Dorothy Sayers


This time the amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey gets a case because of a coincidence. He and his Scotland Yard friend Charles Parker are eating in a restaurant and talking about doctors and crimes. A doctor sitting in the next table overhears them and tells them about his own mystery case which he is convinced is a murder. Unfortunately, he couldn’t prove it.

The young doctor Carr tells the duo about his patient Miss Dawson. The old lady had been suffering from cancer but despite this she had been relatively strong and the doctor had expected her to live for quite some time. Instead, she had mysteriously died. The doctor had performed an autopsy on her but in vain. The unmarried old lady had lived together with her grand-niece, a nurse, and a couple of servants. The doctor suspected that the niece had somehow killed the old lady. She was so afraid of dying that she hadn’t wanted to make a will, although she did intend for her grand-niece to inherit her. The grand-nice Miss Mary Whittaker did inherit her so there doesn’t seem to be any reason for her to kill the old lady. So, who did it and why?

Lord Peter takes an interest in the case and starts to investigate. Or actually he sends Miss Climpton to the town where the suspected murder occurred. Miss Climpton is a middle-aged woman whom Lord Peter has hired to question women who might not speak as readily to men. Miss Climpton has also the freedom to investigate people without having any official status so the people don’t know that she’s investigating them. So, the perfect intelligent gatherer! So, she travels to the town and the two men start to investigate at their own ends. Miss Climpton sends her employer letters to tell about her progress while the plot thickens…

Unnatural Death seems to have more complicated plot than the previous Sayers books and it seem also a bit contrived although as entertaining as ever. Miss Climpton is a funny new character and I hope that she’s going to be a recurring character. She’s very chatty and friendly. When things start to clear up, it came to me as a complete surprise.

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This is the second book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. This time there’s a crime in the family and Lord Peter has to investigate his own sister.

After the last case Lord Peter has taken a holiday in Corsica but hears much to his dismay that his sister’s fiancée, Captain Denis Carthcart, has been shot and Lord Peter’s brother the Duke has been arrested for it. He hurries back home to sort out the mess.

Some of the Wimsey family and some of their friends have gathered for hunting in their lodge in Yorkshire. Denis and the Duke Gerald had argued and the Duke had even threatened the Captain. Around three in the morning the Captain was found shot with the Duke’s pistol and the Duke kneeling over him. The Duke was arrested and the whole family was upset. Lord Peter’s good friend, Detective Charles Parker, is investigating the case and together the two go over the evidence and the lodge in search of new evidence. They found some footprints from someone who isn’t staying at the lodge but also a jewel-encrusted cat which seems to indicate that a woman is mixed up in the case. Parker goes to Paris to investigate further the murdered Frenchman while Lord Peter stays and starts to suspect his own family.

This time we get to see Lord Peter’s family. The unfortunate Duke seems to be the most conventional of them even though he, too, has some skeletons in his closet. Most of the characters are quite likable and quirky.

Even though the plot isn’t as convoluted as in the first book, I felt that it moved quicker or maybe I’m just getting used to Sayers’ style. However, I was intrigued right to the end. A good, classic detective story.

This is the first in Sayers’ classic detective novels starring Lord Peter Wimsey. In this book we are introduced to Lord Peter himself, his rather pushy manservant Bunter, and his friend detective Parker. The book has rather more complex plot than is usual for mysteries because there are two mysteries to solve: a man’s naked body has appeared into the bathtub of a meek architecht who doesn’t know the man and a well-known financier has disappeared from his home. Lord Peter starts to investigate the former and Parker starts to investigate the latter. The police inspector Sugg is convinced that the body in the bathtub is the body of the Jewish financier but Lord Peter doesn’t agree. However, soon Lord Peter whimsically decides that they should switch the investigations. Parker agrees but soon Lord Peter starts to see that the cases are connected somehow.

The book is a short and light read full of eccentric characters and plot twists. But it was a good read and I’m looking forward to the next one. However, that’s going to be a bit more difficult to get. Apparently there’s only one copy of it in the libraries in this county. And the English soft covers have been sold out right now. I guess I’ll have to wait for the library copy to come through.

I read the Finnish translation which was translated in 1960s and it showed! Mr. and Mrs. were left in the text instead of translated to herra and rouva. For some reason a coroner was the person who interrogated the witnesses during the trial. And his title wasn’t translated but was left in the text in English.