- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Impression edition (1 Nov. 1962)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0450001806
- ISBN-13: 978-0450001802
- Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.2 x 18.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Clouds of Witness: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 2 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) Paperback – 1 Nov 1962
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She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit. (P. D. James)
D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers. (E. C. Bentley Daily Telegraph)
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)
The classic British detective series featuring amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Lord Peter is as dashing and sexy as ever, in his urbane and cultured way, ever capable of new exploits. Bunter, the faithful and patient manservant, does much of the donkey-work, particularly when it comes to chatting up the female household staff. Evidently, he has his own brand of devastating charm.
Peter goes on holiday to Corsica. Returning to Paris, he learns that Captain Cathcart, his sister's fiancé, has been shot dead. Gerald, Duke of Denver, has been arrested for the murder. Cathcart was killed by a bullet from Denver's revolver, apparently outside the family shooting lodge. Denver says he was out for a walk when it happened and admits that he had quarrelled with Cathcart that night. Mary found Gerald kneeling over Cathcart's body.
Inspector Charles Parker is assigned to the case. He and Wimsey, who are good friends, find clues, including a lucky charm, near the crime scene. They also realise that Gerald and Mary are hiding something and Mary is pretending to be ill, avoiding talking to anyone.
Peter unearths hidden facts, but they lead nowhere - various secret lovers, a planned elopement, a murderous farmer. It seems that the family is seething with secrets.Read more ›
Peter is on vacation when he finds out that his brother, The Duke of Denver (informally "Gerald"), is on trial for murder -- he had a blowup with his sister Mary's fiancee, Denis Cathcart, upon learning that Cathcart was a former cardsharper. The next morning, Cathcart was found shot through the heart by Gerald's gun, with Gerald bending over the body. The Duke stubbornly refuses to explain why he was out in the rain at three in the morning.
Peter is determined to solve the case, and quickly finds plenty of clues and odd little details, including the fact that Mary keeps lying -- and changing her lies. There are too many clues, and not enough logical motives. Now to save his brother, Peter must unravel plenty of lies and red herrings, and discover who wanted to do away with Denis Cathcart -- and why.
"Clouds of Witness" is an excellent whodunnit, with lots of quirky characters and a very twisty murder mystery -- in fact, it's not even clear whether it's even a murder. And Sayers seemed to be more at ease in this mystery, since it unfolds in a more gradual manner, as if she were more sure of herself than in "Whose Body."
If there's a flaw, it's that her writing can be slightly uneven -- we get lots of descriptions of Mary, but I still have no idea what Bunter looks like. But Sayers can craft a spectacular plot, with lots of red herrings and odd twists, especially since most of the people involved are telling lies, usually about romantic affairs.Read more ›
The other reviewers provide a useful synopsis of the book, so I won't bother with a repeat exercise. Suffice it to say that this one is a delight. The dialogues are quirky and at times a little melodramatic, the story unfolds in a reassuringly unformulaic manner, and Wimsey maneuvers his way through his investigation with typical eccentricity. And throughout, Sayers' observations about society are full of wit - her descriptions of the procedures within the House of Lords are just a joy.
A few of the characters could do with a little more fleshing out - Bunter is 'there', but not a particularly defined presence. One is never quite sure of the character of Wimsey's brother - but then he is off-stage for a great part of the narrative. It's hardly a fast-paced storyline, but then it seems to be written for those of us who like to chew over our literature slowly, and relish the ingredients.
A throwback to an age when language, thought and character were prized, reminding us of how much we have lost from our culture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Others may like Lord Peter Wimsey but I don't really do. Both the plot and the happenings seems rather farfetched to me. If I could give 2. Read morePublished 2 months ago by broad spectrum music lover
A bit long with a lot of unecessary detail. Lord Peter is meant to be this amazingly gifted man with incredible qualities in so many different areas, but in this book I found him... Read morePublished 2 months ago by D Raymond
I bought this as I remembered enjoying reading Lord Peter Wimsey stories in my youth. Just loved the language and description of 1920s class society. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kindle Customer