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Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey…

Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (original 1927; edition 1995)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Title:Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
Authors:Dorothy L. Sayers
Info:HarperTorch (1995), Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Books Read 2012
Tags:fiction, crime, mystery, british

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Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (1927)



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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Unnatural Death the novel hadn't stayed in my memory, but this was an enjoyable adaptation. Inspector Parker is certain there was nothing to it with the young doctor whose career suffered a setback when he suspected a patient was murdered, but no evidence was found during the autopsy and screening. Lord Peter is certain it was murder. ( )
  JalenV | Mar 1, 2016 |
Enjoy these books very much, she is such a great writer. I was a bit turned off by some of the racial language from a couple of the characters in this one, but one has to remember to read the book in the time it was written. Also, I don't believe that this was the views of the author herself, just the character's. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 25, 2016 |
Unnatural Death opens with a bystander overhearing a dinner conversation between Lord Peter and his best friend and colleague (besides Bunter, that is), Charles Parker, an Inspector at Scotland Yard. The bystander is a doctor who had public doubts about an apparent natural death due to cancer that defied his predicted survival timeframe. He paid a high social cost for expressing his concern and wanted to move on. Lord Peter took his doubts seriously enough to figure out the name and location of the decedent and embark on an investigation. This is the book where Charles is introduced to Miss Climpson, Lord Peter's premier confidential agent, hilariously misunderstood to be a love interest in a discreet love nest. Peter sends Miss Climpson to the village to dig up gossip and observe the local characters involved. And Bunter plays a role at appropriate moments, as does Mr. Murbles, Lord Peter’s solicitor. Charles Parker doesn't believe there's anything to investigate for the first half of the story, until additional people associated with the case die of apparent natural causes and a motive is finally uncovered. By the end, there were 3 murders, 3 attempted murders, and 1 suicide, all starting with an old woman supposedly dying of metastatic cancer in the hospice care of the day. The visual aid of a genealogical table at the end helps put the motive in perspective. I think it might be the highest body count of any of the Lord Peter mysteries, and certainly one of the most violent near misses. . The murderer is unrepentant and fighting to the end. This book was very much a contemplation on gender norms and roles and implicit lesbian relationships, as well as Lord Peter questioning whether his activities cause more harm than good ( )
  justchris | Jan 18, 2016 |
probably my least favorite Wimsey. The point of inheritance law involved is interesting --worthy of Cyril Hare or Michael Gilbert, but I have seen the murder method criticized as unreliable, and the ending is depressingly grim. ( )
  antiquary | Jan 4, 2016 |
While dining out one day, Lord Peter Wimsey and his friend Inspector Parker are discussing so-called accidental deaths that might actually be murders. A young doctor overhears them and joins their conversation. He shares the story of a former patient, an elderly woman with cancer who died rather suddenly. She was terminally ill, and no signs of foul play were found on the body, so everyone believed her death was natural; but the doctor was nevertheless suspicious because she had seemed to be improving lately. The woman's great-niece and presumed heiress was living with her at the time, so she had opportunity, but her motive was questionable because the old lady would die soon enough from natural causes. Lord Peter is intrigued by the case and decides to investigate. He employs Miss Climpson, a chatty but intelligent spinster, to temporarily relocate to the dead woman's village and do some discreet investigating. Meanwhile, he and Parker search for other suspects, motives, and possible methods of the murder.

After rediscovering Dorothy Sayers earlier this year, I've embarked on a project to read all her Lord Peter Wimsey books in publication order. This is book #3 in the series, but if I recall correctly, it can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I feel like it's a very unusual detective story. Despite a high body count, it doesn't feel very action-packed or plot-driven. The main mystery is not whodunnit, but why and how. One of the biggest clues to the motive is a tiny change in an obscure property statute. Nevertheless, I found the mystery compelling and was eager to solve the complete puzzle of how and why the murder took place. Also, Miss Climpson is delightful; this is her first appearance in the series, but I believe she'll be a recurring character in future books. She reminds me somewhat of a Jane Austen character -- one of the good-hearted chatterboxes, like a more intelligent Miss Bates. I wasn't completely on board with the characterization of the villain, whose psychology didn't ring true for me. I doubt this will be my favorite Sayers mystery, but I did enjoy it and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
1 vote christina_reads | Oct 28, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayers, Dorothy L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bleck, CathieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffini, Grazia MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michal, MarieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Relander, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
‘No sign of foul play,’ says Dr Carr after the post-mortem on Agatha Dawson. The case is closed. But Lord Peter Wimsey is not satisfied . . .

With no clues to work on, he begins his own investigation. No clues, that is, until the sudden, senseless murder of Agatha’s maid. What is going on in the mysterious Mrs Forrest’s Mayfair flat? And can Wimsey catch a desperate murderer before he himself becomes one of the victims?
Contains the famous biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043583, Mass Market Paperback)

The wealthy old woman was dead -- a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour  -- staged by the debonair sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

"Here the modern detective story begins to come to its own; and all the historical importance aside, it remains an absorbing and charming story today."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The wealthy old woman was dead-a trifle sooner than expected. the intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable london flat and a deliberate test of amour-staged by the debonair sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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