My Book Notes: Whose Body? 1923 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery # 1) by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Open Road Media, 2013. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 5612 KB. Print Length: 132 pages. ASIN: B00BX8U56M. eISBN: 978-1-4804-1716-8. Originally published in Great Britain by T. Fisher Unwin in 1923.

In the debut mystery in Dorothy L. Sayers’s acclaimed Lord Peter Wimsey series, the case of a dead bather draws Lord Peter into the 1st of many puzzling mysteries

9781480417168Book Description: Lord Peter Wimsey spends his days tracking down rare books, and his nights hunting killers. Though the Great War has left his nerves frayed with shellshock [nowadays PTSD], Wimsey continues to be London’s greatest sleuth—and he’s about to encounter his oddest case yet.
A strange corpse has appeared in a suburban architect’s bathroom, stark naked save for an incongruous pince-nez. When Wimsey arrives on the scene, he is confronted with a once-in-a-lifetime puzzle. The police suspect that the bathtub’s owner is the murderer, but Wimsey’s investigation quickly reveals that the case is much stranger than anyone could have predicted.
Published in 1923, during detective fiction’s Golden Age, Whose Body? introduced a character and a series that would make Dorothy L. Sayers famous. To this day, Lord Peter remains 1 of the genre’s most beloved and brilliant characters.
Whose Body? is the 1st book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series by reading the books in any order.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.

My Take: It’s of interest to highlight that Whose Body? originally published in 1923, it’s the first instalment featuring Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey who will return in a total of eleven novels and over twenty short stories. I honestly believe that much of the criticism this novel has had, doesn’t take into account these circumstances but has pretended to judge it from the current perspective. I fully concur with Mike Grost when he says that ‘Sayers’ first novel has an excellent mystery plot too, as well as a delightful vein of humor.‘

Allow me not to go into too much detail as far as the plot is concerned. Suffice is to say it revolves around two cases that, apparently, nothing have in common. On the one hand, the discovery of the corpse of a naked man, whose identity is impossible to ascertain. It was found one morning in the bathtub of an architect called Thipps in the Battersea Park area. And, most surprisingly, it only was wearing a pair of pince-nez with a golden chain. On the other hand, the mysterious disappearance of Sir Reuben Levy, a wealthy financier, who lives in one of the most exclusive areas of London, the day on which he had arranged to attend a most important financial meeting . Inspector Sugg is in charge of the investigation of the unknown corpse, while Detective Parker, a friend of Lord Peter, takes over the investigation of Sir Reuben’s disappearance. Even though Inspector Sugg suggests that the dead body belongs to the missing financier, soon we find out they only bear a superficial resemblance. But the question is whether isn’t there any relationship whatsoever between both cases. 

Here let me repeat Les Blatt’s words in his review: ‘The story is fascinating and occasionally quite horrifying, the characters are memorable, and the writing is both careful and beautiful. If you enjoy the traditional British mystery, you will enjoy this one.’I’m sure one  can’t ask for much more to a debut book, even if it isn’t yet up to her best novels. Finally, I should not neglect to point out that Whose Body? revolves around establishing how was the crime committed  and in being able to obtain the evidence to get a conviction, rather than in who did it. And it has reminded me of Sherlock Holmes novels in some respects.

Whose Body? has been reviewed, among others, at My Reader’s Block, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, The Grandest Game in the World, Classic Mysteries, Tipping My Fedora, Mysteries Ahoy! and Bedford Bookshelf.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd. (UK), 1923)

About the Author: Born in Oxford in 1893, Dorothy Leigh Sayers was the only child of Reverend Henry Sayers (1854–1928) and his wife, Helen Mary, née Leigh (1856–1929). When she was four years old, the family moved to Bluntisham-cum-Earith in the remote fen country of East Anglia. There she was educated at home and lived a fairly solitary childhood which she filled with her great interest in books. She showed an early talent for languages and storytelling. Sayers went on to study modern languages and medieval literature at Somerville College, Oxford. She graduated with first-class honours in 1915. Women were not awarded degrees at that time, but Sayers was among the first to receive a degree when the position changed a few years later. She later graduated with an MA in 1920. In 1921 Sayers moved into the newly decorated, white-panelled flat at 24 Great James Street, London, having told her parents that she had found three ‘small but very pretty rooms’. Among the works Sayers wrote there were her first novel, Whose Body? (1923) – which introduced her most famous literary character, Lord Peter Wimsey – Clouds of Witness (1926), Unnatural Death (1927) and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928). Number 24 was also the setting for her short story ‘The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps that Ran’, published in Lord Peter Views the Body (1928). During this time Sayers was employed by the advertising agency S.H.Benson where she worked between 1922 and 1931 and devised the immortal slogan ‘My Goodness, My Guinness’. While living in London, Sayers gave birth to an illegitimate son (1924), which she concealed from most of her family. In 1926 she married a journalist, Oswald Atherton ‘Mac’ Fleming (1881−1950) and the couple shared the Great James Street home with a series of cats brought in to combat a mouse infestation. In 1929 they moved to Witham, Essex, but kept on the London flat as a pied-à-terre. In 1930 Sayers was one of the founding members of the Detection Club a group formed of British mystery writers including Agatha Christie and Henry Wade. By the mid-decade, Sayers had turned her attention away from mystery fiction to writing for the theatre. Her first Wimsey play, Busman’s Honeymoon, which opened at London’s Comedy Theatre in December 1936, led to a Canterbury Festival commission for which she wrote The Zeal of thy House (1937). In 1941 she composed a series of 12 radio plays for the BBC on the life of Christ titled The Man Born to be King. In the early 1940s, Sayers began working on a verse translation of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. She considered this her best work and would spend much of her later days on it, though she was never able to finish translating the third volume before her sudden passing in 1957. (Source: English Heritage)

Lord Peter Wimsey Selected Novels: Whose Body? (1923); Clouds of Witness (1926); Unnatural Death aka The Dawson Pedigree (1927); The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928); Strong Poison (1930); Five Red Herrings apa Suspicious Characters (1931); Have His Carcase (1932); Murder Must Advertise (1933); The Nine Tailors (1934); Gaudy Night (1935); and Busman’s Honeymoon (1937).

Sayers also wrote a number of short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. A comprehensive set, containing 21 stories taken from Lord Peter Views the Body, Hangman’s Holiday, In the Teeth of the Evidence and Striding Folly, can be found in Lord Peter, a collection of short stories, first published in 1972.

