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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the greatest detective novel of all time
This, the ninth of Sayers's eleven full length Wimsey novels, is the one that lifts her above the category of twentieth-century female detective novelist, and places her among the literary greats.

It is a thoroughly satisfying mystery - sophisticated, complex, intellectually challenging. Everything in the plot is there for a reason; and the final explanation...
Published on 15 Mar 2011 by B. Bennetts

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Memory plays tricks
Read this years ago and thought it was gripping. This time I found it slow and meandering. As an ex bell ringer the ringing stuff was interesting! When I eventually finish reading it, I may change my mind.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the greatest detective novel of all time, 15 Mar 2011
By 
B. Bennetts (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
This, the ninth of Sayers's eleven full length Wimsey novels, is the one that lifts her above the category of twentieth-century female detective novelist, and places her among the literary greats.

It is a thoroughly satisfying mystery - sophisticated, complex, intellectually challenging. Everything in the plot is there for a reason; and the final explanation is ingenious and unexpected.

It is Sayers, so there is more than just a plot. The characters have a depth and realism far beyond the caricatures of Agatha Christie. They have individuality and weaknesses and baggage and unexpected strength in the face of adversity. They are, in short, people.

Wimsey himself appears more relaxed in this than in most of the other books. A far cry from the self-conscious man-about-town of 'Whose Body?' or the nervy war veteran of 'The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club', this is the Wimsey hinted at in 'Five Red Herrings': the born and bred countryman, at ease with himself, almost classless at times, an incomer who at once instinctively understands and is accepted by this tiny community.

The community itself is minutely and deftly drawn too - partly through its supporting characters, partly through Sayers's own narrative voice, stronger and more distinctive in this book than in the others, and often taking on the cadence and the overtones of a local character to remarkable effect.

And then there are the most powerful and enduring characters of all: the bells of Fenchurch St Paul and the place itself. `The Nine Tailors' is to the Fens what `The Return of the Native' is to the heathlands of Dorset. It is a work of art, a tone-poem, a sonorous evocation of place and time, a symphony of words and images that endure in the mind long after the last page is turned. (For more on the power of language in `The Nine Tailors', I refer you to my recent essay on The Art of Reading at [...])

