Friday, May 1, 2015

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Batman has Albert. Wooster has Jeeves. And Wimsey has the amazing Mervyn Bunter as his butler sidekick.

Lord Peter Wimsey is a bored aristocrat who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder related to his experiences in WWI. One of the "cures" is to keep his mind busy by solving crimes. He especially enjoys beating the slow-witted inspector Sugg at his own game.

I loved this first in the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. Aside from some light profanities, it is chock-full of British witticisms and had me smiling from start to finish. A wealthy financier turns up missing on the same night that a naked stranger is found in Mr. Thipp's bathtub. They are not the same man, but Wimsey is determined to show that they are connected.

The two men who help are his manservant Bunter and Chief inspector Charles Parker. Both these men are endearing. Bunter is pure snob, but manages to pull it off beautifully. Parker is a more humble man who reads theology books for pleasure. He is the "slow and steady" foil to Wimsey's more flighty character.

Whose Body? pretends to be a light-hearted mystery, but asks important questions. The scientist in the story sees piety and concience as chemical/physical responses. "The knowledge of good and evil is an observed phenomenon, attendant upon a certain condition of the brain cells" (p. 91) Lord Peter and Inspector Parker have a long conversation about the the morality of detective work. Plus there are a lot of literary allusions. So it's a fun book if you like to think even when reading lighter fare.

Unlike the pricier books in the series Whose Body? is only 99 cents for Kindle.


Farm Girl said...

I have been reading through the series. I have enjoyed rereading the series.
So glad you wrote about them.

Daph said...

These are books I've always wanted to read but haven't gotten around to yet. I do wonder how they compare to the Hercule Poirot books by Agatha Christie?

Carol said...

I always feel a bit more educated after reading Sayers' Lord Peter novels. I did enjoy seeing this side of him - more vulnerable & less aristo.

Beckie B. said...

Thanks for your review of Whose Body? My church book club chose this as their first read 3 years ago. I had already read it and recommended it. Well, no one liked it! I was so surprised. They did appreciate the info on Sayer's that I shared with them, especially her contributions to modern mystery fiction. Oh well, I will have to find another group to share Peter Whimsy with!

Lois TinĂºviel said...

I've loved all of the Lord Peter Whimsey books. :) They're so much fun.