Sayers started another Wimsey novel after Busman’s Honeymoon, but eventually lost interest in it, breaking off the manuscript several times without having gotten to the crime. After her death, Jill Paton Walsh, in arrangement with Sayers’ estate, completed the novel, which was published in 1998 as Thrones, Dominations.

Open Road Media publicity page

The Dorothy L Sayers Society

Dorothy L. Sayers by Michael E. Grost

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Lord Peter Wimsey Stories

Soundcloud

El cadáver con lentes de Dorothy L. Sayers

descarga (1)Descripción del libro: Lord Peter Wimsey pasa sus días buscando libros raros y sus noches cazando asesinos. Aunque la Gran Guerra le ha dejado los nervios destrozados con neurosis de guerra [hoy en día TEPT], Wimsey sigue siendo el mas importante detective de Londres y está a punto de enfrentarse a su caso más raro hasta el momento.
Un extraño cadáver ha aparecido en el baño de un arquitecto de las afueras, completamente desnudo salvo por unos incongruentes quevedos. Cuando Wimsey llega a la escena, se enfrenta a un rompecabezas irrepetible. La policía sospecha que el dueño de la bañera es el asesino, pero la investigación de Wimsey rápidamente revela que el caso es mucho más extraño de lo que nadie podría haber previsto.
Publicado en 1923, durante la Edad de Oro de la literatura policíaca, El cadáver con lentes (título original: Whose Body?) introduce un personaje y una serie que haría famosa a Dorothy L. Sayers. Hasta el día de hoy, Lord Peter sigue siendo uno de los personajes más queridos y brillantes del género.
Whose Body?  es el primer libro de los misterios de Lord Peter Wimsey, pero se puede disfrutar de la serie leyendo los libros en cualquier orden.

Mi opinión: Es interesante resaltar que El cadaver con lentes, publicado originalmente en 1923, es la primera entrega que presenta a Lord Peter Wimsey de Dorothy L. Sayers, quien regresará en un total de once novelas y más de veinte relatos cortos. Sinceramente creo que gran parte de la crítica que ha tenido esta novela, no tiene en cuenta estas circunstancias sino que ha pretendido juzgarla desde la perspectiva actual. Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con Mike Grost cuando dice que “La primera novela de Sayers tiene también una excelente trama de misterio, así como una deliciosa vena de humor“.

Permítanme no entrar en demasiados detalles en lo que respecta a la trama. Baste decir que gira en torno a dos casos que, aparentemente, nada tienen en común. Por un lado, el descubrimiento del cadáver de un hombre desnudo, cuya identidad es imposible de determinar. Fue encontrado una mañana en la bañera de un arquitecto llamado Thipps en el área de Battersea Park. Y, lo más sorprendente, solo llevaba un par de quevedos con una cadena dorada. Por otro lado, la misteriosa desaparición de Sir Reuben Levy, un adinerado financiero, que vive en una de las zonas más exclusivas de Londres, el día en que tenía previsto asistir a una reunión financiera de lo más importante. El inspector Sugg está a cargo de la investigación del cadáver desconocido, mientras que el detective Parker, amigo de Lord Peter, se hace cargo de la investigación de la desaparición de Sir Reuben. Aunque el inspector Sugg sugiere que el cadáver pertenece al financiero desaparecido, pronto descubrimos que solo tienen un parecido superficial. Pero la pregunta es si no existe relación alguna entre ambos casos.

Quisiera repetir aquí las palabras de Les Blatt en su reseña: “La historia es fascinante y, en ocasiones, bastante escalofriante, los personajes son memorables y la escritura es cuidadosa y espléndida. Si disfrutas del misterio británico tradicional, disfrutarás de este.” Estoy seguro de que no se puede pedir mucho más a un primer libro, incluso si aún no está a la altura de sus mejores novelas. Por último, no debo dejar de señalar que El cadaver con lentes gira en torno a establecer cómo se cometió el delito y poder obtener las pruebas para obtener una condena, más que en quién lo cometió. Y me ha recordado a las novelas de Sherlock Holmes en algunos aspectos.

Acerca del autor: Dorothy Leigh Sayers, nace en Oxford en 1893, hija única del reverendo Henry Sayers (1854-1928) y de su mujer, Helen Mary, de soltera Leigh (1856-1929). Cuando tenía cuatro años, la familia se trasladó a Bluntisham-cum-Earith en la remota área pantanosa de East Anglia. Allí se educó en casa y tuvo una infancia bastante solitaria que llenó con su gran interés por los libros. Mostró un talento temprano para los idiomas y la narración. Sayers marchó a estudiar idiomas modernos y literatura medieval en Somerville College, Oxford. Se graduó con los honores más altos en 1915. Las mujeres en ese momento no podían obtener tíitulos universitarios, pero Sayers fue una de las primeras en recibir el suyo cuando la situación cambió unos años más tarde. Más adelante se graduó con un máster en 1920. En 1921, Sayers se trasladó a un piso recién decorado y con paneles blancos en el 24 de Great James Street, Londres, después de haberle dicho a sus padres que había encontrado tres “habitaciones pequeñas pero muy bonitas”. Entre las obras que Seyers escribió allí se encuentran su primera novela, Whose Body? (1923) – en la que introduce a su personaje literario más famoso, Lord Peter Wimsey – Clouds of Witness (1926), Unnatural Death (1927) y The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928). El número 24 también fue el escenario de su relato ‘The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps that Ran’, publicado en Lord Peter Views the Body (1928). Durante este tiempo, Sayers fue empleada por la agencia de publicidad S.H.Benson, donde trabajó de 1922 a 1931 e ideó el eslogan inmortal “My Goodness, My Guinness”. Mientras vivía en Londres, Sayers dio a luz un hijo ilegítimo (1924), que ocultó a la mayoría de su familia. En 1926 se casó con un periodista, Oswald Atherton ‘Mac’ Fleming (1881-1950) y la pareja compartió la casa de Great James Street con una serie de gatos traídos para combatir una plaga de ratones. En 1929 se trasladaron a Witham, Essex, pero mantuvieron el piso de Londres como un pied-à-terre. En 1930, Sayers fue uno de los miembros fundadores del Detection Club, un grupo formado por escritores de misterio británicos, incluidos Agatha Christie y Henry Wade. A mediados de la década, Sayers alejó su atención de la literatura de misterio para dedicarse a escribir obras de teatro. Su primera obra de Wimsey, Busman’s Honeymoon, se estrenó en el Comedy Theatre de Londres en diciembre de 1936, y dio lugar a un encargo del Festival de Canterbury para el que escribió The Zeal of thy House (1937). En 1941 compone una serie de 12 obras de radio para la BBC sobre la vida de Cristo titulada The Man Born to be King. A principios de la década de 1940, Sayers comenzó a trabajar en una traducción en verso de la Divina Comedia de Dante Alighieri. Consideraba que este era su mejor trabajo y a él dedicaría gran parte de sus últimos días, aunque no pudo terminar de traducir el tercer volumen al morir repentinamente en 1957.

