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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and multi-levelled read
When Alfred Thipps finds a naked male corpse in his bath at the same time as rich financier Sir Reuben Levy goes missing, the police see a connection. Thipps and his maid are arrested on suspicion of murder and the only person they can turn to is Lord Peter Wimsey, ably supported by Bunter. What unfurls is a carefully constructed mystery revolving around identity with...
Published on 19 Dec 2009 by I Read, Therefore I Blog

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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best to meet Peter Wimsey elsewhere before you read this one
This was the first of Dorothy L. Sayers' detective novels, but 70-odd years after publication it's not the best introduction to Sayers or to her most successful hero, Lord Peter Wimsey. If that's what you're looking for, try Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, or one of the books that include Harriet Vane (my personal favourite is Gaudy Night).
"Whose...
Published on 10 Nov 2000


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and multi-levelled read, 19 Dec 2009
When Alfred Thipps finds a naked male corpse in his bath at the same time as rich financier Sir Reuben Levy goes missing, the police see a connection. Thipps and his maid are arrested on suspicion of murder and the only person they can turn to is Lord Peter Wimsey, ably supported by Bunter. What unfurls is a carefully constructed mystery revolving around identity with Wimsey finding himself battling a chilling adversary who is completely untroubled by conscience.

My understanding is that this was the first Wimsey novel but even so, all the elements that make Sayers great are already here: the characterisations, the cosy sense of place and time and a story that keeps you guessing. That said, this is a novel that's a product of its time with the result that a couple of instances of anti-Semitism may disquiet modern readers and certainly made me wince.

Wimsey is a complicated character and Sayers' draws out the aftershocks from his breakdown during World War I. A scene where he essentially relapses is desperately sad and touching, as is Bunter's reaction to the same. My favourite aspect of these books is the devotion that the two men show to each other and Bunter really shines in this story with the way he takes responsibility for his master's well-being. Equally interesting though is the way Sayers draws a distinction between Wimsey - a man conflicted by the fact that his investigations will lead to death - and the murderer, who has deliberately excised their conscience and can operate untroubled by the consequences of their actions.

As a result, this is a novel that can be read on two levels - each equally entertaining and successful at holding the attention.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best to meet Peter Wimsey elsewhere before you read this one, 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This was the first of Dorothy L. Sayers' detective novels, but 70-odd years after publication it's not the best introduction to Sayers or to her most successful hero, Lord Peter Wimsey. If that's what you're looking for, try Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, or one of the books that include Harriet Vane (my personal favourite is Gaudy Night).
"Whose Body" is something of an apprentice work. Lord Peter is here more a bundle of characteristics than a character: a collector of rare books and incunabula, facile with quotations, fluent in French and probably in Latin, a skillful and sensitive pianist who never needs to practise, slightly built but possessed of "curious" strength and speed which he maintains without exercise. Over subsequent books, this caricature smooths and deepens into one of the most interesting and attractive detectives in fiction.
In spite of its awkwardness, Whose Body is worth reading. The plot is clever, the villain is believable and sadistic, and most of the supporting characters are a delight. Some of these characters are further developed in later novels: Bunter, Parker, the Dowager Duchess, Freddy Arbuthnot. Others fortunately are not. Sayers is much better with people she might recognise as "like us" then with people from other social groups.
Sayers developed into a powerful writer of fiction whose technique was imperceptible. Here she has less mastery of technique, so that the scenes that work have disproportionate impact. The encounter between the Dowager Duchess of Denver and the American millionaire Milligan is a tiny classic.
In summary, interesting and entertaining for existing fans, but a hurdle for newcomers to the world of Wimsey.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whose Body?, 21 May 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
In this first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery we are introduced to our amateur detective, his friends and family. Living in a sumptuous apartment in Piccadilly, aided by his manservant Bunter, Wimsey is a collector of books with a hobby of criminal investigation. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver is supportive of this interest and telephones him one morning to inform him that the architect working on the church roof was most upset, as he found a dead body in his bath. As a body is found, another seems to have gone missing - that of Sir Reuben Levy. Quickly discovering that the body in the bath is not that of Sir Levy, Wimsey sets out to solve the mystery with his friend, Parker, an able member of Scotland Yard.

