Book Review: Whose Body?

Posted May 18th, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments

Title: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries #1)
Author:  Dorothy L. Sayers
Publisher: Open Road Media
Version Read: e-galley (NetGalley)
Publication Date: April 9th, 2013
Categories: crime, historical, mystery

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way reflects my feelings towards the book or the book’s review.

Summary (Netgalley): Lord Peter Wimsey spends his days tracking down rare books, and his nights hunting killers. Though the Great War has left his nerves frayed with shellshock, Wimsey continues to be London’s greatest sleuth—and he’s about to encounter his oddest case yet. A strange corpse has appeared in a suburban architect’s bathroom, stark naked save for an incongruous pince-nez. When Wimsey arrives on the scene, he is confronted with a once-in-a-lifetime puzzle. The police suspect that the bathtub’s owner is the murderer, but Wimsey’s investigation quickly reveals that the case is much stranger than anyone could have predicted. Published in 1923, during detective fiction’s golden age, Whose Body? introduced a character and a series that would make Dorothy L. Sayers famous. To this day, Lord Peter remains one of his genre’s most beloved and brilliant characters.

I was interested to read Whose Body? because of it being 90 year this year since the very first time it was published. Unfortunately I think that might have been why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to.

Lord Peter Wimsey is odd. Very odd. For instance, he sprouts poetry in the middle of speaking about something, without any warning. It’s rather discombobulating. (I love that word) I found it tended to pull me out of the story rather than add to it. Also he acts like he is stupid in public, then later in private with his close friends he shows his true intellect. Now, I know as lot of characters do this, but it’s a character trait that annoys me a lot, in both real people and fictional ones. He also has a tendency to prattle on until you have lost track of what he was talking about in the first place.

Something else that left me wanting was that we are tumbled head-first into Lord Peter’s world without much explanation of who he is, other than someone who enjoys solving mysteries. We are introduced to his friend Charles Parker, who is a detective in much the same manner. In fact I first thought that Parker was a journalist not a detective with the police. We don’t find out his first name until near the end of the book when Lord Peter finally refers to him by his first name, as opposed to his surname.

One thing I really enjoyed about Whose Body? was the mystery itself. It was well thought out and I certainly didn’t have the culprit figured out within the first few chapters. You worked it out mostly as Lord Peter did, which was good and it wasn’t the most obvious person, but nor was it just some random person either. It was a very interesting mystery, which is definitely one reason why it was after midnight when I finished reading it – I needed to know who did it and how they had done it.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy the Sherlock Holmes novels, and Agatha Christie’s novels, who are after a somewhat lighter read.

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