Lord Peter Wimsey Novelas seleccionadas: Whose Body? (Titulo en español: El cadáver con lentes, 1923); Clouds of Witness (Título en español: El misterio de Riddlesdale Lodge, 1926); Unnatural Death (Título en español: ¿Muerte natural …? 1927); The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Título en español: El misterio del Bellona Club, 1928); Strong Poison (Título en español: Veneno mortal, 1930); Five Red Herrings (Título en español: Cinco pistas falsas, 1931); Have His Carcase (Tíitulo en español: Un cadáver para Harriet Vane, 1932); Murder Must Advertise (Título en español: Muerte, agente de publicidad,  1933); The Nine Tailors (Título en español: Los nueve sastres, 1934); Gaudy Night (Título en español: Los secretos de Oxford, 1935); y Busman’s Honeymoon (Título en español: Luna de miel, 1937).

Sayers también escribió una serie de relatos breves protagonizados por Lord Peter Wimsey. Un conjunto amplio de 21 relatos breves incluidos en Lord Peter Views the Body (en español: Lord Peter descubre el delito), Hangman’s Holiday (en español: Las vacaciones del verdugo), In the Teeth of the Evidence (en español: Con las pruebas en la boca) y Striding Folly, se puede encontrar en Lord Peter, una selección de relatos publicada por primera vez en 1972.

Sayers comenzó otra novela protagonizada por Wimsey después de Busman’s Honeymoon, pero finalmente perdió interés en ella, rompiendo el manuscrito varias veces sin haber llegado al crimen. Después de su muerte, Jill Paton Walsh, de acuerdo con los herederos de Sayers, completó la novela, que se publicó en 1998 como Thrones, Dominations.

My Book Notes: Clouds of Witness, 1926 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery # 2) by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2009. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 5020 KB. Print Length: 324 pages. ASIN: B004GKMU4O. eISBN: 9781848943698. Introduction by Ruth Dudley Edwards, 2016. First published in Great Britain in 1926 by T. Fisher Unwin. In 1935 a revised and corrected version of this novel was published by Victor Gollancz.

hbg-title-9781848943698-8Book Description: The Duke of Denver, accused of murder, stands trial for his life in the House of Lords. Naturally, his brother Lord Peter Wimsey is investigating the crime – this is a family affair. The murder took place at the duke’s shooting lodge and Lord Peter’s sister was engaged to marry the dead man. But why does the duke refuse to co-operate with the investigation? Can he really be guilty, or is he covering up for someone?

My Take: Lord Peter has returned from Corsica where, for the last three months, he has been touring about the mountains, admiring from a cautious distance the wild beauty of Corsican peasant-women, and studying the vendetta in its natural haunt. On his first day back in London, Bunter, his valet and assistant sleuth, hands him The Times, folded open at the heading: ‘Riddlesdale Inquest. Duke of Denver arrested on Murder Charge’. Lord Wimsey’s brother, Gerald, Duke of Denver, has been accused of having killed Captain Denis Cathcart. The deceased was last seen quarrelling with the Duke the previous evening. A pistol belonging to the Duke was found near the scene of the crime. And, to top it all, the Duke’s sister, Lady Mary Wimsey, was engaged to be married to the deceased. During the inquest, the Duke refused to declare. His silence and all available evidence leaves little doubt of his guilt. Given his status as Duke of Denver, his case will be heard by the House of Lords, to be tried before a jury of his peers. Lord Peter Wimsey comes to the aid of his brother, but Gerald’s persistence to remain in silence does nothing to help him prove his innocence. Lord Peter suspects that both his brother and sister are not telling the whole truth, and that the two of them have something to hide.

Clouds of Witness is the second book featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and the third one I’ve read. After having enjoyed my first two encounters with Dorothy L. Sayers novels, I was decided to read most of her books in order of publication, but I was told that this novels was a good place to start in the series and eventually I decided to choose it. The novel is far from being one of Sayers bests and, at least in my view, the plot didn’t manage to capture my attention. Without a doubt, the novel has many positive aspects, as highlight some of the reviews given below. But I very much agree with Mike Grost here, at least in relation to Clouds of Witness, when he says: ‘Such early Sayers novels as Clouds of Witness (1926), Unnatural Death (1927), Strong Poison (1930), and The Documents in the Case (1930) do not seem very good to me. These novels are painfully minimalist, in their near absence of plot, real detection, or any sort of substance. They lack the puzzle plots of Sayers’ shorter works, and the literary quality and fascinating “background” material of such later Sayers novels as Murder Must Advertise (1933) and The Nine Tailors (1934).’ Though perhaps what has disappointed me most of this novel has been its denouement. However, I don’t want to sound too harsh on my appreciation of this book, I merely believe that it doesn’t stand well the test of time and is quite uneven. That said, I still look forward to reading more of Dorothy L. Sayers books and short stories in a not so distant future.

My rating: C (My expectations have not been met)

What others have said:

Jennifer S. Palmer @ reviewingtheevidence

Does Clouds of Witness stand up to further reading 78 years after its first publication? … My conclusion is that Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers is still well worth reading or rereading today.

Les Blatt @ Classic Mysteries

Wimsey hadn’t evolved much as a character in 1926, when this book was first published, and some of his aristocratic mannerisms are more than a little annoying. He is constantly droppin’ the final “g” from his verbs, don’t y’know, which gets a bit tirin’, to be honest. But “Clouds of Witness” remains a very readable and enjoyable story, the trial in the House of Lords is marvelously done and Sayers, as always, gives us some memorable characters. The book’s age means that it is available in a number of editions, including a new, electronic edition from Open Road Integrated Media, which includes a brief biography of Sayers and some family old photos of the author.

Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (The British Library Publishing Division, 2017):

Clouds of Witness is the work of a novelist learning her craft, but manifests the story-telling qualities that soon earned fame for Dorothy Leigh Sayers. … Together with Anthony Berkeley, she became a driving force in the Detection Club, using experience gained in the advertising world to help build its reputation; she succeeded E. C. Bentley as President in 1949. Her detective fiction became increasingly ambitious, and although opinion remains divided as to the extent of its success, her contribution to the development of the genre was highly significant ….

Nick Fuller @ The Grandest Game in the World

A piece typical of the 1920s: dated without being period, and never escaping from its roots in sensational fiction (the Renaissance of detective fiction was still a year or two away). …  Physical clues (footprints and grains of sand) and the evidence given at the inquest (presented at the beginning to save the grind of interviews) lead to more scandals and histrionics, before Wimsey’s dramatic trans-Atlantic flight allows him to arrive at the court at the very last minute to avert another scandal, and produce the letter in French that proves the “crime” is a disappointment. The highlight of the book is Murbles’ account of the imaginary life led by a miser; the portrayal of wife abuse is also excellent.

Aidan @ Mysteries Ahoy!

For all of its faults, Clouds of Witness is a more entertaining and interesting work than its predecessor. Sayers’ mystery lacks a punchy or unexpected resolution but there are some entertaining action sequences built around it and some nice character moments for Lord Peter.

Bev @ My Reader’s Block

Overall, another wonderful visit to the world of Lord Peter Wimsey.

Mike @ Only Detect

In place of a scene that would let Wimsey explain a series of masterly deductions—he performs little deductive reasoning, in the classic sense—Sayers presents a grand finale that occurs in the House of Lords, where the duke has come to be judged by his peers. …. For those who share her politics, Clouds of Witness offers a winning saga of the nobility at its best. For others, perhaps not so much.

FictionFan @ Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews

What I meant to say is that the book is quite entertaining in some respects, and some parts of it are well written and quite atmospheric, … But the plotting is fundamentally silly and the solution is a major cop-out, and, in case you haven’t spotted it, I do find Lord Peter’s insufferable superiority… well… insufferable.

Margaret @ Books Please

Clouds of Witness is a book of its time, there is much banter, wit and humour, and plenty of snobbery of all types clearly showing the class distinctions between the working and upper classes. It is a clever story, well told, with colourful characters and I liked the details it gives about Wimsey’s family as I’ve been reading these books totally out of order.

About the Author: Dorothy Leigh Sayers was born at Oxford on 13th June 1893, the only child of the Rev. Henry Sayers, of Anglo-Irish descent. Her father was at the time headmaster of Christ Church Cathedral School, and she was born in the headmaster’s house. She was brought up at Bluntisham Rectory, Cambridgeshire, and went to the Godolphin School, Salisbury, where she won a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford. In 1915 she graduated with first class honours in modern languages. Disliking the routine and seclusion of academic life she joined Blackwell’s, the Oxford publishers, worked with her Oxford friend Eric Whelpton at L’École des Roches in Normandy, and from 1922 until 1929 served as copywriter at the London advertising firm of Bensons. In 1923 she published her first novel, Whose Body, which introduced Lord Peter Wimsey, her hero for fourteen volumes of novels and short stories. She also wrote four other novels in collaboration and two serial stories for broadcasting. Writing full time she rose to be the doyen of crime writers and in due course president of the Detection Club. Her work, carefully researched and widely varied, included poetry, the editing of collections with her erudite introductions on the genre, and the translating of the Tristan of Thomas from mediaeval French. She admired E C Bentley and G K Chesterton and numbered among her friends T S Eliot, Charles Williams and C S Lewis. She married Arthur Fleming in 1926. In 1928 her father died at Christchurch in the Fens, his last parish, and she bought a cottage at Witham, Essex, to accommodate her mother. On the latter’s death a year later she moved in herself and bought the house next door, No 22 Newland Street, to throw the two houses into one. There she worked until her death in 1957. Gaudy Night was to be the culmination of the Wimsey saga, but her friend Muriel St Clare Byrne persuaded her to collaborate in putting Lord Peter on the stage in Busman’s Honeymoon. The play was successfully launched in December 1936, and she gave up crime writing except for the book of the play and three short stories. With her new financial security she turned thankfully to the work for which she had been trained. The stage fascinated her. She had already been asked to write a play, The Zeal of Thy House, for the Canterbury Festival. She followed this with six more, up to the Colchester Festival play, The Emperor Constantine in 1951. The most momentous was The Man Born to be King, written for broadcasting in children’s hour at the request of the BBC. Her presentation of Christ’s voice speaking modern English raised a storm of protest and revolutionised religious play-writing. Opposition stimulated her. She would never compromise where her art was concerned. Her theology was traditionally Anglican with emphasis on doctrine. Every available moment of her time was spent writing, to the small hours of the morning. Letters, articles and essays streamed from her pen. The war led her to write Begin Here, followed by The Mind of the Maker, in which she compares the human with the Divine creator. She explored by-ways of knowledge, delighted in puzzles and enjoyed many a fight which she conducted with wit and good humour. Her formidable presence, magnificent brain and logical presentation put her in great demand as a lecturer. She worked with the Rev. Patrick McLaughlin at the St Anne’s centre for Christian discourse and became in 1952 churchwarden of her London parish, St Thomas-cum-St Annes. She found her culminating role after the war. Dante’s writings had long intrigued her. Now she taught herself old Italian and made a translation in terza rima of The Divine Comedy unmatched for its popularity and the clarity of its notes. She also found time to finish her translation of the Song of Roland from the old French. But she unexpectedly died from heart failure on 17 December 1957 while engaged on Dante’s third volume, Paradiso, and her friend Dr Barbara Reynolds completed her work.

