Dorothy L. Sayers: Whose Body?



General population at the time I don t think anyone can deny that in the 1920 s people were still racist as hellSecondly I read the book specifically looking for anti Semitic statements andI just don t see them Some not all characters are prejudiced against Jews but no one is saying that Jews are evil if anything characters just echo commonly accepted misconceptions and stereotypes about Jews and none of it seems motivated by a particular malice but by just general ignorance A prime example of this is Peter s mother who delivers what Kelly saw as a lengthy rant against Jews I think she was referencing Peter s mother anyway the character s not named in the review so I apologize if I got it wrong Kelly Here s some of the Duchess s dialogue judge for yourself and I m sure some Jews are very good people and personally I d much rather they believed something though of course it must be very inconvenient what with not working on Saturdays and circumcising the poor little babies and everything depending on the new moon and that funny ind of meat they have with such a slang sounding name and never being able to have bacon for breakfast Still there it was and it was much better for the girl to marry him if she was really fond of himI don t see anti Semitism in that Peter s mother doesn t understand Judaism very well but there s nothing particularly unkind in her dialogue in fact she s basically saying Yes Jews are different and I don t understand their religion at all but they should be able to marry who they like Further I think that based on what I Secret Agent Minister and Deadly Texas Rose know of Sayers other books the speech is meant to be a comic display of how little Judaism was understood at the time I don t think Peter s mother is anti Semitic and I don t think the book is either Oh I feel so badly how much I disliked this book As a mystery genre fan and avid reader of Agatha Christie I thought for sure I would enjoy the much reccomended Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L Sayers But alas I found myself bored and annoyed by the personalities of the charactersThe plot seems interesting enough a random body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of glasses shows up in a bathtub Who is he and how did it get there Book collector Peter Wimsey is on the case To be honest I couldn t bring myself to complete this book The characters were much too arrogant for my taste and the whole take on the mystery solving seemed primitive Not to mention constant anti semetic comments littering much of the book I just was very turned off by it allSome people consider this an early mystery masterpiece Me I pass Lord Peter Wimsey is a charming intelligent aristocrat whoeeps occupied as a rare book collector and an amateur sleuth Set in post World War I Britain he occasionally suffers from PTSD from his war years Wimsey enlists the help of his valet Mervyn Bunter in the detective work and the dry British wit of the duo had me laughing Wimsey s mother the Dowager Duchess of Denver is another wonderful character a socialite who often voices the feelings of the 1920s upper classA body naked except for a pair of gold pince nez is found in the bathtub of an acuaintance of Wimsey s mother On the same day Reuben Levy an important Jewish financier is reported missing The corpse has a mild resemblance to Levy Wimsey Bunter and the competent Inspector Parker from Scotland Yard work together to solve the cases A confessional letter by the criminal at the end of the book detailed why the corpse was found in the tubAlthough the characters seem to think that the Jewish Reuben Levy is a good person there were uite a few stereotypical comments about Jews scattered throughout the book It is probably reflective of the lack of understanding of other religions and ethnic groups that existed in 1923This short detective story is the first of a series of Lord Peter Wimsey cozy mysteries It Why Not Tonight (Happily Inc., kept my interest and I especially enjoyed the humor British Jason 1 Jolly good book whatBritish Jason 2 Oh ratherBritish Jason 1 I say how much longer do you suppose we caneep this upBritish Jason 2 Not long old bean I ve run out of stereotypical Brit words and this ridiculous accent is doing me head inI almost filed this all up in my PG Wodehouse shelf The similarities in style setting and character are striking There s a somewhat daffy lead in Lord Peter Wimsey though he s clearly got on the ball than Bertie Wooster There s the taciturn Parker just a little looser and given freedom than the butler Jeeves After all Parker is a police investigator and his own man Even the time and place 1920s England hits the JeevesWooster markThe mystery of who dunnit wasn t exactly mind boggling I suspected the culprit almost the moment he hit the stage But this mystery doesn t seem to care for the diabolical plot as much as others in the genre Dorothy Sayers appears perhaps interested in developing a deeper character No no one between the pages of Whose Body is coming close to Dostoyevsky s Raskolnikov but Sayers seems concerned with her whys as opposed to her whos For instance the reasoning behind Lord Peter s desire to catch criminals comes into uestion than once through the book His past reaches into the present to color the proceedings These are nice touches that you don t tend to get with Agatha Christie Does Sayers always succeed in her uest for why No Allow me to explainThe criminal s confession is than a mystery genre trope It s a staple Unnaturally delivered admissions of guilt absolutely abound in these books and it is taken to a RIDICULOUS extreme in Whose Body Sure the bad guy is said to be one of those clever chaps who needs to brag but that doesn t justify the lengths to whic Time to meet Lord Peter Wimsey archetype of amateur gentleman detective his sidekick the invaluable valet Bunter Bunter 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 Update 13032017I 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 motherIn the beginning Bunter read very much like Jeeves to Lord Peter s Bertie WoosterLord 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 handsBunter Yes Mr Graves it s a hard life valeting by day and developing by night morning tea at any time from 630 to 11 and criminal investigation at all hoursI 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 Her First Mother (Conveniently Wed, 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. Nancier but Lord Peter Wimsey who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobbynew better In this his first murder case Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.

