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Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) [Paperback]

Dorothy L Sayers
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1959 A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery

Lord Peter Wimsey could imagine the artist stepping back, the stagger, the fall, down to where the pointed rocks grinned like teeth.

But was it an accident - or murder? Six members of the close-knit Galloway artists' colony do not regret Campbell's death.

Five of them are red herrings.

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

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: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but not as good as others 22 Jan 2001
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother - for completists only 7 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There is always an element of smugness and elitism about the Lord Peter Wimsey stories and they really do live up to that marvellous barbed description of the Golden Age mystery novels as being 'snobbery with violence'. For the majority of the time, these concerns can be buried because there is a rattling good plot, well-paced action and some decent dialogue. But in this book, the plot is so over-egged that it falls embarrassingly flat. The plot centres on an unpopular artist who has been murdered but the death made to look accidental (this is not giving anything away - you learn all this in the first few pages). The plot is ludicrously convoluted and the last quarter or so of the book involves the key investigators each providing a lengthy (and frankly, impenetrable) solution to the murder before Lord Peter provides the correct solution. By the time he does, nobody other than a complete Dorothy L Sayers nut will care. This will in no way spoil the plot of the book, but it will occur to any intelligent reader that there were several much much MUCH easier ways in which the killer could have disposed of the body. The solution the killer adopted seems only have been used so that preposterous counter-theories could be built up.

My firm advice is that unless you really must read all the books in the series, skip this one.

Oh yes, and be warned that if you are Scots, you are going to be more than a little annoyed at one feature of this book. All the 'lower orders' and less intelligent locals speak in a broad Scots dialect, whilst the upper classes speak in English. This might to some extent have reflected the social mores of the time, but to me it grates in the same way that casual insults about Jews and coloured people annoy me in Sayers's other Wimsey novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Sayers 5 Red Herrings 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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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palatable (and Palettable) Crofts 27 Dec 2002
By A Customer
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For the completist devotee only... 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite book
My old edition of my all time favourite detective story fell apart so I bought this to replace it. Great condition too.
Published 2 months ago by mrs s j payne
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've been enjoying the Wimsey books so far but this was poor by comparison. The tedious story made worse by pages of references to railway timetables and interchangeable suspects... Read more
Published 2 months ago by PL
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex
This was to say the least, very complex. That's not to say it wasn't good. I really like Wimsey stories and this is a good one.

5 stars because it has earned them.
Published 2 months ago by M. Lovett
5.0 out of 5 stars wow
deliciously complex, a great read, but one you will have to reread as there is so much detail in it, highky recommended for crime fans
Published 2 months ago by Andrew London
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing
I read these books with a smile on my face and this one was complicated and testing. At one time I thought everyone in the village was in on the murder and the denouement was a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by DMLP
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my thing
I have not read one of these before although I was a fan of the TV programme with Ian Carmichael some time back. I am sorry to say that I find the book a bit tedious. Read more
Published 5 months ago by anon 337
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to find this classic mystery on Kindle
I enjoy all of Dorothy Sayers writing featuring Lord Peter Wimsey - this book is gives particularly detailed descriptions of a part of southern Scotland which I remember visiting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Helenix
2.0 out of 5 stars arrogant writing
I’m aware of Sayer’s reputation and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of hers I read. Five Tailors and Gaudy Night, but I lost patience with this book after a few chapters and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. W. Revell
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, good books on Kindle
Have been waiting for my favourite books to be kindle ready for a long time. Well worth the wait. Excellent read as ever.
Published 6 months ago by lizwhoodoo
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Red Herrings
I read this book many years ago and thought it would make a good holiday read. The style is quire dated but that adds to the enjoyment. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Elizabeth A Ward
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