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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) by…

Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) (original 1925; edition 1995)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Title:Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
Authors:Dorothy L. Sayers
Info:HarperTorch (1995), Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (1925)

Recently added bysuewrite, biblio-bot, private library, JohnChic, CarolynGivens, Claire008, BLBera, lizgloyn, wandaly
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  1. 30
    The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: Lord Peter Wimsey and Bertie Wooster are rather similar characters, and they both have loyal and competent valets. Peter, of course, solves mysteries, while Bertie is more of a comic figure.

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All the fun of a cozy mystery with some snarky digs at every stratum of pre-WWII British society. Not sure if it was meant to be a parody of Sherlock Holmes but that's the best way I can describe it. I'm looking forward to reading more about the dapper amateur detective Lord Wimsey and his adventures. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
I loved the first installment in the Lord Peter Whimsy series. I love his interactions with other characters and especially the way he works with his friend in Scotland Yard, Charles Parker. This wasn't the most interesting of Sayers books, mystery-wise, but it was still a good storyline. However, in my opinion, Lord Peter's mother--The Dowager Duchess--stole the show from him. She was quick-witted and warm-hearted and you could definitely see where Lord Peter gets his personality from.
( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
Summary: A body found in Thipps bathroom, a missing financier. Two cases that Lord Peter and his valet, Bunter, are called into simultaneously, apparently disparate, ultimately connected.

Imagine walking into your bathroom to discover a body in your tub with nothing on but a pair of pince-nez glasses. That is the unusual scenario that greets the retiring architect Thipps, who lives with his mother in a flat in Battersea. Thipps mother and Lord Peter's are friends and so he is called in to investigate in the very first of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Then the unimaginative police Inspector Suggs arrests both Mr.Thipps and their maid Gladys on suspicion of the murder.

Shortly thereafter, his friend Parker, a Scotland Yard man, drops by to discuss the case, which he became involved with because he thought the man might be missing Jewish financier, Reuben Levy. Apart from a superficial resemblance, he is not. As best as they can tell, he was a workman who died from a blow to the back of his neck, who had been shaved, barbered and manicured and given the glasses post-mortem, and placed in the tub after being let down from the roof through the bathroom window.

The two cases seem unconnected until it is learned Levy was inquiring of directions to a famed physician's residence late in the evening before the body was found in Thipps bathroom. An odd coincidence, and perhaps no more than that but one that will place both Parker and Lord Peter in peril, and awaken memories of Lord Peter's World War I battle experiences, an early example in literature of the description of what we would now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

While I did not feel the writing was quite as polished as later writings and that Lord Peter seems overly silly at times, the characters of Lord Peter and Bunter are already well-drawn, with the fascinating element of Lord Peter's war service, apparently dilettante life, and his simultaneous fascination and reluctance toward detective work. Bunter appears as the ever resourceful and somewhat independent-minded valet, the perfect companion to assist Lord Peter in his adventures. One of the most hilarious passages is Bunter's account of plying of the famous physician's, Lord Julian Freke's man with Wimsey's alcohol and cigars, very good alcohol and cigars at that. And there is a fascinating passage in which Wimsey questions a medical student about his activities a week before, that he swears he can't remember, and the systematic questions that lead to a detailed recollection of events.

A good read in its own right, Whose Body? also heralds the promise of the other "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, fourteen in all. If you've never discovered them and love mysteries, you should try them. And as a bonus, copyright has expired in the U.S. on Whose Body? and so it is available in at least two e-book versions on Amazon currently for $0.99 and for free on Feedbooks (in the U.S.). So if you like to start your mystery series at the beginning, here is an inexpensive way to explore the first of a series I've thoroughly enjoyed, even though set in pre-World War II England. ( )
  BobonBooks | May 29, 2016 |
Overall I enjoyed this first introduction to Lord Peter Wimsey. The plot and the investigation was uneven - and it was slow getting of the ground the first half - the murderer and his last confession although was a real payoff - chilling - brilliantly executed.

I liked the main characters. Rich and whimsical Wimsey and his “brothers in arms”, Mervyn Bunter, the ingenious manservant, and the theology-reading inspector Parker. Looks very promising. It was almost farcical at times the exchange between Wimsey and Bunter - reminding me of Wodehouse’s Jeevies and Wooster.

Also I liked the many literary references (Wimsey with his obsesion with old Dante folios) and his love for good food and wine - and Wimsey’s mother Honoria Delagardie also prove to be a wonderful eccentric character with an old school victorian approach to things.