It s difficult for me to be objective about Dorothy L Sayers Since discovering Strong Poison in the school library when I was about 14 she has been one of my favourite writers and one whose novels I re read regularly In the past couple of years I ve ventured beyond the novels and the short stories not being much of a short story reader I ve not read all of these to read Sayers collected letters some of her essays such as Are Women Human and Barbara Reynold s excellent biography Dorothy L Sayers Her Life and Soul This has in turn made me want to read of Sayers non fiction as well as her plays and her translation of Dante Suffice to say I m a big fan and a shared love of Sayers writing is what has introduced me to a number of What a complete and utter mess of a book I had been informed by many reliable sources including Lucy Worsley in her documentary A Very British Murder that Sayers was even better than Christie where murder mysteries are concerned They are all wrongThis mystery has an intriguing enough premise a naked dead body is found in the home of a harmless man that everyone automatically Welcome Home, Cowboy (Wed In The West, knew was not the murderer because well the Wimseys mother and son said so Lord Wimsey is called on to investigate the murder At the same time Wimsey s friend Parker is searching for a missing person a JEW Mind you JEW in capital letters A self made JEW A good man despite being a JEW JEW JEW JEW Got that All right For some reason unknown to the reader Wimsey is insistent that both cases are related And then I really don tnow what happens Or why Because it s that badly written I don t understand how Wimsey even arrives at the conclusion that X is the murderer The motive for the murder is largely unbelievable and doesn t even make much sense The characters are hideous Peter Wimsey is extremely annoying in every way possible He puts on an affectation every time he opens his mouth He tries some weird accent that doesn t add anything to his character or to the plot He is shallow and annoying and I constantly felt the need to slap him Hard Especially when he begins to uote random poetry or starts singing at people who have no clue what he s doing I have a strong suspicion that Sayers meant it all to funny but it falls terribly flat The Duchess is even annoying if possible The entire aura of upper class British aristocracy is shamelessly flaunted as something awesome without any context to its existence And I say this as a Downton Abbey lover I honestly feel bad I started my year with this dud I don t think I ll be wasting my time on any Sayers This certainly is not a classic whatever else it may be Dorothy L Sayers wrote mysteries notably the Lord Peter Wimsey series from the 1920 s through the early 1950 s She also did translations such as Dante s Inferno She was a controversial writer of her time and a very accomplished one From letters she wrote she had begun working out her plot for Whose Body in 1920 21 and the book was published in 1923Lord Peter Wimsey has found his own critics as a character He was in WWI and experienced shell shock with a conseuent fear of responsibility due to his regiment being decimated during the war He comes off as garrulous at times due to nervous tension and all the uirks of his personality are due to his war experiences At the same time he is aware of his life of privilege and wants to do something meaningful thus his hobby of investigating crime casesThe Dowager Duchess of Denver Lord Peter s and Lord Wimsey s Gerald mother is shrewd enough to Snowbound Bride (Harlequin Men in Uniform Miniseries) know that if her son is to fully recover his hobby could be a good avenue for getting there When she learns that the body of a man turns up in the tub of an architect shenows she lets Peter Cowboys Baby (Ranching Family, know about it and asks him to see if there is anything he can doDetective Sugg an arrest whoever is handy sort is in the process of trying to find proof that the architect and his house maid contrived to hide this crime in plain view Lord Peter disagrees and his friend with Scotland Yard Charles Parker sees it the same as Lord Peter Meantime Parker also has a case that just came up a wellnown Jewish financier named Sir Reuben Levy has disappearedThus begins the story that winds its way through many different households and settings The writing is definitely brilliant and aside from Lord Peter s own thought processes becoming the chief red herrings those same wayward thought processes get the job of solving the crime doneBunter Lord Peter s manservant and one of his Seargents in the war is a photography buff and aids in both finding and eliminating possible leads Parker takes up a lot of Lord Peter s slack when Lord Peter experiences agitation at getting too close to possible suspects At one point Parker lectures him that he can t treat crime solving like a football match at school that it isn t a game and he must get over his notion of giving suspects a sporting chance Lord Peter at one point does have an episode with flashbacks to the war It is when he believes he has discovered a guilty person and