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Other Dorothy L. Sayers book notes at A Crime is Afoot:

Hodder & Stoughton UK publicity page

HarperColllinsPublishers US publicity page

Dorothy L Sayers Official Site

Dorothy L. Sayers by Michael E. Grost 

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Lord Peter Wimsey Stories

audible

Clouds of witness, de Dorothy L. Sayers

Descripción del libro: El duque de Denver, acusado de asesinato, se enfrenta a un juicio en la Cámara de los Lores que puede costarle la vida. Naturalmente, su hermano Lord Peter Wimsey está investigando el delito, se trata de un asunto familiar. El asesinato tuvo lugar en el pabellón de caza del duque y la hermana de Lord Peter estaba comprometida en matrimonio con el fallecido. Pero, ¿por qué el Duque se niega a cooperar con la investigación? ¿Puede verdaderamente ser culpable o está encubriendo a alguien?

Mi opinión: Lord Peter acaba de regresar de Córcega, donde, durante los últimos tres meses, ha estado recorriendo las montañas, admirando desde una distancia prudente la belleza salvaje de las campesinas corsas y estudiando la vendetta en su entorno natural. En su primer día de regreso a Londres, Bunter, su ayuda de cámara y detective asistente, le entrega The Times, doblado en el encabezado: “Juzgado de Instrucción de Riddlesdale. El Duque de Denver arrestado por asesinato”. El hermano de Lord Wimsey, Gerald, duque de Denver, ha sido acusado de haber matado al capitán Denis Cathcart. El difunto fue visto por última vez discutiendo con el duque la noche anterior. Se encontró una pistola que pertenece al duque cerca de la escena del crimen. Y, para colmo, la hermana del duque, Lady Mary Wimsey, estaba comprometida en matrimonio con el difunto. Durante la investigación, el duque se niega a declarar. Su silencio y toda las pruebas disponibles dejan pocas dudas de su culpabilidad. Dado su estatus de Duque de Denver, su caso será examinado por la Cámara de los Lores, para ser juzgado ante un jurado  compuesto por sus pares. Lord Peter Wimsey acude en ayuda de su hermano, pero la persistencia de Gerald en permanecer callado no hace nada para ayudarle a demostrar su inocencia. Lord Peter sospecha que tanto su hermano como su hermana no están diciendo toda la verdad, y que los dos tienen algo que ocultar.

Clouds of Witness es el segundo libro protagonizado por Lord Peter Wimsey y el tercero que he leído. Después de haber disfrutado mis dos primeros encuentros con novelas de Dorothy L. Sayers, decidí leer la mayoría de sus libros en orden de publicación, pero me dijeron que esta novela era un buen lugar para comenzar la serie y finalmente decidí elegirla. La novela está lejos de ser uno de los mejores libros de Sayers y, al menos en mi opinión, el argumento no logró captar mi atención. Sin lugar a dudas, la novela tiene muchos aspectos positivos, como destacan algunas de las críticas que figuran más adelante, pero estoy muy de acuerdo con Mike Grost aquí, al menos en relación con Clouds of Witness, cuando dice: “Alguna de las primeras novelas de Sayers como Clouds of Witness (1926), Unnatural Death (1927), Strong Poison (1930) y The Documents in the Case (1930) no me parecen muy buenas. Estas novelas son claramente minimalistas, en su casi ausencia total de trama, auténtica investigación, o cualquier clase de contenido. Carecen del enigma argumental de las obras más cortas de Sayers, y de la calidad literaria y del fascinante material de referencia de novelas posteriores de Sayers como Murder Must Advertise (1933) y The Nine Tailors (1934).” Aunque quizás lo que más me ha decepcionado de esta novela ha sido su desenlace. Sin embargo, no quiero parecer demasiado duro en mi apreciación de este libro, simplemente creo que no resiste bien la prueba del tiempo y es bastante desigual. Dicho esto, todavía espero leer más libros y cuentos cortos de Dorothy L. Sayers en un futuro no muy lejano.

Mi valoración: C (No se han cumplido mis expectativas)

Lo que otros han dicho: (Mi traducción libre)

Jennifer S. Palmer @ reviewingtheevidence

¿Resiste Clouds of Witness lecturas posteriores 78 años después de su primera publicación? … Mi conclusión es que todavía vale la pena leer o releer Clouds of Witness de Dorothy Sayers hoy.

Les Blatt @ Classic Mysteries

Wimsey no había evolucionado mucho como personaje en 1926, cuando este libro se publicó por primera vez, y algunos de sus gestos aristocráticos son algo más que un poco molestos. Él constantemente deja de pronunciar “la” g “final de sus verbos, por si usted no lo sabe, lo que resulta algo cansado, a decir verdad. Pero “Clouds of Witness” continúa siendo una historia muy fácil de leer y agradable, el juicio en la Cámara de los Lores está maravillosamente  hecho y Sayers, como siempre, nos ofrece algunos personajes memorables. La edad del libro significa que está disponible en varias ediciones, incluida una nueva edición electrónica de Open Road Integrated Media, que incluye una breve biografía de Sayers y algunas fotos familiares antiguas de la escritora.

Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (The British Library Publishing Division, 2017):

Clouds of Witness es el trabajo de una novelista aprendiendo su oficio, pero manifiesta las cualidades narrativas que pronto le otorgaron fama a Dorothy Leigh Sayers. … Junto con Anthony Berkeley, se convirtió en el alma del Detection Club, utilizando la experiencia adquirida en el mundo de la publicidad para ayudar a construir su reputación; sucedió a E. C. Bentley como presidente en 1949. Su ficción policíaca se volvió cada vez más ambiciosa, y aunque la opinión sigue dividida en cuanto al alcance de su éxito, su contribución al desarrollo del género fue muy significativa …

Nick Fuller @ The Grandest Game in the World

Una pieza típica de la década de 1920: anticuada sin ser de época, y sin escapar nunca de sus raíces en la novela fantástica (el Renacimiento de la novela de detectives aún se encontraba a uno o dos años de distancia). … Las pistas físicas (huellas y granos de arena) y los testimonios dados durante la instrucción (presentados al principio para evitar la rutina de los interrogatorios) conducen a más escándalos y dramatismos, antes de que el dramático vuelo transatlántico de Wimsey le permita llegar al tribunal en el último momento para evitar otro escándalo y mostrar la carta en francés que demuestra que el “crimen” es una desilución. Lo más destacado del libro es el relato de Murbles sobre la vida imaginaria llevada por un avaro; el retrato de la violencia doméstica es también excelente.

Aidan @ Mysteries Ahoy!

A pesar de todos sus defectos, Clouds of Witness es una obra más entretenida e interesante que su predecesora. El misterio de Sayers carece de una resolución impactante o inesperada, pero tiene algunas secuencias de acción entretenidas construidas a su alrededor y algunos buenos momentos de la personalidad de Lord Peter.

