally published before the depression and has a distinct style that still stands up by today's standards.Lord Peter, an unemployed aristocrat, enjoys his hobby of investigating crimes and uses his social situation ( the son and brother of a duke) to help Scotland Yard inspectors solve some unusual crimes. In this story a naked man is found dead in the bathtub and the Dowager Duchess (Peter's mother) asks him to search for the killer. Peter's friend Inspector Parker is searching for a missing businessman and the two decide to swap cases. Little do they know what lies ahead.I have heard of this series, mainly through the PBS series (which I've never seen) and decided that this was the right time to try it out. The style is sharp and amusing. Even though the story is set nearly 100 years ago, it still held my interest and entertained.
Whose Body? was Dorothy Sayers' first Lord Peter novel and was published in 1923. I am reading the Lord Peter books very much out of order, so it was fun to go back and see where it all started. Somehow I had the impression that the Lord Peter books started off a bit weak and gathered steam and depth as they went. Well, I was wrong. Whose Body? is right up there with any of Sayers' other novels, with a well-plotted mystery and fascinating yet believable characters. Sayers hit the ground running when she wrote this book.A dead man has been found reposing in the bathtub of an inoffensive little man named Mr. Thipps. What is even more ridiculous is that the dead man is wearing nothing but a pair of gold-rimmed pince-nez ¿ which, as Lord Peter observes, are not exactly enough to satisfy the demands of modesty. Lord Peter confers with his friend Inspector Parker, who is investigating the sudden disappearance of a wealthy Jewish financier. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that the two cases are connected somehow. But how?In this story Sayers explores at length the rising idea that conscience is a physical aberration that can be surgically removed like the appendix. I like a mystery that actually has some theory behind it, some idea that needs working out. Agatha Christie does this sometimes, only hers are psychological hypotheses rather than academic ideas. Wikipedia informs me of a fascinating little nugget, that Sayers originally intended the man's nakedness to be a clue that he was not the missing financier; Lord Peter would have deduced this from the man's not being circumcised. But this was a little too much for the publisher at the time, and the deduction that the bathtub body is not Sir Reuben Levy is made from his calloused workman's hands. Oh, the characters. I think they are unsurpassed in the murder mystery genre. Lord Peter is like a brainy Bertie Wooster, if such a thing can be imagined. He plays the fool the whole time right up to the end when his madness suddenly shows a highly intelligent method. Readers quickly learn that he is a character to be reckoned with (and enjoy watching other characters in the story misjudge him). And yet Lord Peter also has a vulnerability about him that makes him both human and appealing; he has "attacks," terrible memories of his experiences during World War I. The other characters are great too. Bunter is the perfect manservant, an incarnation of Jeeves with his own flavor; Peter's mother, the Dowager Duchess, is so much fun; Mr. Thipps and his beautifully deaf mother are very well drawn and believable, right down to correcting dropped h's; and Inspector Sugg provides the requisite stupid foil for Lord Peter's brilliance. And the villain in this one is particularly chilling. Sayers' irrepressible sense of humor is evident everywhere, both in the characters' dialogue and the wry narrative voice. I love how she describes Alfred Thipps, as a "small, nervous man, whose flaxen hair was beginning to abandon the unequal struggle with destiny." At one point Lord Peter sympathizes with the unhelpful neighbors, saying how Christian feelings really can break up one's domestic peace. Often the humor is highbrow; that is, it relies on adapted quotations from literary works or involves clever puns. The dialogue is perfect ¿ believable and (depending on the speaker) often very witty, peppered with those Britishisms that Anglophiles like myself so enjoy. I feel compelled to mention that there are some anti-semitic sentiments expressed in the story; at one point someone says that "one can be a Jew and still be a good man." Eep! Though perhaps that was considered a progressive statement at the time? From what I've heard, Sayers herself was not anti-semitic, but wrote her characters and settings to accurately reflect their times. It isn't overly pervasive and did not worry me overmuch, but some readers may have a problem with it.I listened to this on audiobook, read by David Case
My first foray into the world of audio books and I found it hugely enjoyable. The narrator provided unique characters, and the story unfolded under her voice very nicely. And yet, I had no pages to mark, no notes to take; I am undone! This is a book that I've seen recommended over and again through LT, so I was anxious to give it a try. Though written in the 1920s and set in England, a setting and era not familiar to me, I enjoyed the story very much. A murder mystery well written and narrated. (3.4 stars)
I've been reading a lot of fantasy lately, and decided to try something different for a change. I asked around for recommendations of some classic mystery, and Dorothy L. Sayers was suggested to me. Hence Whose Body? was my first exposure to Lord Peter Wimsey.Anyway, the book starts out with a naked dead body found in a bathtub. You just know there's going to be a good story there.My first observation was that this book was written in the early 1920s, and it really showed in the writing as well as in the language and mannerisms of her characters. Dorothy L. Sayers is in no way a bad writer, but I couldn't help but notice some very awkward sections where the author attempts to tell the story from another point of view in the form of letters, and you just gotta think to yourself, Surely no one ever speaks or writes like that!Still, I took it all in stride, and didn't even mind too much the overly verbose nature of Lord Peter Wimsey. Having mistakenly thought he would be a stuffy old lord, what I didn't expect was his dry sense of humor ("Well, if he only murdered me you could still hang him--what's the good of wasting a sound, marriageable young male like yourself?") and I liked him right away.I later realized that Whose Body? was not only the first Lord Peter Wimsey book, but also Sayers' first detective novel. It is no wonder that I found some of the "mystery" aspects of the story amateurish. I guessed who the murderer was very early on, and later his explanation didn't even really make a lot of sense to me. In a few sections, I felt the author was a bit unsure of which direction to take, and some of the clues and explanations came through feeling a tad forced. Like one reviewer said, at times the novel felt like a parody of a detective story, complete with a few satirical touches.I am not going to judge the rest of the Wimsey books by this one alone, however, as I know how "rough" first novels usually are, and no doubt Sayers goes on to polish her writing because of how successful her detective works became. Furthermore, even though Whose Body? didn't really do it for me as a mystery, as a novel I found it to be a very pleasant and fun read.
