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32 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Sayers 5 Red Herrings
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 It will not appeal to some present day readers with its occasional casual racism and outdated social conventions (the research team would have been highly improbable even in her day)..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...
Published 11 months ago by D Barber

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but not as good as others
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...
Published on 22 Jan 2001


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4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, intelligent and just slightly boring, 14 May 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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Five Red Herrings is the seventh Lord Peter Wimsey novel, published in 1931. The first edition in the US was called `Suspicious Characters' but later the original title was used.
Sayers set the book in Galloway, an area which she sometimes visited on holiday and the locations are real. She said that she promised her landlord that one day she would write a book set in the area.
Sandy Campbell, the murder victim, was a talented painter. He was also a quarrelsome drunk. He is found dead, appearing to have fallen into a stream and fractured his skull, leaving a half-finished painting on the bank. Lord Peter is on a fishing holiday in the same area. He is called in and points out something which makes it impossible for Campbell to have done the painting, though Sayers teases us that, since readers should have noticed what the clue is, she won't mention it! Unfair!
Campbell has been murdered and his killer, according to Wimsey,painted the picture in his style, to make the death seem an accident. There are six artists locally who could have done it and who have quarrelled with Campbell. One, then, is the murderer and the others are the `five red herrings.' All are acting suspiciously, in one way or another; all seem OK people but however richly Campbell deserved his fate, the murder must be solved so that the others can live free of suspicion.
The Five Red Herrings is the Peter Wimsey story which is most obviously set as a puzzle for the reader. The plot is told from a variety of viewpoints - Wimsey, various highly competent police officers, the wonderful Bunter. Thus, Wimsey and Bunter are a bit less central to the story than in other novels.
Dorothy Sayers often depicted groups of individuals, whether artists, policemen, advertising executives, et al. She always does this in an interesting and incisive way. Her depiction of place is always good and Scotland comes alive even to someone like myself who isn't too keen on the place!
It does seem odd that this book was written after `Strong Poison' which began Peter's romance with Harriet Vane. She isn't in this book at all. Instead, this is quite a cerebral book in which Wimsey has no particular emotional involvement. There is a lot of detail about the movements of each suspect, involving railway timetables, and unless you are a lover of detail, this is all a bit boring, frankly. There's also a good bit of tedious dialect. It is all very clever - but I wasn't sure how much I cared. Wimsey is an attractive, indeed sexy, hero, in his upper-crust way, but this book is primarily a complex puzzle which does not engage on an emotional level. Wimsey's wit and pithy sayings are very appealing, though, and the devoted and resourceful Bunter is a delight, not least because of his beautifully dignified verbosity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite book, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
My old edition of my all time favourite detective story fell apart so I bought this to replace it. Great condition too.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 9 Feb 2014
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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 made it dull and confusing. I can't recommend it except for putting you to sleep.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, 9 Feb 2014
By 
M. Lovett (UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
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
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing, 13 Nov 2013
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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 pleasure to read. I recommend the Lord Peter Wimsey novels to one and all, they are a delight.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not my thing, 11 Nov 2013
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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. I expected it to be dated but have really had to force myself to finish it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great to find this classic mystery on Kindle, 13 Oct 2013
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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. It was great to find that it was in one of the Kindle sales.
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2.0 out of 5 stars arrogant writing, 12 Oct 2013
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A. W. Revell - See all my reviews
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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 gave it up. I found the attempt to render the speech in a Scots accent extremely irritating. A good author knows that the inclusion of the odd dialect word – ‘canna’, or ‘wee’ – is sufficient to convey to a reader the person is speaking with an accent, plus, more importantly. their speech pattern. I also found her comment on Lord Peter’s unsuccessful search for the missing piece of evidence: ‘(Here Lord Peter Wimsey told the sergeant told the sergeant what he was to look for and why, but as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted from this page) rather arrogant. I know that she herself stated that she wrote for the intelligent and discerning reader - again rather arrogant and condescending – but the duty of an author is to tell a story. If I want to do a puzzle, I’ll do a crossword. A disappointment, I’m afraid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, good books on Kindle, 7 Oct 2013
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Have been waiting for my favourite books to be kindle ready for a long time. Well worth the wait. Excellent read as ever.
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Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)
Five Red Herrings (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) by Dorothy L Sayers (Paperback - 1 Jun 1959)
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