Bev @ My Reader’s Block

En general, otra visita magnífica al mundo de Lord Peter Wimsey.

Mike @ Only Detect

En lugar de una escena que le hubiera permitido a Wimsey explicar una serie de deducciones magistrales (realiza un pequeño razonamiento deductivo, en el sentido clásico), Sayers presenta un gran final que tiene lugar en la Cámara de los Lores, donde el duque ha acudido para ser juzgado por sus iguales … Para aquellos que comparten sus posturas  políticas, Clouds of Witness ofrece una atractiva histroria de la aristocracia en el mejor de los casos. Para otros, quizás no tanto.

FictionFan @ Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews

Lo que quise decir es que el libro es bastante entretenido en ciertos aspectos, y algunas partes están bien escritas y son bastante evocadoras … Pero la trama es fundamentalmente tonta y la solución es solo un gran forma de escurrir el bulto y, en caso de que usted no se haya dado cuenta, encuentro la insufrible superioridad de Lord Peter … eso … insufrible.

Margaret @ Books Please

Clouds of Witness es un libro de su tiempo, tiene muchas bromas, ingenio y humor, y un montón de esnobismo de todo tipo que muestran claramente las diferencias de clase entre las clases trabajadoras y las clases altas. Es una historia inteligente, bien contada, con personajes pintorescos y me gustaron los detalles que ofrece sobre la familia Wimsey, ya que he estado leyendo estos libros de forma totalmente desordenada.

Sobre el autor: Dorothy Leigh Sayers nació en 1893 en Oxford, donde fue una de las primeras mujeres en obtener una licenciatura, en su caso en francés medieval. En Londres trabajó en una agencia de publicidad desde 1922 hasta 1929. Su aristócrata detective, lord Peter Wimsey, fue una de las estrellas de la novela policiaca de los años treinta y protagonizó doce novelas y varios libros de relatos. Pero Dorothy Sayers no se dedicó tan solo a la novela, sino que destacó también como reputada teóloga, dramaturga, ensayista y traductora. Su Divina comedia todavía hoy se considera la mejor traducción al inglés de la obra de Dante. Amiga de T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Agatha Christie o G. K. Chesterton, Sayers fue una mujer avanzada a su tiempo, madre soltera en un ambiente estrictamente anglicano y victoriano, y precursora literaria de Patricia Highsmith o P. D. James. murió en 1956. En 1973, la BBC produjo una serie basada en sus novelas de lord Peter Wimsey, en la que Ian Carmichael encarna al sofisticado detective. Lumen le ha dedicado una Biblioteca donde han aparecido sus novelas más importantes.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Although intended as a private note, I’m posting it here, as it may be of some interest to regular or occasional readers of this blog.

Dorothy SayersDorothy L. Sayers, in full Dorothy Leigh Sayers, (born June 13, 1893, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Eng.—died Dec. 17, 1957, Witham, Essex), English scholar and writer whose numerous mystery stories featuring the witty and charming Lord Peter Wimsey combined the attractions of scholarly erudition and cultural small talk with the puzzle of detection. Sayers received a degree in medieval literature from the University of Oxford in 1915; she was one of the first women to graduate from that university. Her first major published work was Whose Body? (1923), a detective novel in which Lord Peter first appeared as a dashing gentleman-scholar. The book was followed by one or two novels a year for about 15 years. Sayers wrote short stories that featured not only Lord Peter but also another detective creation, Montague Egg. She also published an anthology of the detective story, The Omnibus of Crime (1929). In her later years Sayers turned from detective fiction to writing theological plays and books such as Creed or Chaos? (1947). She made scholarly translations of Dante’s Inferno (1949) and Purgatorio (1955); her translation of the third book, the Paradiso, was incomplete at her death. (Source: Britannica)

So far I’ve read and enjoyed Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors (see my reviews clicking below on the book title), but I’m still not very familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey book series. I look forward to reading shortly the titles marked in bold

Lord Peter Wimsey book series in order

  • Whose Body? 1923 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #1)
  • Clouds of Witness, 1926 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #2)
  • Unnatural Death,1927 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #3) 
  • Lord Peter Views the Body, 1928 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, 1928 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #5)
  • Strong Poison, 1930 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #6)
  • The Five Red Herrings, 1931 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #7)
  • Have His Carcase, 1932 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #8)
  • Hangman’s Holiday, 1933 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #9)
  • Murder Must Advertise, 1933 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #10)
  • The Nine Tailors, 1934 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #11)
  • Gaudy Night, 1935 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #12)
  • Busman’s Honeymoon, 1937 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #13)
  • In the Teeth of the Evidence, 1939 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #14)
  • Striding Folly, 1972 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #15)

Read more: The Dorothy L Sayers Society

Review: Murder Must Advertise (1933) by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Hodder & Stoughton, 1983. Format: Paperback. ISBN: 9780450002427 Page count: 400. First published in Great Britain in 1933. With An Introduction by Elizabeth George.

This is my third contribution to Rich Westlake’s 1933 roundup at his blog Past Offences.

isbn9780450002427The story initiates at an advertising company, called Pym Publicity Ltd. and begins when a new copy-writer starts working at the agency. The man in question, a certain Mr Death Bredon, is being introduced to the rest of the personnel. He’s going to take over the job of the unfortunate Mr Victor Dean whom, just a few days ago, fell down through an iron spiral staircase on the company premises, dying immediately as a consequence of the injuries suffered. Some chapters later, the reader finds out that Mr Bredon is none other than Lord Peter Wimsey, disguised as his disreputable cousin Mr Bredon with whom he bears an incredible resemblance. The fact is that the day after the accident that caused Dean’s death, his sister Miss Pamela Dean sent to Mr Pym a fragment of a half-finished letter, which she had found on her brother’s desk, warning him that something of suspect nature, is going on in the advertising agency. Consequently Mr Pym, through common friends, has got in touch with Lord Peter Wimsey, asking him to investigate. As the story progresses, Lord Peter Wimsey will see himself caught into a complex network of blackmailers and drug pedlars.

