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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club [Mass Market Paperback]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
Among the more successful mysteries is Dorothy Sayers' "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club." A very wealthy woman dies, leaving a fortune to her brother if he is still alive, otherwise to a young female companion. When the brother is found dead in his chair at the Club, the novel becomes, not a whodunit, but a "whenwasitdun," a question much on the mind of not only the heirs of the two deceased persons but of Lord Peter Wimsey, who is asked by the brother's lawyer to help establish the time of the brother's death (that of the sister being certain).

The question of When is answered halfway through the novel. But even before that, the other questions of how he died and by whose hand become paramount; and Wimsey winds up offending almost everybody concerned in his inexorable quest for the solution. There is a certain tongue-in-cheek element in Sayers' writing that calls out for a good reading--and that is exactly what we get in the Audio Partner's set of 6 audio cassettes with none other than Lord Peter himself, which is to say Ian Carmichael, doing the honors.
Having read the book twice in the past and watched the Acorn Media video release many times, I enjoyed listening to this tape even more, picturing in my mind the scenes from the television version, which seems to be remarkably faithful to the novel. This set is highly recommended for those who love a good mystery, well-told and (here) well read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars General Rigor Mortis March 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Lord Peter Wimsey comes down to the Bellona club to dine with an old friend he little expected to find the 90 year old General Fentiman sitting quietly by the fire in full rigor mortis. Nor, did he expect to be confronted with a case about which one of the General or his sister, Lady Dormer, predeceased the other. But, seeing that it was a matter of some half million pounds he was delighted to oblige old Mr. Murbles, the family solicitor.
It turns out that establishing Fentiman's time of death is going to be a major feat. No one, including his heirs, the staff of the Bellona Club and most of London seems to recall what the General was doing that morning, or when he showed up, opened his newspaper and promptly expired. Worse, what few facts that Wimsey can put together convince him that something was very, very wrong with Fentiman's timely ticking off. Suddenly this is no longer a case of friendly detection but a serious investigation into a murder.
'The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club' was one of Dorothy Sayers' early smash hits. It shows off Wimsey's charming urbanity against the gemlike setting of his friends and cohorts, only striking serious chords when grim necessity rears its monocled head. Wimsey doesn't act quite as foolish as he was prone to in past novels, which makes him likeable as well as witty. The other regular characters have also acquired some extra depth that makes everyone a bit more believable. Everyone but the bit players, of course. Each of those is, as usual, a quick, delightful pastiche, one of Sayers greatest talents.
This is one of Sayers' most memorable books, and, despite a plot that is a little too transparent, is one of her most re-readable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantness at the Bellona Club Dec 16 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Dorothy L. Sayers book that I have read, and I can guarantee that it won't be the last. If you're looking for a nice, Golden Age mystery book of quick length, crisp pacing, interesting plot, and colorful characterization, then look no further. The mystery unravels quite rapidly from the start as Lord Peter Wimsey (the foppish and wickedly intelligent protagonist) is taking-in the evening at the private Bellona Club, and a body soon turns up. The club itself is host to many characters, some suspicious, some amusing. Outside the four walls of the Bellona also exist many plots and characters that are fun to meet and get to know. Whether it was murder or natural causes is part of the mystery. And then midway through the book another mystery springs up which takes things in a somewhat different direction. Never boring for a second, this was one of those books that was hard to put down. The atmosphere is good and appropriate throughout, especially a creepy scene in a graveyard. My only qualm is with a portion of the ending, which is a little to civilized for its own good. But that's small in comparison with the rest of this enjoyable Golden Age mystery. I highly recommend it.
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