The five red herrings of the title are five of six artists suspected of the murder of the most unpopular member of an artists’ colony in Scotland; the sixth is, of course, the murderer. (Unusually for Sayers, this is a “whodunit,” rather than a “howdunnit.”) Wimsey, holidaying in Scotland, assists the local police, foremost among them Inspector Macpherson, who, although Scottish, is really French (perhaps he went over after Culloden?). This is fitting, for this, the most Croftsian of all Sayers’ novels, is a map (unfortunately very poorly reproduced) and train puzzle, complete with boats and bicycles. Although slower-moving than other Sayers novels, it is, like all her books, immensely satisfying: she has the rare gift of grabbing the reader’s attention and never letting go. A great deal of entertainment is to be derived from the vanishing beard of Matthew Gowan, and there is an excellent scene between Wimsey and the artist Strachan on the cliffs, in the course of which Wimsey is nearly murdered. In the end, Wimsey, arguing from an object not found at the scene of the crime (although hinted at throughout), is, like the illustrious Dr. Thorndyke, able to deduce four characteristics of the murderer, whose complicated alibi borrows and improves on J.J. Connington’s The Two Tickets Puzzle (not a hard task, mind you!). The only regret the reader has with this tale is the excess of phonetically-rendered Scottish dialect, for D.L.S. lacks Gladys Mitchell’s abilities.