is reluctant yet driven to do the right thingThe depth of the characters is one of the chief features of this book While they may awkwardly hide behind academics or sheer verbal frivolity at times there are reasons if no excuses for these excursions I enjoyed the psychological aspects of the characters as much as I did the mystery itself This initial offering in the series has made me very curious and I look forward to getting to now these characters further in the second book of the series The very first Lord Peter Wimsey novel and thus the genesis of one of the most engaging characters I ve ever encountered literary or otherwise Actually make that at least two since Bunter is eually astounding and maybe three because the Dowager s uite engaging too In rereading this I found myself surprised at how solid the characters are at the very beginning of the series they are essentially the same fully realized people they are ten books later though we only see certain facets of them here More dimension follows laterThere is so much that I love about this book including the very first page its first two words and indeed the first two words Wimsey ever utters to us are Oh damn Just a few lines down is the sentence that encapsulates so much about Sayers s writing the perfect litmus test for the Lord Peter series His long amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola Either you find that uirkily poetic and want to read or you should be reading something else entirelyCuriously this is only the first of no fewer than three completely random and incidental mentions in this volume of that particular cheese I have to assume that Sayers was a fanThe actual mystery is brilliant a man goes into his bathroom one morning to find a naked corpse in the tub wearing nothing but a pair of golden pince nez He has no idea who the man might be or how he came to be dead in his tub Meanwhile a financial bigwig s gone missing and while he bears a superficial likeness to the corpse found across town they are clearly not one and the sameBut as satisfying as the cases are satisfying by far is the chance to meet Lord Peter as he babbles foolishly in the way only the very rich can get away An alternate cover edition for this ASIN can be found hereThe stark naked body was lying in the tub Not unusual for a proper bath but highly irregular for murder – especially with.

Ith picking apart the mysteries while uoting poetry in between snifters of Napoleon brandy and bidding on early editions of Dante And early 20s England is painted beautifully which is not entirely surprising given that the book was written in erm early 20s England uiteThere are some rough edges to be sure the odd temporary shifts into second person perspective leap to mind but they are ultimately very forgivable in a first novel and almost seem charming in light of the later worksIf you d like to give it a whirl before expending any energy to get an actual copy of the book the novel is now public domain and appears in its entirety here And the preface is uite good too There are many book series that over the years I have said I d love to read those books and then never did Lord Peter Wimsey is one of those great characters that I vowed to visit and promptly forgot my promise In an attempt to turn over a new leaf reading wise I am changing this habit When I find a book that really appeals to me I make the time and read the book This does mean that I reshuffle my TBR pile but that s ok I have already read several delightful books that I probably never would have read otherwise They would all still be lost in wishicouldreadthisland Recently I read an article listing several female detective writers that wrote before and at the same time as Agatha Christie and I had never read a single word of any of their writings Then I watched a documentary by Lucy Worsley about British murders that mentioned most of the same authors again When the little voice inside my head started saying I would love to read that I didn t allow myself to just forget about it I immediately picked one of the authors Dorothy L Sayers I went to openlibraryorg and found a scanned copy of Whose Body and actually started reading Finally reading Sayers is just the first step I have a whole list of female mystery writers from that time periodand one at a time I m going to actually delve into their fictional worlds and savor their exceptional talent as storytellersWhose Body is the first Lord Peter Wimsey story He is uite an interesting character English aristocracy Wealthy privileged a bit of an upper class dandybut with a differencehe can solve crimes He s different from Sherlock and Poirot in that he goes after a case with a sense of flair humor and upper class sarcasm He uses his social standing to gain a foothold and his brains to finish the job I thought I might find him annoyingrather upper class twit ish But from the first chapter of Whose Body I found myself liking Wimseyhe s amusing capable and at times pokes fun at himself and his class with witty bad verse and even song Too much funIn his first case Wimsey teams up with his friend Charles Parker to solve the