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.

 

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

 

Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha ChristieWhat are the ingredients for an enjoyable murder mystery? Take Agatha Christie, add a famous, Belgian detective, a dash of a humorous butler, an unexpected guest, complex, well-developed characters and you have Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie is a seasonal book that was originally published in 1939. It is the nineteenth book in the Hercule Poirot Mystery Series and is Christie’s response to the criticism of her brother-in-law. He told her that her murders were getting too refined. Therefore, Christie dedicated this book to her brother-in-law, James with “You yearned for a good violent murder with lots of blood … so this is your special story.”    Continue reading Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie

The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Publication Date: October 7, 2010

 

The Physicists by Friedrich DürenmattThe Physicists was written by the author, Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1961. Dürrenmatt is a twentieth-century, Swiss playwright, novelist and essayist who is renowned for his philosophical crime novels (The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman and Suspicion) as well as in his satiric, tragic-comic dramas that are centered around post-World War II. The Physicists is his first classically constructed work and is generally considered his best play. It deals with the ethics of science. In 1963, the play was performed worldwide and was finally staged in New York in 1964. If you don’t mind spoilers, continue reading.    Continue reading The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Rabid Reader’s Reviews Holiday Musings 2016

We took the opportunity to review books and movies for the 2016 Christmas season. Be sure to check out our reviews:

 

Books

If you are you enjoy mysteries by the author Mary Higgins Clark, we recommend her holiday detective stories. In The Christmas Thief, the amateur sleuth, Alvirah Meehan, once again teams up with the private investigator Regan Reilly.

 

 

 

 

David Baldacci, known for his Will Robie and Amos Decker series, departs from his typical thriller books and takes a dive into the contemporary in The Christmas Train.

 

 

 

 

Mythology 101 by Jody Lynn Nye, book reviewIf you are looking for is a cute story that is a little cheeky with an off-the-wall humor, try Mythology 101 by Jody Lynn Nye.

 

 

 

 

Movies

Movie Review: A Nightmare before ChristmasTim Burton’s dark Christmas movie brings in Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who is totally fed up with screaming and scaring. Instead, accompany Jack Skellington as he spreads Christmas joy. The Nightmare before Christmas has been digitally remastered and is Amazon choice.

 

 

 

 

This movie is based on John Grisham’s book, “Skipping Christmas” and it became on instant family classic. If you looking for a humorous movie, enjoy Christmas with the Kranks.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for more holiday reviews, check out Rabid Reader’s Reviews Holiday Musings 2014 for more.

We wish all of our readers and subscribers a great 2017 and want to thank you for regularly visiting our Rabid Reader’s Reviews site.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Publication Date: January 21, 1994

 

TS_Rosenkrantz_Gildenstein_Are_Dead

[easyazon_link identifier=”0802132758″ locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead[/easyazon_link] is a comedy that features two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Release Date: December 19, 1843 | Rerelease: June 1, 1991 (unabridged edition)

 

CD_A_Christmas_CarolEbeneze Scrooge is a miser that considers the Christmas tradition frivolous and an employee having a paid day off as a way to pick a man’s pocket. He is visited by three spirits that will show him who he is and where he’s going if his cruel ways continue.

 

 

 

Continue reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by Ian Cumpstey

Publication Date: May 2, 2014

 

Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by Ian CumpsteyWarrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by Ian Cumpstey is a collection of Scandinavian Ballads translated into English verse. Ballads translated are Widrick Waylandsson’s Fight with Long-Ben Reyser, Twelve Strong Fighters; Hilla-Lill, Sir Hjalmar, The Hammer Hunt, The Stablemates, Sven Swan-White, The Cloister Raid, Heming and the Mountain Troll and Heming and King Harald.

Continue reading Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by Ian Cumpstey

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Publication Date: September 1, 1990

 

The Lottery by Shirley JacksonThe Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a short story by Shirley Jackson first published in the New Yorker on June 26, 1948. The story chronicles an annual tradition in a small, contemporary, American town called The Lottery in which families pull marked stones and the winning family pulls individual stones to determine which member will have the honor of making the ultimate sacrifice for a perceived greater good.

 

Continue reading The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard

Publication Date: April 23, 2013

 

A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. SouthardA Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard is an imagined story of Jane Austen’s life in which she longs for companionship and love. Will she find what she’s looking for at a ball in honor of her sister and herself hosted by their brother at Godmersham Park?

 

 

 

 

Continue reading A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard