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Whose Body?: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 1 (Lord Peter Wimsey Series) by [Sayers, Dorothy L]
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Whose Body?: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 1 (Lord Peter Wimsey Series) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Review

She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit. (P. D. James)

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)

She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit. (P. D. James)

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‘I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail.’ - Ruth Rendell

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; New Impression edition (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003LPV5CI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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