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.