Murder Must Advertise is the tenth book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series in any order. In fact, Murder Must Advertise is the second novel by Dorothy L. Sayers that I have read. By the way my review of The Nine Tailors (1934), is here. It should come as no surprise to find out that Dorothy L. Sayers herself, worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency. Certainly, the context in which the story develops is very familiar to her and she provides us with some very sharp and funny observations about this occupation that are among the best pages of this book. What has surprised me most has been to discover that, ‘Sayers herself disliked the novel, which she wrote quickly in order to fulfil her publisher’s contract, and was unsure whether it would ring true with the reading public.’ (Source: Wikipedia) But anyhow, Murder Must Advertise is a very clever story with a really detailed plot, and with several highly entertaining scenes that, I’m quite convinced, will delight the most demanding readers. In sharp contrast with the general tone of the story, the conclusion can leave us slightly puzzled, or even surprised, but anyway I’ve found it an outstanding read. Highly recommended.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957. (Source: www.sayers.org.uk)

Murder Must Advertise has been reviewed at Clothes In Books, and Past Offences.

Hodder & Stoughton publicity page

Audible sample

Muerte, agente de publicidad de Dorothy L Sayers

La historia se inicia en la empresa de publicidad, Pym Publicity Ltd. y comienza cuando un nuevo redactor empieza a trabajar en la agencia. El hombre en cuestión, un tal Sr. Death Bredon, está siendo presentado al resto del personal. Va a ocupar el puesto del desafortunado Sr. Victor Dean quien, hace tan sólo unos días, se cayó por una escalera de caracol de hierro en las instalaciones de la empresa, muriendo de inmediato como consecuencia de las lesiones sufridas. Algunos capítulos más adelante, el lector se entera de que el Sr. Bredon no es otro que Lord Peter Wimsey, disfrazado como su primo Bredon de dudosa reputación con quien guarda un parecido increíble. El hecho es que el día después del accidente que causó la muerte del señor Dean, su hermana la señorita Pamela Dean envió al señor Pym un fragmento de una carta a medio terminar, que había encontrado en el escritorio de su hermano, advirtiéndole de que algo de carácter sospechoso, está pasando en la agencia de publicidad. En consecuencia el señor Pym, a través de amigos comunes, se ha puesto en contacto con Lord Peter Wimsey, pidiéndole que investigue. A medida que avanza la historia, Lord Peter Wimsey se verá atrapado en una compleja red de chantajistas y vendedores de drogas.

Muerte, agente de publicidad es el décimo libro de misterio de Lord Peter Wimsey, pero se puede disfrutar de la serie en cualquier orden. De hecho, Muerte, agente de publicidad es la segunda novela de Dorothy L. Sayers que he leído. Por cierto mi reseña de Los nueve sastres (1934), está aquí. No debería ser ninguna sorpresa descubrir que la propia Dorothy L. Sayers trabajó como redactora en una agencia de publicidad. Ciertamente, el contexto en el que se desarrolla la historia le resulta muy familiar y nos proporciona algunas observaciones muy agudas y divertidas sobre esta ocupación que se encuentran entre las mejores páginas de este libro. Lo que más me ha sorprendido ha sido descubrir que, ‘a la propia Sayers no le gustaba la novela, que escribió con rapidez con el fin de cumplir el contrato con su editor, y no estaba segura de si le iba a resultar auténtica al público lector‘ (Fuente: Wikipedia). Pero de todos modos, Muerte, agente de publicidad es una historia muy inteligente con una trama muy minuciosa, y con varias escenas muy entretenidas que, estoy convencido, hará las delicias de los lectores más exigentes. En agudo contraste con el tono general de la historia, la conclusión puede dejarnos un poco desconcertados, o incluso sorprendidos, pero de todos modos he encontrado que es una lectura excepcional. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Dorothy L. Sayers nació en Oxford en 1893, y fúe a la vez una estudiosa de los clásicos y se licenció en lenguas modernas. Además de su popular serie de Lord Peter Wimsey, escribió varias piezas religiosas, pero consideró que su traducción de la Divina Comedia de Dante fue su mejor trabajo. Murió en 1957. (Fuente: www.sayers.org.uk)

Review: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2003. Format: Paperback Edition. First published in Great Britain in 1934 by Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN: 978-450-00100-0. 384 pages. 

isbn9780450001000-detailThe Nine Tailors is a 1934 mystery novel by British writer Dorothy L. Sayers, her ninth book featuring the amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. The title relates to the saying ‘nine tailors makes a man.’ According to the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2009) this saying refers to the fact that a gentleman must select his clothing from a range of sources. However, other historical sources provide another meaning related to the tolling of bells: the practice of ringing a death knell, or passing bell. Local variances could be found around Britain, but the universal tolling-bell, or ‘teller,’ to denote a deceased male was rung nine times. In many places six ‘tells’ indicated a woman, and three indicated a child, so ‘nine tellers mark a man.’ Over the years ‘teller’ became ‘tailor’ and ‘mark’ became ‘make.’ (Source: University of Chicago Guild of Change Ringers)

On New Year’s Eve, Lord Peter suffers a car accident and his vehicle ends up in a ditch. Fortunately neither he nor his loyal manservant Bunter are injured and they manage to reach Fenchurch St. Paul, a nearby village, where the rector of the parish, Mr. Theodore Venables offers them accommodation. The Rector, an enthusiast campanologist, has plans for an eight hours chiming of the church bells to welcome the New Year. However soon his purpose is in jeopardy when he learns that William Thoday, one of the eight bell ringers, has the flu and there’s no one to take his place. By chance, Lord Peter, although a bit out of practice, is familiar with the art of change-ringing and the situation is successfully resolved when he volunteers to take Thoday’s place.

The next morning, Sir Henry, the local landowner, sends notice that his wife, Lady Thorpe, is in a critical condition and that she’s anxious to receive the Sacrament. In fact, Lady Thorpe passes away that same day and is buried the day after. At the same time, Lord Peter learns that twenty years ago, on their wedding day, the Thorpes were ruined following the unsolved theft of a precious emerald necklace. However, even though the culprit and his accomplice were imprisoned, the necklace couldn’t be recovered.

Three month after, at Easter, Sir Henry himself dies and when opening the grave to bury him next to his wife, to everyone’s surprise, a man’s body appears buried beside her coffin. The corpse has been seriously mutilated to prevent his identification. In the absence of any clues that could help solve the case, the Rector seeks help from Lord Peter to identify the body. 

Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957. The order of her mystery series is: Whose Body? (1923); Clouds of Witness (1926); Unnatural Death (1927); The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928); Strong Poison (1931); Five Red Herrings (1931); Have His Carcase (1932); Murder Must Advertise (1933); The Nine Tailors (1934); Gaudy Night (1935) and Busman’s Honeymoon (1937). I have pointed in bold the novels that interest me the most.

The Nine Tailors is the first book I’ve read by Dorothy L. Sayers and I am convinced it won’t be the last. Certainly it lives up to its reputation since it is usually included  in most lists of the best mystery books of all time. In my view it’s a terrific book and I’ve enjoyed very much reading it. This is probably because, as Rob Kitchin has rightly said, it ticks all the adequate boxes. It’s beautifully written and is a very fine literary mystery; the plot is extremely interesting and the story is well-developed; the characters are properly drawn and interact credibly; the resolution is flawless and it has a good sense of time and place. Quite frankly, I couldn’t imagine that I was going to enjoy so much of a cosy mystery. Although it is rather a mystery book than a crime fiction.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

The Nine Tailors has been reviewed at The View from the Blue House (Rob Kitchin), Past Offences (Rich Westwood), Clothes In Books (Moira Redmond), Crime Squad (R. D)

Hodder & Stoughton 

The Dorothy L Sayers Society

A Chronology of Lord Peter Wimsey Stories 

Los nueve sastres de Dorothy L Sayers

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Los nueve sastres es una novela de 1934 de la escritora de misterio británica Dorothy L. Sayers, su noveno libro protagonizado por el detective aficiionado Lord Peter Wimsey. El título se refiere al refrán que dice “nueve sastres hacen un hombre”. De acuerdo con el Diccionario Oxford de los Refranes (2009) este dicho se refiere al hecho de que un caballero debe seleccionar su ropa de diversas fuentes. Sin embargo, otras fuentes históricas proporcionan otro significado relacionado con el repique de campanas: la práctica de tocar a muerto. Por toda Gran Bretaña se pueden encontrar diferencias locales, pero el toque de campanas más universal, o simplemente “toque”, para indicar que el fallecido es un varón es repicar nueve veces. En muchos lugares, seis ‘toques’ indican que se trata de una mujer, y tres se refieren a un niño, por lo que “nueve toques indican que se trata de un varón”. Con el paso del tiempo “toque” (teller se refiere al sonido de la campana) se convirtió en “sastre” (tailor) y “denotar” (mark) se convirtió en “hacer” (make) (Fuente: University of Chicago Guild of Change Ringers)

En la víspera de Año Nuevo, lord Peter sufre un accidente de coche y su vehículo termina en una zanja. Afortunadamente ni él ni su fiel criado Bunter resultan heridos y se las arreglan para llegar a Fenchurch St. Paul, un pueblo cercano, donde el rector de la parroquia, el Sr. Theodore Venables les ofrece alojamiento. El Rector, un entusiasta campanólogo, tiene previsto realizar un carrillón de ocho horas repicando las campanas de la iglesia para recibir al Año Nuevo. Sin embargo pronto su propósito estará en peligro cuando se entera de que William Thoday, uno de los ocho campaneros, tiene gripe y no hay nadie para ocupar su lugar. Por casualidad, Lord Peter, aunque algo falto de práctica, está familiarizado con el arte del repique de campanas y la situación se resuelva con éxito cuando se ofrece para ocupar el lugar de Thoday.

A la mañana siguiente, Sir Henry, el terrateniente local, envía aviso de que su mujer, lady Thorpe, se encuentra en estado crítico y que está deseando recibir los Sacramentos. De hecho, lady Thorpe fallece ese mismo día y es enterrada al día siguiente. Al mismo tiempo, Lord Peter se entera de que hace unos veinte años, en el día de su boda, los Thorpes se arruinaron tras el robo, aún sin resolver, de un valioso collar de esmeraldas. Sin embargo, a pesar de que el culpable y su cómplice fueron encarcelados, el collar no se pudo recuperar.

Tres meses después, en Pascua, el propio Sir Henry fallece y al abrir la tumba para enterrarlo junto a su esposa, para sorpresa de todos, aparece el cuerpo de un hombre enterrado junto a su ataúd. El cadáver ha sido gravemente mutilado para evitar su identificación. En ausencia de cualquier pista que pueda ayudar a resolver el caso, el Rector solicita ayuda a Lord Peter para identificar el cuerpo.

Dorothy L Sayers nació en Oxford en 1893, y fue a la vez una estudiosa de las lenguas clásicas y se graduó en lenguas modernas. Además de su popular serie protagonizada por Lord Peter Wimsey, escribió varias obras religiosas, pero consideró su mejor obra su traducción de La Divina Comedia de Dante. Falleció en 1957. El orden de su serie de misterio es: El cadáver con lentes (Whose Body? 1923); Clouds of Witness, 1926; Muerte natural (Unnatural Death, 1927) ); El misterio del Bellona Club (The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, 1928) ); Veneno mortal (Strong Poison, 1930); Cinco pistas falsas (Five Red Herrings, 1931) ); Un cadáver para Harriet Vane / El caso del bailarín barbudo (Have His Carcase, 1932) ); Muerte, agente de publicidad (Murder Must Advertise, 1933) ); Los nueve sastres / Nueves campanadas / Nueve campanas (The Nine Tailors, 1934); Los secretos de Oxford (Gaudy Night, 1935) ) y Luna de miel / Luna de miel trágica (Busman’s Honeymoon, 1937)). He señalado en negrita las novelas que más me interesan.

Los nueve satres es el primer libro que he leído de Dorothy L. Sayers y estoy convencido de que no será el último. Sin duda hace honor a su reputación ya que generalmente se incluye en la mayoría de las listas de los mejores libros de misterio de todos los tiempos. En mi opinión, es un libro fantástico y he disfrutado mucho leyéndelo. Esto es probablemente porque, como Rob Kitchin ha señalado con razón, cumple con todos los requisitos exigidos. Está magníficamente escrito y es un misterio literario excelente; la trama es muy interesante y la historia está bien desarrollada; los personajes están bien dibujados e interactúan de forma creíble; su resolución es impecable y tiene un buen sentido del tiempo y del lugar. Francamente, no podía imaginarme que iba a disfrutar tanto de un “cozy mystery”. Aunque es más bien un libro de misterio que una novela negra.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)