discovery of a murdered naked dead man in a bathtub and the disappearance of a local financier Sir Reuben Levy Levy left his house in the middle of the night without so much as a stitch of clothing with him never to return The police namely Wimsey s nemesis Detective Sugg want to claim the dead body in the tub as the financierfind a naked man lose a naked man they must be one and the same right But Wimsey nows the dead man is not the missing wealthy Jewish financierso who is he Sugg is uick to rush to judgement in an effort to close the case he arrests the man who lives in the apartment where the dead body was discovered and a servant girl Wimsey Gilligan Unbound knows Mr Thipps did notill the strange man but he Gone for Soldiers knows he needs to discover the identity of the found corpse and hisiller and find the missing banker before Sugg makes mistakes With his trusty man servant Bunter and Scotland Yard s Charles Parker in tow Lord Peter Wimsey is on the caseAt just over 200 pages this book is a uick and fun read Wimsey and Parker each take a case and begin investigating then compare information with each other And Wimsey s trusted manservant Bunter photographs items and dusts for fingerprints all while uizzing the servants about their employers and anything they may have witnessed or overheard All of this is done with Sugg of Scotland Yard seething in the background Wimsey pulled rank his mother is good friends with the Chief of course and has complete access to the crime scenes Cue Sugg seething You now the poor guy isn t that great of a detective but he is an excellent seether Too bad there isn t a spot at Scotland Yard for seething He would be perfect In the end this case turns out to have just as many magnificent twists and turns as any Christie novel And it is just as masterfully executed I am definitely going to push on to book 2Wimsey s brain power and antics are just too funDorothy L Sayers wrote 11 Lord Peter Wimsey books and five collections of short stories Author Jill Paton Walsh completed an unfinished manuscript left by Sayers and also wrote 3 Wimsey books herself I was led to finally read this series while watching the documentary A Very British Murder featuring Historian Lucy Worsley She mentions many classic mystery writers My TBR grew by leaps and bounds The documentary is wonderful for classic mystery lovers I found it streaming on Britbox I highly recommend anything by Lucy Worsley She discusses history with intelligence understanding and humor At last I pick up Dorothy Sayers first mystery novel and finally learn the Origins of Lord Peterexcept this isn t an origin story like I was expecting We don t get to see Lord Peter as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins deciding to become a defender of justice while pretending to be a empty headed rich playboy oh man did anyone else start thinking of Peter WimseyBatman slashfic Maybe Batman builds a time machine and goes back to the 1930 s and he and Peter fight crime together while Alfred and Bunter hang out and trade dry witticisms and then everyone makes out Give me a couple days I ll work on it instead this is like the earlier Batman movies where he s already running around Gotham punching people in funny outfits and it s always been that way There are some references in this book to Peter taking up detective work out of boredom but when the book starts he s already solved several important cases and has his method figured out Boo on Sayers for not giving me the gritty origin story I expected but that s okay Aside from that uibble I enjoyed this story pretty well like most other reviewers I guessed the culprit pretty uickly but it s not Sayers fault that I watch so much Law and Order SVU and have learned to pick out the patterns This is very obviously a first novel and her style has improved a lot since this book It s not the best in the series but it s still a fun brief detective romp Which leaves only one thing left to talk aboutRACISM In her very thoughtful review of this book Kelly expressed discomfort with what she saw as anti Semitic elements present throughout the plot Having now finished the book I disagree with this reading and will try to explain myself without pissing anyone off First an author is not her characters and just because a character expresses a certain view does not mean that the author shares this view It s true that some of the minor characters in this book express anti Semitic opinion but I think Sayers is using their prejudiced beliefs to make a point about how Jews were seen by the. A pair of gold pince nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes What's the face appeared to have been shaved after death The police assumed that the victim was a prominent fi.

Dorothy L. Sayers ☆ 2 Review

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Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author translator student of classical and modern languages and Christian humanistDorothy L Sayers is best known for her mysteries a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey However Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Co