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Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Dorothy L. Sayers
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excess of Deceit March 3 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Dr. Edward Carr overhears Lord Peter Wimsey and Detective Charles Parker discussing crime and the responsibility of the medical profession, he is drawn to share a perplexing problem of his own. When a patient of his who was slowly dying of cancer suddenly took much worse and died, he was unable to sign the death certificate with confidence and insisted on a post mortem, greatly discomfiting the survivor, one Mary Whittaker. When nothing suspicious is found, Dr. Carr found himself losing patients, and eventually had to sell his practice.
Wimsey is intrigued, and, despite the misgivings of both the doctor and Detective Parker, dispatches the elderly Miss Alexandra Climpson to gather information in the town of Leahampton while he pursues other leads in London. He finds many suspicions, but no facts, even when one death and then another are reported. In each case there are no indications of foul play, and Wimsey becomes convinced that he has grabbed the tail of the perfect crime. His opinion is not shared by Parker, however, and it is only reluctantly that the latter consents to investigate.
Gradually circumstance builds, and even Parker must admit that there are many questions to be answers. Yet all are baffled. Even knowing who the perpetrator must be, the investigators are unable to formulate a case that will stand in court. Wimsey is up against one of those sociopathic minds that pays careful attention to detail and apparently has the means to murder as if by magic. Dorothy Sayers has created a truly baffling case.
The greatest delight of this novel is the first appearance of Miss Alexandra Climpson. A delightfully sharp woman who is a persistent and dedicated investigator in the service of Lord Peter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unnatural Death Dec 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Carr, who had been forced to give up his practice for believing the death of Agatha Dawson to be murder despite the absence of any cause other than natural causes, told his story to Lord Peter Wimsey and Chief Inspector Parker (who is erroneously called 'sir' by a Superintendent). While Parker remained unconvinced, Wimsey believed that he had found "the case [he had] always been looking for. The case of cases. The murder without discernible means, or motives or clue. The norm"-for he believed that there were far more unsuspected murders than the "failures" known to Scotland Yard. There was no evidence to suggest how Miss Dawson could have died other than from natural causes-yet all the clues pointed to murder having been done. For example, there was the death of Miss Dawson's maid, Bertha Gotobed, also of natural causes-yet the presence of an empty bottle of beer, the absence of a bottle-opener, and the presence of highly expensive ham, discovered in a Baileyesque investigation, all indicated that somebody else had been on the scene. And Bertha Gotobed's sister, Mrs. Cropper, returning from Canada, saw Miss Dawson's great-niece Mary Whittaker waiting for her at the train station. Mary Whittaker, who stood to gain if she killed her great-aunt before the New Property Act was passed, struck Wimsey as the main suspect-and this is one of Sayers' books, like WHOSE BODY? and STRONG POISON, where the villain's identity is obvious from the start, allowing Sayers to create a memorable portrait of evil, for "when a woman is wicked and unscrupulous, she is the most ruthless criminal in the world-fifty times more than a man, because she is always so much more single-minded about it." Wimsey sends Miss Climpson-who is his "ears and [his] tongue, and especially [his] nose. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to Listen To July 11 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Ian Carmichael is one of the best readers I've come across. If you've seen him as Lord Peter Wimsey on TV and been, shall we say, ambivalent about his portrayal, don't let that turn you away from the audiotapes. On tape, Mr. Carmichael catches the essence of Peter Wimsey: the quick, light speech; the self-aware mockery; sensitivity covered up by quotations and babbling.
Unnatural Death has always been one of my favorite Sayers (and also has one of the most fabulous last lines in popular fiction). In Unnatural Death, you get a hefty dose of Ms Climpson, a pro-active Parker and vignettes of village life (something that Sayers does very well). The plot is a tad convoluted (there are some points I still puzzle over), but psychologically, the murders all make sense.
One of her earlier novels, Unnatural Death does not delve as deeply into morality or characterization as some of Sayers' later works. But it is still a satisfying listen that is more than a mere puzzle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Lord Peter Wimsey mystery Oct. 22 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found this book to be probably the best of all of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. The plotting is tight and all the threads are pulled together for the reader. A nice touch is that neither Lord Peter nor Parker are superhuman detectives who miraculously discern the truth at every step. Instead, they are allowed to make mistakes and even be a bit slow sometimes in getting to the truth, which makes them completely believeable. But the best part of the book was the great atmosphere - Ms Sayers brings 1920's England vividly to life so much so you feel you are actually there. I liked the way the story shifts back and forth between London and the countryside. Also, what fun to be introduced to Mr. Murbles and Miss Climpson - surely some of the most entertaining characters ever created in detective fiction! I read all the mysteries written subsequently and was a little disappointed that their characters are not more fully developed in later books - both appear in other novels but not to the extent I would have wished. All in all, it's an unputdownable mystery - try it and you will be hooked!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dorothy Sayers always meets expectations
Published 2 months ago by Ducky
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery with style!
Dorothy Sayers, a.k.a. Dorothy Leigh Sayers Fleming, one of the first women to ever be granted a degree from Oxford University, created one of the leading figures in, and indeed in... Read more
Published on March 17 2006 by FrKurt Messick
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery with style
Dorothy Sayers, a.k.a. Dorothy Leigh Sayers Fleming, one of the first women to ever be granted a degree from Oxford University, created one of the leading figures in, and indeed in... Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2006 by FrKurt Messick
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder with style!
Dorothy Sayers, a.k.a. Dorothy Leigh Sayers Fleming, one of the first women to ever be granted a degree from Oxford University, created one of the leading figures in, and indeed in... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2005 by FrKurt Messick
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery with style
Dorothy Sayers, a.k.a. Dorothy Leigh Sayers Fleming, one of the first women to ever be granted a degree from Oxford University, created one of the leading figures in, and indeed in... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2005 by FrKurt Messick
4.0 out of 5 stars Unnatural death - a great listen
The audio book is wonderful. Ian Carmichael does a fabulous job and creates real atmosphere for this stereotypical 'cozy' English murder mystery. Read more
Published on May 21 2004 by Julia H. Weaver
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun
I had a lot of fun reading this story.. And thats the point! Its not just about complicated stories, or even about keeping the reader guessing till the end. Read more
Published on July 29 2000 by "bijesh"
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable!
This is a very fun book to read, especially in order of the series. The more we find out about Lord Peter, the more interesting he becomes. Read more
Published on July 13 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Dorothy L. Sayers most brilliant achievements
This one did it for me.
Dorothy Sayers had such a brilliant mind, to dream up this one. There is a brooding and tense atmosphere to this novel that is unrelenting and in every... Read more
Published on May 3 1999
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