Don’t you just want to visit Lord Peter Wimsey’s expensive flat in Piccadilly 110A (funny reference to Baker Street 220B):

“Lord Peter’s library was one of the most delightful bachelor rooms in London. Its scheme was black and primrose; its walls were lined with rare editions, and its chairs and Chesterfield sofa suggested the embraces of the houris. In one corner stood a black baby grand, a wood fire leaped on a wide old-fashioned hearth, and the Sèvres vases on the chimneypiece were filled with ruddy and gold chrysanthemums. To the eyes of the young man who was ushered in from the raw November fog it seemed not only rare and unattainable, but friendly and familiar, like a colorful and gilded paradise in a medieval painting”. ( )
2 vote ctpress | May 10, 2016 |
I finished Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers today. This is the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel published. It was very much an "introducing the characters" type of book. The story was first published in 1923 and the 1935 edition, which appears to be the one my 1973 edition is based on, includes a biography of Lord Peter which was supposedly written by Lord Peter's uncle, Paul Austin Delagardie, his mother's brother. I can see that this "biography" was added to support overarching plot lines and to provide back story that supports elements found in later Wimsey tales. Apparently the 1935 edition also incorporated some corrections from the author.

An enjoyable story with quotations from poems in the early chapters of the book that probably have allusions and meaning that I am not aware of, but that is more to do with my being a Philistine when it comes to all things poetry related more than any obscurity of the verses concerned.

The first volume of Sayers's translation of Dante's Inferno was published in 1949, some 26 years after "Whose Body?" However, in "Whose Body?", she demonstrates Lord Peter Wimsey's interest in books, or more correctly, his bibliophilia, by describing how keen he is to purchase a rare edition of Dante's Inferno at an auction for a significant sum of money. I suspect all Sayers's references to rare books in "Whose Body?" are accurate and will stand up to investigation. Rare books would have been something she would have been knowledgeable about and it is interesting to see her inserting some of her personal interests into the novel.

It is an interesting first novel and it is interesting to see how the characters are being introduced and described. It will be interesting to see their development as I read more of the Wimsey books.

The first Bertie Wooster/Jeeves story by P.G. Wodehouse was published in 1915. Sayers was obviously familiar with the character and it would appear she modelled Lord Peter on Bertie but added sufficient intelligence to give her character more gravitas and wisdom while still having flights of whimsy, if you excuse the near-pun. While reading "Whose Body?" it was hard not to hear Lord Peter's words in the voice of Hugh Laurie's depiction of Bertie Wooster in the BBC TV series.

Bunter, Lord Peter's "Man", appears to be as wise and reliable as Jeeves but much more sombre and serious. ( )
  pgmcc | May 6, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayers, Dorothy L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berg, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bleck, CathieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Case, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffini, Grazia MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kendall, RoeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michal,MarieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, EdwardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To M. J. Dear Jim: This book is your fault. If it had not been for your brutal insistence, Lord Peter would never have staggered through to the end of the enquiry. Pray consider that he thanks you with his accustomed suavity. Yours ever, D. L. S.
First words
'Oh damn!' said Lord Peter Wimsey at Piccadilly Circus.
"Look here, Peter," said the other [Parker] with some earnestness, "Suppose you get this playing-fields-of-Eton complex out of your system once and for all. There doesn't seem to be much doubt that something unpleasant has happened to Sir Reuben Levy. Call it murder, to strengthen the argument. If Sir Reuben has been murdered, is it a game? and is it fair to treat it as a game?"
"That is what I'm ashamed of, really," said Lord Peter. "It IS a game to me, to begin with, and I go on cheerfully, and then I suddenly see that somebody is going to be hurt, and I want to get out of it." (Chapter VII, Leipzig: The Albatross 1938, p. 176)
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Book description
Lord Peter's erster Fall: Der biedere Mr. Thipps, dem man sicher kein Unrecht tut, wenn man ihn einen Spießer nennt, überrascht eines unschönen Morgens in seiner Badewanne einen sehr toten und sehr unbekleideten Mann. Mr. Thipps beteuert, mit der Sache nicht das geringste zu tun zu haben. Doch hat man nicht schon oft in stillen Wassern Abgründiges entdeckt.

Cover description (1938): This is a Lord Peter Wimsey story. Need we say more? For Lord Peter Wimsey is one of the most attractive detectives of fiction. Nor is it necessary to say (since Dorothy L. Sayers is the author) that while you will enjoy this book as a detective story, you will enjoy it equally for its delightful touches of humour, its clever characterization and attractive style.  
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043575, Mass Market Paperback)

The stark naked body was lying in the tub.Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially witha pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Lord Peter Wimsey encounters his first murder case when the body of a prominent financier is discovered in a bathtub, and Wimsey finds clues in the body's post-murder facial shave and a pair of gold pince-nez.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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