Whose Body? (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)

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Overview

Murder is hardly the best way for Lord Peter and his bride, the famous mystery writer Harriet Vane, to start their honeymoon. It all begins when the former owner of their newly acquired estate is found quite nastily dead in the cellar. And what Lord Peter had hoped would be a very private and romantic stay in the country soon turns into a most baffling case, what with the misspelled "notise" to the milkman and the intriguing condition of the dead man — not a spot of blood on his smashed skull and not a pence less...
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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Classic)

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Overview

Murder is hardly the best way for Lord Peter and his bride, the famous mystery writer Harriet Vane, to start their honeymoon. It all begins when the former owner of their newly acquired estate is found quite nastily dead in the cellar. And what Lord Peter had hoped would be a very private and romantic stay in the country soon turns into a most baffling case, what with the misspelled "notise" to the milkman and the intriguing condition of the dead man — not a spot of blood on his smashed skull and not a pence less than six hundred pounds in his pocket.

Author Biography: Dorothy L. Sayers is the author of novels, short stories, poetry collections, essays, reviews and translations. Although she was a noted Christian scholar, she is most known for her detective fiction. Born in 1893, she was one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Oxford University. Her first book featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Whose Body?, was published in 1923 and over the next 20 years more novels and short stories about the aristocratic amateur sleuth appeared. Dorothy L. Sayers is recognized as one of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century.

Letter from the Editor:

Dorothy L. Sayers is recognized as one of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century. In 1923, Whose Body?, her first book, featuring the aristocratic amateur sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, was published, and over the next 20 years more novels and short stories appeared. All 15 of Sayers' mysteries are available from HarperPaperbacks.

Now there is a new Dorothy L. Sayers novel. A long-lost partial manuscript titled Thrones, Dominions was discovered last year, and acclaimed mystery writer Jill Paton Walsh has completed it. St. Martin's Press will publish this book in February. This is a signal publishing event, and HarperCollins congratulates St. Martin's Press.

We are sure that Thrones, Dominions will delight Sayers' fans and find new ones for her, and in the process whet appetites for Sayers' other mysteries. A list of these books is attached. In the words of Dorothy L. Sayers herself, "Murder must advertise." So, in addition to an announcement about Thrones, Dominions in a recent issue of Publisher's Weekly, the next edition of the HarperCollins mystery newsletter, Deadline, will include a piece on the Sayers books, as will St. Martin's Press' newsletter, Murder at the Flatiron Building. HarperCollins will also feature information about the Sayers' backlist on its web page.

Dorothy L. Sayers died in 1957, but her books continue to enthrall readers today. Please help us celebrate the doyenne of the Golden Age of the Mystery, Dorothy L. Sayers.

RunTime: 7 hrs, 1 CD. * Mp3 CD Format *. Meet Lord Peter Wimsey, stylish, eccentric, seeming a fool, but in fact one of the great English detectives. The discovery of a body in a bathtub wearing only a pair of spectacles, launches a motley set of sleuths and suspects toward a ghastly conclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
[This] tale is better written, and has a good deal more of characterization than one finds in the average detective story. . . The interest of the narrative is maintained up to the very end, and if Miss Sayers can maintain the standard she has set for herself in this tale, there seems to be no reason why the discerning, but by no means infallible, Lord Peter should not become one of the best-liked among the many amateur detectives of fiction. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, May 1923
New York Times Book Review
Busman's Honeymoon has everything -- mystery, comedy, love, and drama -- all served up in Dorothy Sayer's best style.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061043574
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Series: Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893–1957), one of Britain's premier crime writers, is the author of fourteen novels and short story collections featuring amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey as well as four other novels in collaboration and two serial stories for broadcasting.

Roe Kendall is an acclaimed audiobook narrator whose titles include Peter Pan by James M. Barrie and Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.

Biography

Dorothy L. Sayers, the greatest of the golden age detective novelists, was born in Oxford in 1893. She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University and worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency from 1921 to 1932. Her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, became one of the most popular fictional heroes of the twentieth century. Dorothy L. Sayers also became famous for her religious plays, notably The Man Born to be King, which was broadcast controversially during the war years, but she considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her best work. She died in 1957.

