(Lord Peter Wimsey #2)
by Dorothy L. Sayers
When blood stains his family name, Lord Peter fights to save what he holds most dear.
After three months in Corsica, Lord Peter Wimsey has begun to forget that the gray, dangerous moors of England ever existed. But traveling through Paris, he receives a shock that jolts him back to reality. He sees it in the headlines splashed across every English paper—his brother Gerald has been arrested for murder.
The trouble began at the family estate in Yorkshire, where Gerald was hunting with the man soon to be his brother-in-law, Captain Denis Cathcart. One night, Gerald confronts Cathcart with allegations about his unsavory past, leading the captain to call off the wedding. Just a few hours later, Cathcart is dead, with Gerald presumed to be the only person who could have fired the fatal shot. The clock is ticking, and only England’s premier sleuth can get to the bottom of this murky mystery.
My Reaction (with marked SPOILERS):
(This was another shared read with Donald.)
This is the third "Lord Peter" book we've read. The first in the series, Whose Body?, didn't make a lasting impression on me, for some reason. I can barely remember anything about it at all, good or bad. (This may say as much about my memory as it does about the book.) More recently, we read a collection of short stories, which I enjoyed (on the whole), but which skips down the entire chronology of the novels (and obviously is made up of short stories, which I don't usually like quite as much as novels).
In brief, this was enjoyable in spots, a little less so in others. I'm happy enough to continue the series, especially since I understand that some of the strongest books are yet to come.
I found it more than a bit ridiculous that...
Um, spoiler alert?
...in this group of people (including Lord Peter himself!), cheating at cards was apparently more scandalous and less understandable/forgivable than cheating on your spouse. I'm not at all impressed by that, if I'm honest, and it has slightly lowered my good opinion of Wimsey, for the moment. Maybe he'll redeem himself in the next book.
While a particular plot point... Hm.
Time for another SPOILER ALERT!
As I was saying, while a particular plot point (the fact that the "murder" wasn't actually a murder at all) may have been relatively fresh and original when this was written, it doesn't have quite the same element of surprise, these days. Add to that the fact that I don't love it when murder mysteries turn out that way and we have another minor strike against this book, from my point of view. That said, if you don't guess what's happened, you get all the same fun of trying to unravel the mystery, no matter what the solution turns out to be.
To end on a positive note, I enjoyed the overall feel of the book-- especially the bright spots of humor. As has been said before, Lord Peter is a more intelligent and capable version of Bertie Wooster, which is a selling point for the Wodehouse fans among us. He even has his own type of Jeeves in the unflappable Bunter!