This is an enjoyable introduction to the delights of Lord Peter and his world. Although it is certainly not the best Wimsey novel, it has a competent plot and is a good beginning to an enchanting series. Although modern crime writers are often scathing of the gentleman, or amateur, detective, this is pure entertainment. Of course, now there is no possible way an amateur could visit crime scenes or interview witnesses with impunity; however suspend all belief and simply enjoy the puzzle and the characters. If you enjoy Agatha Christie or other Golden Age detective novels, then you will love this.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic British crime, 28 Nov 2010
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bookwormsu "thrifty" (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey) Women are good at writing crime. I wonder why? . This is the only one of Sayers that is cheap on Kindle, the others are the new price. Publishers must be having a revolution with this Kindle business. I bought this because I dont possess a hardback, it's one of the few I haven't got. I read Sayers as a teenager and she is worth a permanent place on my shelves. This is OK, the formatting is indents, that is like writing used to be about 1960 and on a bit. In those years we indented a paragraph by five spaces. So it looks a bit funny to our eyes, now, where everything is flush with the left hand margins. Good though, well worth the money. P S Have found at least one American spelling also also, worse "sea-green incorruptible" transcribed as "pea-green". tut tut. But still FIVE STARS.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the start of something great, 19 Nov 2012
By 
Su (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Lord Peter De'Ath Bredon Wimsey is the second born son of the, now deceased, 15th Duke of Denver. A highly intelligent person of privilege he was Oxford educated (where he received a First) he is also a veteran of the horrors of the trenches of WW1.

As a result of his service the ex-Major suffered from boughts of shell shock (now called PTSD). During these times his man-servant, and former sergeant, Bunter looks after him.

Lord Peter was a man of what should have been changed times; he did not see Bunter as a servant but rather a friend. In one of the books Lord Peter is a guest of another person and that person invites Bunter to sit and eat a meal with them. Bunter politely refuses and Lord Peter comments that "Bunter likes me to know my place".

It is these relationships which make the characters both accessible and likeable.

.
Published in 1923 "Whose Body?" was the first published case of Lord Peter Wimsey, though not necessarily the characters first case - it is mentioned that Lord Peter investigated the loss of and instigated the recovery of The Attenbury Emeralds - this story has been written by Jill Paton Walsh and was published in 2010.

Lord Peter is asked by his mother, the Dowager Duchess, to investigate the disappearance of her friend's husband; meanwhile the local plod, in the shape of Wimsey's friend Charles Parker, is looking into the murder of a man found in a bathtub. Each man reaches a sticking point in their own investigations and so they decide to swap cases bringing fresh eyes and perspective on to the enquiries.

The reasoning for the crime is explained in a letter given to Wimsey and read at the end of the book. It is, of course, a variation on the bad guys monologue, and goes some way to filling in what would have been massive holes in the story.

This is Wimsey's first case, and DL Sayers first story, and at times it can struggle: characters are fleshed out in the following books, stories are better written and conclusions don't need the guilty party to explain why, and so on. Yet this is an important book in the series, not just for the fact it is the first but for the establishment of the most basic relationships.

It may not be of the standard of her later stories but it is a story which I have always thoroughly enjoyed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage mystery, a classic, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Nothing beats good English written well, fast becoming a rarity. Miss Sayers' mysteries are aristocrats of the genre. They are clever, and reflect, as well as describe the period, which is an added bonus. Lord Peter is a wonderful hero, and in this novel I found the buildup of interconnections to be very well contrived, as well as the clues to the solving of these, leading to the solution of two mysteries. The dowager duchess is a wonderful character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reads pretty well to me, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This may be, as another reviewer has said, an 'apprentice piece' but it's still a better book than some crime writers ever achieve. It's true that Lord Peter comes across as a little bit of a caricature compared with later works, but it was necessary to establish, in quite a short novel, at least the basics of his character and background, plus craft a decent mystery. Not an easy task. One might have hoped for a bit more suspense, but the detectin' is all there, and is satisfyingly plausible. As for the lack of the abstruse classical references that pepper her later work -- maybe that is not such a grievous loss! If I'd come to 'Whose Body' first instead of reading Sayers' entire crime oeuvre before trying it, I'm sure I should certainly have wanted to read more. In fact, I rather regret that it wasn't my introduction to this thoroughly engaging sleuth.

One small criticism. The little potted biography of Peter Wimsey that appears at the end of the book refers to almost the entire series and is, in places, a little bit of a 'spoiler.' If you plan to read more of them, I'd recommend avoiding it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whose Body Indeed, 19 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is the first Dorothy L Sayers book I have read and once I got into it and the character of Lord Peter enjoyed it immensely. So much so I have since bought others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising period detail, 16 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is the first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, and the first Dorothy L Sayers book I have read. The hero is much more than a crime-solving Bertie Wooster; he is highly educated with a back story involving the First World War, the lasting effect of which is described in a way that feels surprisingly contemporary, given that the book was written in 1925. He is also a fully fleshed-out character with the baggage of a family. For a book of the era, it was also unexpected to see passing reference to street prostitution. Furthermore, the procedural examinations of the murder victim and scenes were more advanced than we might have expected at that time. Well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I like it very much (maybe 4.5 rather than 5!). It is different, Wimsey is so different from Agatha Christie type sleuths in his methodology and actions. A long time since I have read any Sayers, so that probably influenced me too.
A very good read - and no, I hadn't worked it out!
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