Unnatural Death (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)

Unnatural Death (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)

3.8 10
by Dorothy L. Sayers

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The wealthy old woman was dead — a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour  — staged by the debonair sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

"Here the modern detective story begins to come to its own;

…  See more details below


The wealthy old woman was dead — a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour  — staged by the debonair sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

"Here the modern detective story begins to come to its own; and all the historical importance aside, it remains an absorbing and charming story today."

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.72(d)

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Chapter One


"The death was certainly sudden, unexpected, and to meMysterious.


But if he thought the woman was being murdered--"

"My dear Charles," said the young man with the monocle, "it doesn't do for people, especially doctors, to go about 'thinking' things. They may get into frightful trouble. In Pritchard's case, I consider Dr. Paterson did all he reasonably could by refusing a certificate for Mrs. Taylor and sending that uncommonly disquieting letter to the Registrar. He couldn't help the man% being a fool. If there bad only been an inquest on Mrs. Taylor, Pritchard would probably have been frightened off and left his wife alone. After all, Paterson hadn't a spark of real evidence. And suppose he'd been quite wrong--what a dust-up there'd have been!"

"All the same," urged the nondescript young man, dubiously extracting a bubbling-hot Helix Pomatia from its shell, and eyeing it nervously before putting it in his mouth, "surely it's a clear case of public duty to voice one's -suspicions."

"Of your duty--yes," said the other. "By the way, it's not a public duty to eat snails if you don't like 'em. No, I thought you didn't. Why wrestle with a harsh fate any longer? Waiter, take the gentleman's snails away and bring oysters instead.... No-as I was saying, it may be part of your duty to have suspicions and invite investigation and generally raise hell for everybody, and if you're mistaken nobody says much, beyond that you're a smart, painstaking officer though alittle over-zealous. But doctors, poor devils! are everlastingly walking a kind of social tight-rope. People don't fancy calling in a man who's liable to bring out accusations of murder on the smallest provocation."

"Excuse me."

The thin-faced young man sitting alone at the next table had turned round eagerly.

"It's frightfully rude of me. to break in, but every word YOU say is absolutely true, and mine is a case in point. A doctor-you can't have any idea how dependent he is on the fancies and prejudices of -his patients. They resent the most elementary precautions. If you dare to suggest a postmortem, they're up in arms at the idea of 'cutting poor dear So-and-so up,' and even if you only ask permission to investigate an obscure disease in the interests of research, they imagine you're hinting at something unpleasant. Of course, if you let things go, and it turns out afterwards there's been any jiggery-pokery, the coroner jumps down your throat and the newspapers make a butt of you, and, whichever way it is, you wish you'd never been born."

"You speak with personal feeling," said the man with the monocle, with an agreeable air of interest.

"I do," said the thin-faced man, emphatically. "If I had behaved like a man of the world instead of a zealous citizen, I shouldn't be hunting about for a new job today."

The man with the monocle glanced round the little Soho restaurant with a faint smile. The fat man on their right was unctuously entertaining two ladies of the chorus; beyond him, two elderly habitues were showing their acquaintance with the fare at the "Au Bon Bourgeois" by consuming a Tripes 6 la Mode de Caen (which they do very excellently there) and a bottle of Chablis Moutonne 1916; on the other side of the room a provincial and his wife were stupidly clamouring for a cut off the joint with lemonade for the lady and whisky and soda for the gentleman, while at the adjoining table, the handsome silverhaired proprietor, absorbed in fatiguing a salad for a family party, had for the moment no thoughts beyond the nice adjustment of the chopped herbs and garlic. The head waiter, presenting for inspection a plate of Blue River Trout, helped the monocled man and his companion and retired, leaving them in the privacy which unsophisticated people always seek in genteel tea-shops and never, never find there.

"I feel," said the monocled man, "exactly like Prince Florizel of Bohemia. I am confident that YOU, Sir,' have an interesting story to relate, and shall be greatly obliged if you will favour us with the recital. I perceive that you have finished your dinner, and it will therefore perhaps not be disagreeable to you to remove to this table and entertain us with your story while we eat. Pardon my Stevensonian manner-my sympathy is none the less sincere on that account."

"Don't be an ass, Peter," said the nondescript man. "My friend is a much more rational person than you might suppose to hear him talk," he added, turning to the stranger, "and if there's anything you'd like to get off your chest, you may be perfectly certain it won't go any farther."

The other smiled a little grimly.

"I'll tell you about it with pleasure if it won't bore you. It just happens to be a case in point, that's all."

"On my side of the argument," said the man called Peter, with triumph. "Do carry on. Have something to drink. It's a poor heart that never rejoices. And begin right at the beginning, if you will, please. I have a very trivial mind. Detail delights me. Ramifications enchant me. Distance no object. No reasonable offer refused. Charles here will say the same."

"Well," said the stranger, "to begin from the very beginning, I am a medical man...

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Unnatural Death 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect for people who love mysteries and the noble English gentleman detective. Definitely a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Bertie Wooster.
NancyLibrarian More than 1 year ago
This is not the best title of the series, but I still like it. Sayers introduces a new member to the cast of characters around Lord Peter, who appears in many further books: Miss Katherine (Kitty) Climpson, a 50-ish spinster of gentility, poverty and determination. As usual with DLS characters, she is well-drawn, appealing, and at times quite funny. Lord Peter and his close friend Detective Inspector Charles Parker are asked by a young doctor to investigate the death of a cancer patient of 3 years past. He thought Miss Dawson was good for months more, and when he expressed concern, local gossip forced him to leave the area. Lord Peter soon realizes that a change in the inheritance laws probably had something to do with Miss Dawson's hasty death, but the how and the why make a good read. Sayers was chagrined to realize later she had a key medical error in her plot, which I will not give away, and ever after was much more careful in checking her facts--she even lists a doctor as a co-author in her book The Documents In the Case, about mushroom poisoning. Enjoy Miss Climpson, who has an even greater role in Strong Poison, and become further acquainted with the histories of the Wimseys and Parker in this 3rd title in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Question his interference. He will at least be sparred his usual angst at the end sawyer was stuck with his trying to get a murder and not the desth penalty and often by passes the result so as to avoid reminding ever one that shell shock trama can return in whose body the psychiatrist gives his a sound reason for why it returns very sensuble and accurate for that time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiled at him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sneaks u behind Jaes and shots him in the head with a silver bullet from my revolver. His brains coat the ground as i walk out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im there