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Unnatural Death (1927)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey (3)

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2,925753,968 (3.84)265
This full-cast dramatization is adapted by Chris Miller and produced by Simon Brett. The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest--even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder--of Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?… (more)
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» See also 265 mentions

English (70)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Uh, no. If I never meet Lord Peter Wimsey again, that will be too soon. As detectives go, he is mostly aggravating, the plot was fairly predictable (I worked out the main “mystery” very early on), and the offensive language regarding a black character just added one more thing to object to.

( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
(34) The third in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. In this one, Lord Peter and Inspector Parker have a chance encounter with a doctor who has been run out of town for suggesting that his patient's death was suspicious. He requested an autopsy which showed no signs of foul play. The great niece, Miss Whitaker, then inherits all the money. Was this a crime? And if so, how will Peter and Parker prove it?

It is interesting to read about racism so blatant and accepted. I don't know exactly when the book was written but the action is in 1920's England by a woman writer. The attitudes displayed were racist and sexist with the assumption that all probably felt similar. It was implied that the criminal was a lesbian and traits were described as mannish, etc. Sayers puts these words in the mouths of our characters without much in the way of rebuttal. The English public is horrified at the thought of a English girl kidnapped by a 'colored immigrant' and worse language. Realistic; because these are all real and accepted attitudes of the time. It's unclear whether the author herself could have escaped these ubiquitous prejudices. Sayers and Rendell both share some of the same ambivalence regarding the portrayal of women in their novels despite their superior talent and knowledge and skill as writers. At least there is a female sleuth in this one, Ms Climpson - but sad she is a busybody 'spinster.'

Anyway, the fascinating social commentary was more exciting than the mystery. I did not guess the relationship between Whitaker and Forrest. I guessed the manner of death right as Peter was having his own 'Aha!' moment. This was on par with the others in the series and very similar to Rendell's Wexford. These are good reads for vacation, planes, airports, etc which is mainly where I read them. I will keep reading for now - at least until I get to some of the best known ones in the series, i.e. 'The Nine Tailors.' ( )
  jhowell | Jul 4, 2022 |
Re-reading these as audio -- the narrator is exceedingly plummy, which works very well. I agree with the other reviewers -- the story's great, it's too bad that it is such a product of its times -- though I loved that despite the racism evident in the book, Cousin Hallelujah was very much the injured person and acknowledged as such by Whimsy and Parker. Wish he'd come through it with even more gain. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Lord Peter Wimsey and his friend, Chief Inspector Parker, are out dining when they meet a man with a tale of an elderly woman, Miss Dawson, who is suffering from cancer and who suddenly dies. It has some suspicious aspects to it but there is no notice about them, so the cause of death is the cancer.

Wimsey thinks there are some possibilities of non-natural death so sends his own private investigator, Miss Katherine Climpson, to investigate.

The woman is being cared for by her great-niece and a nurse. The grand-niece stands to inherit all. Some of her actions prior to her great-aunt’s death make Wimsey suspicious that the death of Miss Dawson was not due to her illness.

More instances are brought to light about the possibility of Miss Dawson’s premature death. Wimsey finds a reason for the possible early death which is a new ruling on inheritance. Besides the ruling, there turns out to be other family branches that have a possible shot at inheriting.

It was a bit confusing in parts, due to the different branches of the family tree and their possible claims. Luckily there was a drawn family tree for reference in the back of the book.

In classic style, Sayers brings all the threads together and the real murderer to recognition. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Mar 28, 2022 |
This is my introduction to Lord Peter Wimsey, who carries his name well: whimsical, clever, almost elfish, he is a dare-devil with smarts whereas his counterpart, Detective-Inspector Parker has more braun. I enjoyed the dynamic between the two.
Aspects of the book have aged poorly but it is an interesting insight into how racialised and LGBTQ communities were viewed back then (in a more progressive light than I would have overall expected).
Overall a nice, fun, light read ( )
  Cecilturtle | Nov 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 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
Crowley, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damkoehler, KatrinaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffini, Grazia MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michal, MarieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Relander, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to learn.
-- MERCHANT OF VENICE
Dedication
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"But if he thought the woman was being murdered—"
[Biographical Note] I am asked by Miss Sayers to fill up certain lacunae and correct a few trifling errors of fact in her account of my nephew Peter's career.
[Afterword] The year 1920 is the generally accepted dawn of the Golden Age of detective fiction.
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This full-cast dramatization is adapted by Chris Miller and produced by Simon Brett. The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest--even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder--of Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?

No library descriptions found.

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.
Haiku summary
Lone old lady dies,
What did little maids witness?
Wimsey untangles!
(Porua)

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