Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whose Body?

by Dorothy L. Sayers
New York : Harper, c1923.

Lord Peter Wimsey loves a thumping good mystery. When a body shows up in a vicar's bath tub, his mother the Dowager Duchess - who can never quite admit that her second son is an amateur detective - asks him to help discover its identity. Then his friend Parker turns up with a second mystery: Reuben Levy is missing. The body is certainly not Levy, but the two men decide to help each other in their investigations.

I didn't know quite what to expect of Lord Peter, since my only other introduction to his sleuthing was in a collection of short stories. In some ways, I was a little surprised that this was the first book in the series - we're not really introduced to people, such as Parker, as if this was the first time we have encountered them. Instead, we're thrown in to Lord Peter's discussion with his mother, told that he's dabbled in detecting before, and even given references to past cases. There are intriguing hints of the past that I hope are explored further as the series goes on. Lord Peter was really quite funny, and I generally enjoyed this tale, even though I figured out who and just a bit of how the murder was done before he did. I was a bit bothered by the antisemitism inherent in some comments regarding Reuben Levy. This was generally confined to the beginning of the book when we're told he has a good character, while "despite..." is implied. The particular copy from my local library was, I think, a 1923 first edition which was a little nerve-wracking (I was a little afraid it would fall apart in my hands, as the spine was damaged and had been repaired at least once), but neat.

No comments: