Quite a long book this, incorporating not one but two dovetailing plot lines which meet more or less mid-point in a Big Pause that feels at first like a plot stutter. What’s going on here? I muttered into my scotch. Peter solved the initial question—when precisely was General Fentiman killed—so how come there are two hundred more pages?
It really is quite interesting to re-read Sayers in chronological order; for me it facilitates the emergence of favorite themes and characters, but also provides a peak into how the author approaches her chosen genre. It comes then as no surprise then that Unnatural Death represents not only a third exploration of those basics of any crime--victim, perpetrator, method, and witnesses--but also a pause to consider murder itself and, for what it's worth, why this crime in particular stands out as more heinous than others.
Okay, so if “Whose Body” explores how to find a murderer when the victim is unrecognized and there are no witnesses to the event, then Sayers’ second mystery (1926), can be viewed as an exploration of what to do when, though the victim be known, there are too many witnesses, all telling different stories! The title says it all—or almost. I mean, why isn’t this book called “Cloud of Witnesses”?
Recently I decided to re-read the unfortunately short list of Dorothy Sayers' fine Lord Peter murder mysteries, just for the pure pleasure of it. Some I recall quite well, others I've more or less forgotten. Join me, won't you, even if you saw the tv versions? Here's the list of titles, in chronological order.
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