Author biography courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Dorothy Leigh Sayers (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 13, 1893
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Death:
      December 17, 1957

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

NEW-WEDDED LORD
I agree with Dryden, that "Marriage is a noble daring."
-SAMUEL JOHNSON, TABLE TALK

Mr. Mervyn Bunter, patiently seated in the Daimler on the far side of Regent's Park, reflected that time was getting on. Packed in eiderdowns in the back of the car was a case containing two and a half dozen of vintage port, and he was anxious about it. Great speed would render the wine undrinkable for a fortnight; excessive speed would render it undrinkable for six months. He was anxious about the arrangements—or the lack of them—at Talboys. He hoped everything would be found in good order when they arrived—otherwise, his lady and gentleman might get nothing to eat till goodness knew when. True, he had brought ample supplies from Fortnum's, but suppose there were no knives or forks or plates available. He wished he could have gone ahead, as originally instructed, to see to things. Not but what his lordship was always ready to put up with what couldn't be helped; but it was unsuitable that his lordship should be called on to put up with anything—besides, the lady was still, to some extent, an unknown factor. What his lordship had had to put up with from her during the past five or six years, only his lordship knew, but Mr. Bunter could guess. True, the lady seemed now to be in a very satisfactory way of amendment; but it was yet to be ascertained what her conduct would be under the strain of trivial inconvenience. Mr. Bunter was professionally accustomed to judge human beings by their behavior, not in great crises, but in the minor adjustments of daily life. Hehad seen one lady threatened with dismissal from his lordship's service (including all emoluments and the enjoyment of an appartement meuble, Ave. Kleber) for having, in his presence, unreasonably lost her temper with a lady's maid: but wives were not subject to peremptory dismissal. Mr. Bunter was anxious, also, about how things were going at the Dowager's; he did not really believe that anything could be suitably organized or carried out without his assistance.

He was unspeakably relieved to see the taxi arrive and to assure himself that there was no newspaper man perched on the spare wheel, or lurking in a following vehicle.

"Here we are, Bunter. All serene? Good man. I'll drive. Sure you won't be cold, Harriet?"

Mr. Bunter tucked a rug about the bride's knees.

"Your lordship will bear in mind that we are conveying the port?"

"I will go as gingerly as if it were a baby in arms. What's the matter with the rug?"

"A few grains of cereal, my lord. I have taken the liberty of removing approximately a pound and three-quarters from among the hand-luggage, together with a quantity of assorted footgear."

"That must have been Lord Saint-George," said Harriet.

"Presumably so, my lady."

"My lady"—she had never really thought it possible that Bunter would accept the situation. Everybody else, perhaps, but not Bunter. Yet apparently he did. And that being so, the incredible must have happened. She must be actually married to Peter Wimsey. She sat looking at Peter, as the car twisted smoothly in and out of the traffic. The high, beaked profile, and the long hands laid on the wheel had been familiar to her for a long time now; but they were suddenly the face and hands of a stranger. (Peter's hands, holding the keys of hell and heaven . . . that was the novelist's habit, of thinking of everything in terms of literary allusions.)

"Peter!"

"My dear?"

"I was just wondering whether I should recognize your voice—your face seems to have got rather remote, somehow."

She saw the comer of his long mouth twitch.

"Not quite the same person?"

"No."

"Don't worry," he said, imperturbably, "it'll be all right on the night."




Too much experience to be surprised, and too much honesty to pretend not to understand. She remembered what had happened four days earlier. He had brought her home after the theater, and they were standing before the fire, when she had said something—quite casually, laughing at him. He had turned and said, suddenly and huskily:

"Tu m'enivres!"

Language and voice together had been like a lightningflash, showing up past and future in a single crack of fire that hurt your eyes and was followed by a darkness like thick, black velvet . . . . When his lips had reluctantly freed themselves, he had said:

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake the whole zoo. But I'm glad, my God! to know it's there-and no shabby tigers either."

"Did you think mine would be a shabby tiger?"

"I thought it might, perhaps, be a little daunted."

"Well, it isn't. It seems to be an entirely new tiger. I never had one before—only kindness to animals."

"My lady gave me a tiger,
A sleek and splendid tiger,
A striped and shining tiger,
All under tire leaves of life."

Nobody else, thought Harriet, had apparently suspected the tiger—except of course, old Paul Delagardie, whose ironic eyes saw everything.

Peter's final comment had been:

"I have now completely given myself away. No English vocabulary. No other Englishwoman. And that is the most I can say for myself."




Gradually, they were shaking off the clustering lights of London. The car gathered speed. Peter looked back over his shoulder.

"Not waking the baby, are we, Bunter?"

"The vibration is at present negligible, my lord."




That led memory farther back.