Overall interesting, though a bit on the bland side at first.
Lord Peter helps the police solve the murder of a dead body (wearing only a pince-nez) in the bathtub of an architect friend of his mother's. Silly, bored aristocracy humor of the time.
This book was a quick read, and I thought it was okay. I didn't really like the poems/songs that were randomly in there.
Gentlemen of Lord Peter Wimsey's class aren't expected to take up employment, and some view his involvement with crime of bad taste, but he can't help getting wrapped up in a good case of murder. This one is a doozy: a man is found laying in the bath at an architect's home completely naked, save for the presence of a pince-nez perched on his nose. The architect can't have committed the murder and the body strangely resembles Sir Reuben Levy, a powerful banker who has disappeared overnight. I liked the ongoing construction of the Lord Wimsey character and the many incongruous elements of the story that Sayers weaved in for us were very entertaining.
Lord Peter Wimsey, sometimes sleuth, and constant man-about-town, began his sleuthing career here. Lord Peter is called in when an unassuming man finds an unidentified dead body in his bathtub. Police suspect that the body might be that of a missing businessman, but Lord Peter is not so sure. The body's attributes don't seem to match those of the missing. According to police the prime suspect is the owner of the bath. Again, Lord Peter is not convinced, and it becomes his job to clear the innocent man's name. Lord Peter's aristocratic eccentricity is on full display in this novel, more so that in some of the later books in the series. There were definitely times when I started to get annoyed at the preponderance of "What Hos," and similar. Still, Lord Peter solves the mystery quite admirably.
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.
Having just finished reading the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel ¿Whose Body?¿ by Dorothy L. Sayers, I reached a first cornerstone of my literature journey through the beginnings and the Golden Age of crime fiction: Hoffmann¿s Fräulein von Scudery, Poe¿s Dupin, Doyle¿s Sherlock Holmes, Christie¿s Poirot and Marple, Allingham¿s Campion, Marsh¿s Alleyn and finally Sayer¿s Wimsey. With those I think I created a good basis for further reading and deepening the subject. The next classic detective fiction novels will be by Collins and Van Dine (starting to look over the pond a little bit) together with other novels by the listed authors as well as modern classic detective fiction writers such as Penny or James. I¿m highly curious where this journey will lead me to.Back to Whose Body? The plot is classically: there was a murder and now the culprit has to be found. Only this time nobody knows who actually got murdered for nobody knows who the dead peron is that¿s found naked in the bath tub of the worker Mr. Thipps.Informed by his mother, Lord Peter Wimsey, his funny and never resting servant Bunter and Wimsey¿s friend and Scotland Yard inspector Parker have to dig deep for clues revealing a dark and ingenious plot at the end by establishing the missing link between one of Parker¿s cases and the case of the dead body in Thipps¿ bathtub.In creating the characters of Wimsey and Bunter Sayers showed her craftsmanship to produce remarkable persons with highly individual characteristics. Especially Wimsey with his loose tounge and his sharp intellect is always a pleasure to follow through his dialogs and deductions. Maybe Wimsey is a bit to unprepossessing at times and Bunter could have been a little bit more Wimsey¿s sidekick than Parker. But I don¿t think that this bears anything negative to the novel. The plot and its turns, Sayers highly variable language and her skill creating atmospheres (and not just dialogs) is just striking (I highly advice you to read chapter XII twice just for the greatness of it). This said I start to understand why Christie, Marsh and Sayers are called the queens of British detective fiction (although I hope the next Campion novels by Allington will turn out better than the really bad first Campion mystery, so I can rightfully include Allingham in the list as well). But for now I just know that I¿ll keep on reading this Wimsey series for damn sure.
I remember adoring Sayers and her Lord Wimsey, but I admit upon reacquaintance I found his aristocratic manner irksome at first, and I was put off with his attitude that this was a hobby and puzzle. It's akin to an attitude you see in Sherlock Holmes, but somehow seemed more callous in a wealthy aristocrat who seems equally as diverted by collecting rare books. However, more and more as I read the novel it came back to me why I did love Sayers' Wimsey novels, and I got glints of why eventually Wimsey is more than a dilettante, yet a charmer. The mystery plot hangs together well, but what's most striking is that there's a lightness, a deft humor and wordplay that sets Sayers apart from Christie or Doyle. I should mention there are anti-semitic views expressed by characters in this book--but given the positive depiction of the Jewish character in the book, I think that's meant to reflect on those characters and the times, and not the views of the author. And there's something wonderful to look forward to in the later novels when his love, Harriet Vane, comes upon the scene.