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The Documents in the Case by Dorothy L…
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The Documents in the Case (original 1930; edition 2016)

by Dorothy L Sayers (Author)

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1,262249,041 (3.64)55
Member:pgmcc
Title:The Documents in the Case
Authors:Dorothy L Sayers (Author)
Info:Hodder Paperbacks (2016), 272 pages
Collections:Read
Rating:***
Tags:2017Aug, Murder Mystery

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The Documents in the Case by Dorothy L. Sayers (1930)

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English (22)  Danish (2)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Letters reveal the uneasy relationship between a painter, a novelist and the middle class couple with whom they lodge. Mr. Harrison is a fan of traditional foods such as mushrooms and hedgehogs. An expert in the topic he nonetheless dies of mushroom poisoning. Is is an accident or is his son correct in harboring suspicions? ( )
  ritaer | May 25, 2018 |
No Peter Wimsey this time. A narrative told by means of letters and witness statements, describing the relationships between the Harrisons and the artist and writer who move in above them. Mr Harrison eventually dies an horrific death from mushroom poisoning and the dossier is put together by his son in an attempt to persuade the Crown to prosecute the person he believes was responsible.

While it had its moments: the letters by Mrs Harrison and her companion are good, and I liked the way the common man was held consistently to view the artistic community with suspicion. However, I found the structure messy and the pace uneven. There were long passages musing the meaning of life and science versus religion etc which I skipped over. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 5, 2015 |
My sister-in-law thought that I might get a kick out of this one, given that it's an epistolary murder mystery set in England that uses science. She was right on all counts.

The epistolary format sometimes demands a little more from the reader, but it lends itself particularly well to this story. The novel opens with a man sending a series of documents to a nobleman and asking for his impressions of the "case." The reader is then led through the story based on letters, reports, and other documents reflecting multiple perspectives.

Readers will guess the identity of the murderer well before the end of the book, but the trick is in how it can be proved to the police. I won't spoil the method or how it comes to be used--suffice it to say it's both clever and accurate.

It had been a long time since I had read a good English mystery. Why is that, again? ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Yet another book confirming my very high opinion of Dorothy Sayers. This is her take on an epistolary novel, although it's not composed of letters only. As the title suggests, the novel consists of a range of documents which together form a prosecution brief. As is so often the case with Sayers, the mystery is only a part of what the book is about. While there is a mystery, the point of it is the "how" rather than the "who". The novel is also a dissertation on creation and the origin of life. I will freely admit that the science largely went over my head, but it actually didn't matter. I understood enough to be impressed. And then there was the wit, the passion and that fierce intelligence which characterises Sayers. In short, I loved it. ( )
1 vote KimMR | Apr 2, 2013 |
This was really neat. It's an epistolary novel, mostly - it's presented as a collection of letters and documents related to a murder, although there are several long "statements" in unabashedly narrative form from two of the characters. From the beginning you know who will die, but it quickly becomes obvious that there are many people with a variety of reasons to kill him.

The pacing is a bit slow for my tastes - I could have done with about half as many letters from the batty housekeeper or the ditzy wife. The scientific interludes also grind on a bit. But the actual mechanism of proof is terribly neat, and the central characters were believable enough that there was some genuine tension. Worth the read for the structure alone, I think, and a solid mystery overall. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy L. Sayersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eustace, Robertmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Crowley, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffini, Grazia Mariasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My dear Olive,
Thank you very much for your letter and kind inquiries after my health.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043605, Mass Market Paperback)

The grotesquely grinning corpse in the Devonshire shack was a man who died horribly -- with a dish of mushrooms at his side.His body contained enough death-dealing muscarine to kill 30 people. Why would an expert on fungi feast on a large quantity of this particularly poisonous species. A clue to the brilliant murderer, who had baffled the best minds in London, was hidden in a series of letters and documents that no one seemed to care about, except the dead man's son.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:10 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The grotesquely grinning corpse in the Devonshire shack was a man who died horribly -- with a dish of mushrooms at his side.His body contained enough death-dealing muscarine to kill 30 people. Why would an expert on fungi feast on a large quantity of this particularly poisonous species. A clue to the brilliant murderer, who had baffled the best minds in London, was hidden in a series of letters and documents that no one seemed to care about, except the dead man's son.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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