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on 7 August 2017
considering its age, this text is remarkably topical, fun, poignant and amusing, full of charming bits of satire, rattling along at a good pace...my favorite sayers is gaudy night, but this is close behind...good plot, great pacing, good characters, well written....recommended!
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on 28 March 2015
I first read the book years ago. It was just as I remembered it, a great read by a master author of the golden age.
People alway go on about Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers seems to be forgotten.
If you love Christie, give Sayers a try, and your being doing yourself a favour.
She spins some twisting and turning plots that keep you guessing.
Would totally recommend.
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on 22 March 2017
How I enjoyed reading this book the only sadness I have finished it if you read my review just read the book
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on 19 August 2017
Very good read. Another to keep to read again in the future.
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on 7 March 2017
Old favourite,simply the best in my opinion.
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on 14 July 2015
Love D L Sayers - AND Milord Peter -
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on 4 May 2017
Loved it
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on 24 December 2010
This is the story of an amateur detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, who sets out to prove the innocence of his elder brother, who has been charged with the murder of a Captain Cathcart, who happens to be the fiancé of their sister, Lady Mary.

The novel is a story set amongst the English upper-classes at a time when, if Dorothy Sayers is to believed, cheating at cards was thought to be worse than murder (and murder and adultery were equally serious transgressions) and where a Lord would rather face the gallows than sully the honour of a woman or bring scandal upon the family name. I suspect that the portrayal of that society was a caricature, even in 1926, when the book was originally published.

All of this lends a slight unreality to the proceedings, and Peter Wimsey is not a detective of the same calibre as, say, Sherlock Homes; for example his discovery of a vital clue (a letter stuffed into a rattling window) is serendipitous. Some of the characters are straight out of central casting, Wimsey's man Bunter is the equivalent of Jeeves, and the Dowager Duchess is a marginally more forbearing version of Lady Bracknell from the Importance of Being Earnest.

All of that said, this is an enjoyable read. The story moves at a good pace, there is action and comedy (the Dowager Duchess is particularly good value), and Sayers' use of dialogue to bring out character and move along the plot is skilled. There are some serious moments also (after all a death has occurred) and World War I, which was not long over, casts a show over the characters. If you are looking for a classic whodunit along the lines of, say, Agatha Christie, I would give this a miss. However, if you enjoy well written, tongue in cheek detective stories that give an insight into a very different social milieu (albeit that insight may be through a distorting lens that says more about how that society was perceived than about how it actually was) this is well worth a visit.
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Clouds of Witness is the second Lord Peter Wimsey novel, published in 1926. The particular fun of this book is that it introduces the rest of the family in all their honourable, stubborn, eccentric, delightful glory - Gerald, Duke of Denver, Lady Mary, their sister, and the wonderful Dowager Duchess, their mother, with her charming, nonsensical, deeply wise sayings. Dorothy Sayers is witty and incisive and we are invited to chuckle, sympathise with and be exasperated by these characters. The story places Wimsey in his home territory and social setting, where we understand him in a new way.
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. Peter makes the very new and dangerous flight across the Atlantic, finally to discover and reveal the truth. But will he be in time to save Gerald?
Sayers was getting into her stride in her second novel and, although they got even better as the series developed, this one is fun, entertaining and intelligent.
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on 4 March 2017
I, like many people, consider Sayers crime novels to be amongst the best of the inter-war years. So I was pleased to find this one, which I didn't know. Perhaps it was a very early one, being set in the autumn of 1923. In any event, it was outright poor. Incredible story (e.g. an impromptu transatlantic flight only 4 years after Alcock and Brown and 4 years or so before Lindbergh). Dreadful characterisation. Hopeless Good Old England tone. Interesting, perhaps, to see how far her skill developed. But I'd look for others in the series.
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