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The Nine Tailors

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey (11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1211072,433 (4.06)2 / 470
While ringing in the New Year, Lord Peter stumbles into an ominous country mystery Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant Bunter are halfway across the wild flatlands of East Anglia when they make a wrong turn, straight into a ditch. They scramble over the rough country to the nearest church, where they find hospitality, dinner, and an invitation to go bell-ringing. This ancient art is steeped in mathematical complexities, and tonight the rector and his friends plan to embark on a nine-hour marathon session to welcome the New Year. Lord Peter joins them, taking a step into a society whose cheerful exterior hides a dark, deadly past. During their stay in this unfamiliar countryside, Lord Peter and Bunter encounter murder, a mutilated corpse, and a decades-old jewel theft for which locals continue to die. In this land where bells toll for the dead, the ancient chimes never seem to stop. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.… (more)
Recently added byJFBCore, Bokvarginna, JFB87, private library, Tissue5, JoeB1934
Legacy LibrariesM. R. James, Edward Estlin Cummings
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English (105)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
When a disfigured corpse is discovered in a country parish, the local rector pleads with Lord Peter to take on what will become one of his most brilliant and complicated cases.

Wimsey gets stuck in a small village over New Year when his car breaks down, and becomes involved in bell ringing the New Year in. Whilst he's waiting for his car to be fixed, he hears the story of some emeralds being stolen and the devastating effect it has had on some of the local families.

Months later, an extra body is unexpectedly found in a grave, face bashed in, hands cut off and a cause of death undetermined, Wimsey is called back to help find out what happened.

What happens next is a story of imposters, double crosses, bigamy, murder, theft, ciphers and bell ringing. Sometimes the information presented is a little too much, which did make my eyes glaze over occasionally, and is perhaps why it took me so long to finish - I should have been able to finish this much faster than I did. Not my favourite of the Wimsey stories, and this would not stand up (on it's own) against an agatha Christie ( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
Read it and loved it a long time ago. Reread as audio and enjoyed it very much and realized again what a wild and meta kind of writing is going on — change ringing math throughout, including in the arrangement of the chapters and parts. Peculiarly British, and fascinating. I also love it when murder mysteries acknowledge the real sorrow and pain that investigations bring up, and this one has that melancholy habit. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This was one of the few remaining Whimsey books I had left to read; not being English by birth, and ignorant of the art behind bell ringing, I'd naturally thought this was a mystery about tailors; you know, those that produce clothing. I was set straight a few of years ago, and became determined to read it, because a mystery about bell ringing sounded a LOT more interesting.

Nine Tailors was both what I did and didn't expect. From what I'd picked up about bell ringing by osmosis, I knew it was going to be one of the more esoteric mysteries, so I was going to have to depend a lot on context, or spend a lot of time googling. But I didn't expect the almost thriller-ish pacing towards the end, especially as the rest of the book was almost languid in it's exploration of the murder of the stranger in the tower.

In a genre where Cabot Cover Syndrome abounds, with a dozen murders in a small town/village occurring within months is the norm, it's refreshing to pick up a golden age mystery where – time passes –. Indeed, it's 6 months or so before the readers are given a partial solution, and it's almost a year to the day before the true nature of the killing is understood.

If the esoteric nature of the plot aren't a barrier for the mystery lover, there's an outstanding mystery to be had. Several classic elements are here: coded messages, riddles, cold crimes, treasure, and intrigue in graveyards. It's not strictly a perfect mystery - the cold crime in question starts out with three men clearly involved, but later in the book that third man is discarded; this totally left me confused later in the book, forcing me to go back and re-read earlier sections to get back on track.

Ultimately, I figured out both identity and cause of death well before Whimsey, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the story - indeed, Sayers, in all her mastery, created a fair play mystery where I, as a reader, was actively trying to figure it out, and I had the clues I needed to do it. But even more than this, Sayers created a story where I was invested in the village of Fenchurch St. Paul; I needed to know about the fate of the village and villagers more than I needed to know whether or not I was right. When Whimsey figured out how the man died, and I learned whether I was right or not, it was, as I believe Sayers intended, rather anticlimactic and merely a footnote in light of the events that came before.

I didn't go with a higher rating because I think I'm going to need to re-read this one in order to appreciate the work as a whole. There's a feeling that there's a complexity to the writing and story telling that I missed the first time around; I was too focused on the trees to fully appreciate the majesty of the forest. But even so, it's a book I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who appreciates fine writing and an excellent mystery. ( )
  murderbydeath | Jan 17, 2022 |
A murder mystery, written in 1934, and set in a village in the Fenlands. I enjoyed The Nine Tailors while I was reading it - it's nostalgic, witty and a bit gruesome. There are parts of the book where the author let her imagination run away with her, which made the book more evocative, but less believable. ( )
  Akiyama | Jan 12, 2022 |
Phenomenal.

Some might say there was too much about change-ringing, but in my opinion all of it fell into one of two camps: 1) very interesting or 2) should be read as flavorful gibberish without trying to parse it.

The language was extremely vibrant, I think this is so far the most beautifully written of the Wimsey books. I did figure out the final revelation (not the long complicated unraveling of circumstances, but that final missing piece) before Wimsey, and found it very disturbing but effective.

Would recommend. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy L. Sayersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergvall, SonjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damkoehler, KatrinaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eräpuro, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Francavilla, A. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Homeyer, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsstuvold, RuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledwidge, NatachaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Næsted, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, HenningCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paton Walsh, JillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
704
By the Course Ends 64352
8th the Observation
Call her in the middle with a double, before, wrong and home. Repeated once.
Changes Rung
On an Old Theme
In Two Short Touches
And Two Full Peals
Dedication
First words
"That's torn it!" said Lord Peter Wimsey.
[Foreword] From time to time complaints are made about the ringing of church bells.
Quotations
Five minutes' practice before the glass every day, and you will soon acquire that vacant look so desirable for all rogues, detectives and Government officials.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

While ringing in the New Year, Lord Peter stumbles into an ominous country mystery Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant Bunter are halfway across the wild flatlands of East Anglia when they make a wrong turn, straight into a ditch. They scramble over the rough country to the nearest church, where they find hospitality, dinner, and an invitation to go bell-ringing. This ancient art is steeped in mathematical complexities, and tonight the rector and his friends plan to embark on a nine-hour marathon session to welcome the New Year. Lord Peter joins them, taking a step into a society whose cheerful exterior hides a dark, deadly past. During their stay in this unfamiliar countryside, Lord Peter and Bunter encounter murder, a mutilated corpse, and a decades-old jewel theft for which locals continue to die. In this land where bells toll for the dead, the ancient chimes never seem to stop. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
When his sexton finds a corpse in the wrong grave, the rector of Fenchurch St Paul asks Lord Peter Wimsey to find out who the dead man was and how he cane to be there.
The lore of bell-ringing and a brilliantly-evoked village in the remote fens of East Anglia are the unforgettable background to a story of an old unsolved crime and its violent unravelling twenty years later.
Haiku summary
The church bells have more

character than the ones

who stay to ring them.

(legallypuzzled)

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