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Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

Clouds of Witness (1926)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
When we lived in Pittsburgh, back in the dark ages, we didn't have a TV (much of the time, someone, in an act of pity, eventually gave us one). So, my spouse and I used to read to each other at night. We went through pretty much all of the Dorothy Sayers' books. I have fond memories of them. I also have fond memories of the videos of them, some of which we have now seen many times (we did, eventually, join the second half of the 20th century by getting a TV).

Anyway, I thought it was time I reread them. I began during the summer with Strong Poison and liked it ok. Then I decided to go back to the beginning. For some reason, I wasn't finding the first of the Lord Peter series, so I took up this second one, Clouds of Witness.

It seems that Gerald, the Duke of Denver (Lord Peter Wimsey's brother), invited a shooting party to a lodge he rented in Yorkshire. Among the party were Lord Peter's sister, Lady Mary, and her fiancé, Denis Cathcart. One night, the Duke and Cathcart have a fight and Cathcart storms off into the night (it was a dark and stormy night, actually). Along about 3 am, the Duke stumbles over the body whilst coming back from something, perhaps merely a walk on the moor. About the same time Lady Mary wanders by, thinking her brother shot whoever is lying there. So, we have endless possibilities, lots of clues, but they all point in different directions. Eventually, after trips hither and yon and getting stuck in a bog in the middle of a fog, Wimsey and Co. figure it all out.

I wasn't overwhelmed with this one. It did improve as it went along. The beginning was super tedious, just endless transcripts of the inquest into the death of Cathcart, interspersed with lots of vapid piffle from Lord Peter. I like a certain amount of piffle, hell I'm pretty piffleous myself, but this was over the top. Fortunately, the piffle toned down as the book progressed and became more fun.

The story was overly convoluted, I thought, and for the most part, improbable. Like, for some reason, the police, in the form of Inspector Parker, seem to be cooperating with the defense in the crown's case against the Duke of Denver, rather than working to shore up whatever case the crown has. All the travels hither and yon to find will o' the wisps, mysterious blonds and gems and so forth, also just felt overly contrived.

Fortunately, I know from experience, that the Lord Peter Wimsey series gets better, so I'll continue with some more in this series, albeit after a breather with Raymond Chandler and Willa Cather, who have never failed to be awesome. Perhaps, also, some more awesomeness from Nevil Shute. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Lord Peter Wimsey makes detecting a bit of a hobby. This hobby turns serious, however, when his brother, the Duke of Denver, is on trial for murder -- the murder of their sister's fiancé. Peter is determined to clear the family name, but for some reason the Duke is stubbornly refusing to cooperate. How could Peter's detecting be more embarrassing than the Duke's potentially hanging?

Wimsey is a delightful character. I especially enjoy his relationship with Parker and how they work together to solve the murder. Every time I read a Wimsey book, I wonder why it takes me so long to have got to it. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 28, 2019 |
CLOUDS OF WITNESS is probably my favorite Wimsey mystery??? It is QUITE a tangle of intrigues and plots that may or may not have to do with the murder. Wimsey's older brother and sister, fiance to the deceased, are some of the key suspects, so we get a lot of Peter's family life here. Cool mystery, character driven, often funny, family drama, Peter falls spectacularly into a bog, what's not to like? REC: READ ( )
  epaulettes | Jan 3, 2019 |
The second in Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series. He's still clever, yet Woosterish at times, and he comes to the wrong conclusion more than once before hitting on the solution. To begin, Lord Peter's future brother-in-law is found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest on the family premises; Peter's brother, the Duke, is suspected and arrested, but will say nothing in his own defense. Their sister, the dead man's fiance, begins acting very strangely, shuts herself in her room, and refuses all attentions. There is evidence at the scene that another person, identity unknown, was present on the night in question. Theoretically, this being a Golden Age mystery and Sayers being very particular about the fairness doctrine, the reader should be able to pick up all the necessary clues to solve the case. I quibble. When Lord Peter takes off for Paris, and then for America, to follow up his brainstorm (which is NOT totally shared with the reader), I could certainly see how he came to his deduction, but I could not make the deduction myself. Maybe I just need more practice. I enjoyed this one very much up to a point, and then I got a bit impatient for the reveal. I think there was one too many red herrings in the pot. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | May 13, 2018 |
A pre-WWII British cozy mystery that started out much better than it ended. The banter between amateur sleuth Peter Wimsey and pretty much everyone from his Scotland Yard friend Parker to his gentleman's gentleman Bunter was a hoot. And the mystery itself, with its convoluted mess of coincidences and witnesses practically tripping over each other, was pure comic drama. But then there was the long-winded info-dump of a solution that brought in characters and situations barely hinted at earlier in the book. What?! The first in this series, Whose Body?, had me expecting another tongue-in-cheek parody of a Sherlock Holmes-level mystery but that's not what I got. I'm hoping the next will be better. ( )
1 vote wandaly | Feb 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayers, Dorothy L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barcilon, RogerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergvall, SonjaTranslatorsecondary 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
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Lord Peter Wimsey stretched himself luxuriously between the sheets provided by the Hotel Meurice.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this mystery novel, Cloud Of Witnesses by Dorothy L. Sayers (1926), and the similarly-titled anthology of essays, Cloud Of Witnesses edited by Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday (1991; rev'd 2005). Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043532, Mass Market Paperback)

Rustic old Riddlesdale Lodge was a Wimsey family retreat filled with country pleasures and the thrill of the hunt -- until the game turned up human and quite dead. He lay among the chrysanthemums, wore slippers and a dinner jacket and was Lord Peter's brother-in-law-to-be. His accused murderer was Wimsey's own brother, and if murder set all in the family wasn't enough to boggle the unflappable Lord Wimsey, perhaps a few twists of fate would be -- a mysterious vanishing midnight letter from Egypt...a grieving fiancee with suitcase in hand...and a bullet destined for one very special Wimsey.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Lord Peter is on vacation when he hears that a dead body has been found at the Wimsey family retreat, and that Lord Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, is being held for the crime. The dead man? Their sister's fiance.? Lord Peter must clear his brother's name to avoid the death penalty. There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence against the Duke, but Lord Peter firmly believes that his brother is innocent and begins his own investigation into the murder. Can Lord Peter find the truth in time to save his brother and the family name?… (more)

» see all 17 descriptions

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