Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

 

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. SayersWhose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is the first novel of the Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey series. Lord Peter is financially independent and has a special hobby; he solves murder cases. When an unknown dead body is found in Mr. Thipps’s bathtub, he is on the case. With the help of his butler-friend Bunter, a talented forensic and semi-professional photographer and his friend Charles Parker, who works for Scotland Yard, he sets out to solve this mystery.

Whose Body? was released in 1928 and, like many first novels of a series, the reader is introduced to a number of characters that reappear as the series continues. The protagonist, Lord Peter was born in 1890 and is a World War I veteran. In the series, he ages in real-time making him 28 years old at the time the first book was released.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is a procedural-police meets private-inspector investigation story that is told by Lord Peter and Scotland Yard inspector Parker. Therefore, readers have a great overview of all on-going investigations and can solve the crime along the way.

In the first part of the novel, Mr. Thipps, an urban architect, is appalled after finding a dead body in his bathtub. And if this isn’t already scandalous, the naked body is dressed with pince-nez. Of course, all things considered, Mr. Thipps’s situation is very unfavorable and therefore he becomes the prime suspect in the eyes of Inspector Sugg. For Inspector Sugg, the case is clear cut, and without much ado, he arrests Mr. Thipps.

Through the vicar’s wife, the Dowager Duchess of Denver hears of the case and contacts her son Lord Peter to follow up on the investigation. Inspector Sugg is your typical incompetent idiot working on the case. Although on occasion, he does have a rather soft spot for Lord Peter.

Lord Peter, for his part, decides to stick to his friend, Inspector Parker, who is investigating a missing person case. With the help of Parker’s reports of Sir Reuben Levy, an elderly banker, who disappeared overnight without a trace, Lord Peter checks the crime scene. Although Lord Peter recognizes similarities — is the man in the bathtub Sir Reuben Levy? Or is Sir Reuben the killer?

Together with Bunter, Lord Peter follows the leads that he found in Mr. Thipps’s apartment. By powers of observation and deduction, they are able to identify the body and find the killer. Although the killer is rather predictable, Sayers does give readers the psychology of the killer to understand what motivated him.

In Whose Body?, Sayers also illustrates the class differences at the time the novel was released. On the one hand, Bunter, who is not only Lord Peter’s butler but his closest friend, work together as equals, regardless of the class differences — on the other hand, Bunter still addresses Lord Peter with “my lord” in private and “his lordship” while in company.

Throughout the story, Sayers’s characters become multi-layered and she exposes the hidden qualities, interwoven with Bunter’s and Wimsey’s past. The story explains the relationship between “Major Wimsey’s” World War I shellshock and his recurring nightmares, and “Sergeant Bunter” as his caretaker.

Lord Peter is a gentleman detective, which is typical for the Golden Age of detective fiction. Dorothy L. Sayers belongs to the group of famous British Crime Ladies of that period. She was a prominent writer of the Golden Age, but she never reached the level of fame as did Agatha Christie.

Sayer’s Wimsey series is characterized as very British with a fine sense of humor and slightly bizarre. Notwithstanding, the reader will find social criticism in her work. This is emphasized through satire and mocking of the British upper class.

The Wimsey series consists of 11 books. In 1998, Thrones, Dominations was published. It was the unfinished book of the series that was completed by the author Jill Paton Walsh. After the approval of the Sayers Estate, A Presumption of Death (2002), The Attenburg Emeralds (2010) and The Late Scholar (2014) were released by Jill Paton Walsh. The books take place during World War II. According to some of the reviews I’ve read, most Dorothy L. Sayers fans see these books as fan fiction. I’ve never read them though. The books by Jill Paton Walsh belong to the series Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Van Mystery books. 

A number of Dorothy L. Sayers books are available as T.V. mini-series. Check out the database here.

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About Dorothy L. Sayers
For more information about Dorothy L. Sayers visit her website. Check out the reading order of her books and what fans are saying on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter @Dorothy L. Sayers Society. There is also a Lord Peter Wimsey page on Facebook. Those that have already read her books, look up the Wimsey Papers, war-time letters and documents of the Wimsey Family.

 

Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

Publication Date: August 14, 2015

Book Review: Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone, science fiction trilogyIt’s 2250 and an apocalyptic event has destroyed civilization which is now divided into three categories and life is a perilous proposition. Romy is 20 years old and aspires to the highest level of society. She’s worked hard and yet seems to come up short. How will she handle the truth of her situation? Continue reading Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott

Publication date: November 4, 2017

 

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The Dalai Camel: A Bizarre Tale of UnBEARable Bliss & Bewilderment by C.E. Rachlin

Publication Date: February 8, 2018

 

The Dalai Camel by C.E. Rachlin

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Four Horsemen (How to be Dead Book 4) by Dave Turner

Publication Date: January 16, 2018

 

Four Horsemen (How to be Dead Book 4) by Dave Turner

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Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs: A Fairy Tale Satire by Ford Forkum

Publication Date: June 14, 2017

 

Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs: A Fairy Tale Satire by Ford ForkumSnow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs: A Fairy Tale Satire by Ford Forkum is a dark and satirical take on the cartoon version of the classic fairy tale.    Continue reading Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs: A Fairy Tale Satire by Ford Forkum

Lady of the Nile by Veronica Scott

Publication Date: October 30, 2017

 

Lady of the Nile by Veronica ScottIn Lady of the Nile by Veronica Scott, Khian, a decorated commander, has been assigned to Thebes to serve out his military career before returning to his farm for planting season. Tuya is one of the most trusted companions of the Pharoah’s wife. When fate throws them together for Khian to act as protector, their attraction grows. When Tuya is kidnapped, Khian is her only hope. Lady of the Nile is the seventh book in the Gods of Egypt series.    Continue reading Lady of the Nile by Veronica Scott

Zenka by Alison Brodie

Publication Date: November 6, 2017

 

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False Prophet (A Saul Marshall Thriller Book) by Richard Davis

Publication Date: January 25, 2016

 

False Prophet (A Saul Marshall Thriller Book) by Richard DavisImagine seeing your obituary in the paper just before assassins break into your home. In False Prophet (A Saul Marshall Thriller Book) by Richard Davis, a cult starts killing people and Agent Saul Marshall is on the case. When that cult kidnaps Saul’s son, he may officially be off of the case, but the rules have changed and it’s winner take all. False Prophet is the first book in the Saul Marshall Thriller series. Continue reading False Prophet (A Saul Marshall Thriller Book) by Richard Davis

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Release Date: April 30, 2002

 

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If you haven’t read [easyazon_link identifier=”0345453743″ locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy[/easyazon_link] (go read it), this review may not be for you. It may seem illogical—but this is a review specifically written for those that reread Douglas Adams’ work regularly. These people exist. They are normally referred to as hoopy froods who always have a towel handy. Since Tammy a.k.a. Rabid Reader’s Reviews was tied up in the Vogon poetry appreciation chair, I volunteered to write this review. She is still alive and well, and I am pleased to inform you that she hasn’t gnawed off her own legs yet.

Continue reading The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams