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Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) Paperback – 1 Jun 1959


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (1 Jun 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450012484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450012488
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit.' - P. D. James

'I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail.' - Ruth Rendell

'She combined literary prose with powerful suspense, and it takes a rare talent to achieve that. A truly great storyteller.' Minette Walters

Book Description

The best of the golden age crime writers, praised by all the top modern writers in the field including P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers created the immortal Lord Peter Wimsey. His eighth appearance takes him to an artists' colony (based on a real one) in Scotland during the 1920s. With an introduction by Elizabeth George.


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D Barber on 2 Oct 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this about 70 years ago and that was more than 10 years after it was written. It will not appeal to some present day readers with its occasional casual racism and outdated social conventions (the research team would have been highly improbable even in her day).. There is also little violence in it However I like it for its intellectual challenge -you have to be prepared to work at it- and the beautiful quality of the writing. Dorothy Sayers was a fine English scholar - and it shows.
I found it an enjoyable rereaddespite the imperfections, which lead me to give it 4 stars.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Mar 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This 10-tape publication is the size of a hefty hardback, but it has pride of place on my shelves! I hadn't appreciated just how gifted Patrick Malahide is as a voice actor until I heard this Chivers recording. He injects life & soul into the characters & brings definition to each one - together with just enough Scots accents to transport you straight to Galloway and the McClellan Arms. Most importantly, for me, Malahide clearly understands Sayers' dry humour & he has a sure touch in bringing it into the reading. It's the only recording of her work that has me laughing out loud at her wit. A pure pleasure to listen to from start to finish!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Retroguy on 2 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The red herrings are carefully laid to misdirect the reader but without compromising the coherence of the story as a whole. The characters are all interesting and effectively drawn and the story expertly plotted. The mysterious object missing from the murder scene kept me guessing all the way through, and Lord Peter is his usual charming/irritating self. Those of us who like this sort of thing will like it very much, and others will be pleasantly surprised.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jan 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
The characters were not as vivid as in Strong Poison nor was the setting as evocative as in The Nine Tailors. The plot became confusing too. Still an addiction to D L Sayers must be fed...
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 10 Feb 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I am rereading Dorothy Sayers' books after a period of several years, and although for the most part I am enjoying them very much, this one is a disappointment.

The story is complicated, with a large cast, most of whom will be unknown to readers of the earlier Wimsey novels. There is very little of Bunter, less of Parker, and even Peter is a rather two-dimensional version of himself. This is the problem with most of the characters; they are very flat and largely undifferentiated (other than between "artists" and "police"). The story reads more like a chess problem or similar intellectual exercise, rather than a pacy story, and there is no feeling of "psychological truth" about any of the characters. I didn't really care about any of the characters (all of whom were poorly developed). The ending, where Peter (with police in tow) re-enacts the events surrounding the murder) is perhaps the most entertaining part of the story, but nonetheless preposterous.

There are flashes of Dorothy Sayers' humour, and the story is at its best when Peter is on stage, but overall this was a slog to read through, and is not one of her books to which I will return. One for Sayers completists only.

This is a review of the Kindle ebook.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kilrymont on 18 Oct 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Number seven Wimsey. Feels like no. seventy! Comedy Scots accents (we dinny talk like that ye ken) and dialogue interspersed through this turgid story. Another mercifully short-lived character has, for some reason, a lithp and every thingle thilibant thound he utterth ith thpelt like thith. What on earth wath the thinking???

Detail enough provided to drown several herds of elephants ~ and the reader's capacity to keep upsides with what's presented as possible constructs. Till now I'd not realised quite how variable in quality was Sayers' work. I do hope there are none worse than this dross!

Its one saving grace is it's cheaper than the others, "only" £4.99 or so. "Whiskey" is either American rye or Irish, in Scotland it's "whisky" which Miss Sayers gets wrong all the way through. "9 Tailors" is excellent, but this piece of boring awfulness is best left till you feel you must read it to complete your Wimsey collection. Even then I'd not bother, shallow characterisations and ludicrous plot make this the worst read I had thus far in 2012.
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