Much attention is given in literary circles to the `great American novel'; little, if any, is given to the novel that depicts England. Yet `The Nine Tailors', for all that it is set in an obscure and bleak corner of the countryside, is as intimate and accurate a portrait of inter-war rural Englishness as anything ever written - and an enduring one at that.

~~~

One must then turn, with the utmost reluctance and distaste, to the current sub-standard paperback edition of this masterpiece (978-0-450-00100-0). It appears to have been typeset and proof-read by persons with little knowledge of, and less interest in, either the English language or the basic rules of punctuation. It is further encumbered with an arch and self-congratulatory introduction by Elizabeth George, which adds little to one's appreciation of the work, and which - to add insult to injury - is inserted between Sayers's own foreword and the first chapter, thus breaking the rhythm of the author's original text. (No doubt the same vandalism has been committed in the latest impression of Gaudy Night, where any interruption between the Foreword and Chapter 1 would be even more obtrusive. Fortunately I still have my 1988 paperback of that work.)

A minor point, but a further niggle in light of these graver shortcomings, is the faintly 1970s typography employed for the section headings.

In summary, this edition gives the unfortunate impression of having been brought to press by an editor who neither recognised nor valued the calibre and significance of the book. I have now placed my 2011 paperback in the recycling bin and ordered a second-hand hardback. On the grounds of the punctuation errors alone, I would urge anyone who wishes to read what Miss Sayers actually wrote, to eschew the current paperback edition in favour of any other second-hand copy available.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 1 May 2007
By 
S. Bailey "will work for books" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
Lord Peter and Bunter drive into a ditch in the Fens. They are rescued by the vicar of Fenchurch St. Pauls, whereupon we meet Peter's previously unsuspected bell-ringing skills. This pastoral idyll is disturbed, however, by the discovery of a faceless, handless corpse in the churchyard. With almost no means of identification, even Lord Peter is pushed to discover the identity of the corpse and its murderer, but the ending to this is both a witty twist on whodunnit convention, and a genuinely moving paean to English village life.

The Peter Wimsey revealed by this quaint setting and the proximity of the clergy is a pleasant antidote to the aristocratic fool and hopeless lover we so often see. Out of the city, his charm is less forced, his wit less studied, his intellect at once more obvious and less overt. No Harriet Vane either (hurrah), just the inimitable Mr Bunter, a lot of books and a murder. What more could anyone want?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favourite novels, 17 July 2010
This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
No word of a lie; this really is one of my all time favourite novels. I think that Dorothy Sayers was head and shoulders above all the other Queens of the Golden Age of Crime and even now only P D James and Ruth Rendell come close. This is one of her best novels; not just a detective story but a touching portrait of rural England between the wars and a way of life that must have been all but vanishing even then. Ms Sayers never writes a wasted word; her descriptions of Fenchurch St Paul and the inhabitants are entrancing. Particularly Mr Venables, the rector; kind, absent minded, so enthusiastic about his church and his bells. Ah, yes, the bells. The bells are almost characters in their own right and have a very intriguing role to play. The plot carries you along, an old scandal, a missing emerald necklace and a suitably grisly corpse in the churchyard. I re-read this regularly and - horrors! - if I was only allowed ten books for my desert island this would be one of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid evocation of the Fens, 20 Aug 2010
By 
G. D. Busby "Cornish Graham" (Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
Several years ago, I struggled with Five Red Herrings and never finished it. So, thinking I'd try her oeuvre again, I have just finished The Nine Tailors; may be it is the print size (compared to my copy of Five Red Herrings) because that certainly aids reading but, really, it's more than that. The Nine Tailors is a wonderful evocation of fenland something like ninety years ago when life really was so much simpler. The plot is good and characterisation excellent. Being familiar with some of those massive East Anglian churches, I can vouch for the architectural detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Sayers, 23 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
This is an excellent whodunnit, full of enough twists, turns, and characters to keep even the most keen eyed reader on their toes. It is also an informative look into the arcane world of campanologists, or church bell ringers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chocolate box with many layers., 24 Nov 2010
By 
Berit Storset "margareta" (Norway) - See all my reviews
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I have read " The Nine Tailors" several times in pocket edition, and like it so much that I wanted a hardcover edition. This edition is of very good quality, with a nice dust jacket as well. Generally, I am very fond of Dorothy Sayers, and I think this is one of her best. Her description of bell- ringing, which was an unknown field to me, is an added pleasure, as an integrated part of the story, of course, but for its literary qualities as well.
The story spans wide in time and space, and leads us from a pre- world-war one world to the disillusioned 1920-ies.
Dorothy Sayers books are never just simple whodunnits, the characters are interesting, the "couleur locale" also. They are like a chocolate box with many layers,and I never tire of Peter Wimseys rather complicated personality or his manservant Bunters infinite resourcefulness.
I highly recommend this book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to spend a few hours, 20 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
A car crash during a New Year's Eve snow storm brings Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter to the village of Fenchurch St Paul and the hospitality of the local rector, who invites Wimsey to stay and help ring in the New Year with a spectacular bell-ringing display.

Three months later, Wimsey is invited back to the village after a grave is opened to reveal two bodies where there should be only one. Wimsey's investigations dig back into a robbery 20 years earlier that ruined several lives and whose repercussions continue to be felt.

Bell-ringing features heavily in this book and although each chapter begins with an extract from `On Change-Ringing' by Troyte to set the theme that follows, it's somewhat bewildering if you're not familiar with the topic. To this end, it would have been useful for the publishers to include a quick guide to the subject at the end so that readers could get the most from the story.

That said, this is another delightful read with Wimsey and Bunter on top form. Bunter's never-ending skills extend to photographing fingerprints, although it is a shock to see his impeccable manners slip with a serving girl at the Rector's house during the investigation.

The village of Fenchurch St Paul is well-realised, with Sayers populating it with vibrant characters. Wimsey's friendship with budding teen author Hilary makes for some interesting scenes. There is a biblical feel to the denouement and Sayers offers a downbeat resolution to a story that keeps you on your toes.

All in all, it's a fascinating and delightful way to spend a few hours.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and intriging., 9 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (Paperback)
The best of the Lord Peter Wimsy Novels, the description of the bells caroling out over the countryside is beautifull it has the impact of a fine old hynm. The corpse is wrapped up in a mystery that results in a tragic and moving ending. I have read and re-read this in one sitting and would highly reccomend it.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Tale, 28 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This is my first taste of Lord Peter on audio and I'm not dissapointed. Ian Carmichael simply shines as Wimsey. The BBC are past masters at audio dramas and this is no exception, the atmosphere's superb! If you're a fan of Conan Doyle or Christie via the BBC then you won't be disspointed with this effort. Turn the lights down low sit back and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing, wonderful characters, beautifully written., 15 Mar 2014
By 
Stair "Stair" (Northumberland, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have enjoyed reading this more than any book for many years. The characterisation and richness of detail, together with the accuracy of seemingly incidental details paint a deeply engaging and utterly believable picture. Brilliant.
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The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) by Dorothy L Sayers (Paperback - 1 Sep 1959)
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