"This question of children, Harriet. Do you feel strongly about it?"

"Well, I'm not quite sure. I'm not marrying you for the sake of having them, if that's what you mean."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Best way to hide a corpse - ever!

    This first novel that introduces Lord Peter Wimsey is a corker! If you like a good mystery, especially a good British mystery, and have not read Dorothy L Sayers, go for it. Only one of her Wimsey novels as ebook (so far).

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable book for those who like British mystery stories without the contemporary penchant for excessive violence and foul language. It features Lord Peter Wimsey in his first appearance. These stories were adapted for TV in the British Mystery series. Those are also enjoyable.

    This e-book is fine-I did not notice distracting misspellings or other artifacts from conversion to electronic format. If Agatha Christie is the foremost British mystery novelist of the 20th century, having created both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, then Dorothy Sayers runs a close second. I deduct a star only because this type of writing may be considered dull by those who grew up on Hannibal Lecter and other more adrenaline producing contemporary crime novels.

    This is a book the whole family can enjoy and introduces the detective Lord Peter Wimsey whose further exploits can be followed in print and on the screen.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2012

    Highly Recommend! Great reading!

    LOVE Dorothy L. Sayers! SO very glad that her books are now in Nook format! Now can "collect" all of her books and keep on Nook for reading again later! I had all of her books in paperback but had to move and get rid of them all! Now won't have to worry! Dorothy L. Sayers is one of the first "ladies" of mystery! We mystery lovers would have no lady writers without Sayers! If you have never read a Sayers book do so and fall in love with the genteel British mystery!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2012

    Thipps goes into his bathroom one morning to find in his bathtub

    Thipps goes into his bathroom one morning to find in his bathtub the dead body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of pince nez glasses. That same night, a businessman bearing modest resemblance to the dead body seems to disappear, leaving his clothes behind. Lord Peter Wimsey (yes, that’s spelled correctly), an amateur detective, takes on the second matter, eventually joining forces with Inspector Parker, the police officer assigned to the first matter. They include Wimsey’s man Bunter, an avid photographer besides his working for Wimsey. Sayers sets up the two incidents well. The mysteries mount: whose body is it and how did it get into Thipps’ bathtub? What happened to Levy, the businessman, and why, and is there a crime there? Are the two incidents related somehow? Thus, this 1920s era mystery develops, primarily in London. Wimsey is an interesting and complex man, a second son who doesn’t inherit the Dukedom, and a man with the time and intelligence to work on crime solving. He apparently has some issues that would today probably be identified as post-traumatic stress from Wimsey’s participation in the Great War (now, WWI). Whether this is a murder mystery or not, I will allow you to discover. Well written, this reader found the pace slower than comfortable, but cleverly put together. The disappeared man Levy, being Jewish, provided more than one comment about him that by current standards would seem prejudiced and pejorative, something uncomfortable. The ending seemed unnecessarily prolonged to me. The overall evaluation? This is good, well written and clever, with an appealing protagonist. In this reader’s opinion, those were worth the disconcerting issues mentioned above.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Great Mystery - compelling reading

    The story line and plot have more twists and turns than a country road. The "villian" is a bit creepy and the author goes a little far into the twisted thinking of the villian, so I didn't suggest this book to my daughters, but I liked it. The end is satisfying and complete. I ended wanting to read the next in the series the same day! I enjoyed it even more!!!! Clouds of Witness is the title.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Recommend for classic fun

    Sayers was one of the really good writers of her time as well as a master chef of mysteries. This is one of her earlier works, & is fun for the perspective of how bodies were ID'd before DNA testing was even dreamed of. Always a satisfying read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    Wow

    Didnt realize these were written so long ago. Want a modern rea like these, find bad to the last drop or too much at stake. Happy reading

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Very Good!

    Dorothy L. Sayers is always a good,light read. This one was just as entertaining as the others and keeps you guessing where she is going next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    So clever

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted August 18, 2014

    enjoyable reading

    It is very entertaining. I was not sure at first, then before I knew it I was really intrigued.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    The story was OK

    The book was OK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Highly recommended

    A classic! Sayers is always a joy to read (and re- read).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    Would you believe an annotated issue of this?

    I kid you not I just bought it and it explains the slang and explaines about food plowmans lunch and all that stuff about clubs and clothes what next? Page counter

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    A literate mystery and a classic english mystery

    The charm is that it is dated now but remember at one time it was very much modern mom

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Hard to follow

    Slow read with strange wording.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews

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