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The Best of Dorothy Sayers' Early Work,
This review is from: Clouds of Witness (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
In some respects Dorothy Sayers is a problematic author, and early in her career she struggled with what can only be called a tendency toward incessant clutter: a wordy style, an often awkwardly expressed fascination with the mechanics of timetables, and constant reference to erudite academia that frequently verged on the downright obscure. But with CLOUDS OF WITNESS she found a very neat balance--and the result is not only the first clear sounding of Sayers' literary voice, it is also simply the best of her early works.
In this particular story, death unexpectedly arrives in the very bosom of the Wimsey family: the Duke has taken a rural manor for the hunting season, and when his sister's fiance is found shot to death in the small hours of the morning he is himself accused. Curiously, he declines to offer any sort of alibi--but fortunately there is a sleuth in the family: Lord Peter Wimsey, who arrives post-haste to sort the matter out.
While the novel's conclusion may frustrate many readers, this is a fast, fun read with engaging characters and an emerging and very sophisticated literary style--the style on which Sayers would ultimately establish such later and landmark works as MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, GAUDY NIGHT, and BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON. Established fans will likely enjoy it more than first-timers, but if you've not yet encountered Sayers don't let that stop you: it's an elegant work. Recommended.