Thus begins Dorothy Sayer's first novel in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Partly a satire of the British upper class, partly a comedy of manners, and mostly the first of a time honored series of detective novels that very nearly reinvented the British mystery story in the 1920's. Lord Peter is the second son of the current generation of the Dukes of Denver, his rather stuffy brother currently holding the title. Lately recovered from some harrowing war experiences and a badly ended relationship, he has come to be an amateur detective as a way to gain a new focus in life. Wimsey is intelligent, only occasionally serious, and a perfect image of the English gentleman.
Accompanying Lord Peter is his most excellent manservant Bunter, who served with him in the war and has become a loyal and true companion. Bunter is the straight man for many of Wimsey's quips and quotes, but has a wry wit of his own, and is probably the first forensic photographer in detective fiction. Lord Peter's other aide in this and ensuing tales is Inspector Parker who is of the same age and equally bright in his own right. A man after my own heart, Parker reads theology for entertainment. While the detection style has much of the same cerebral quality which mark many of Holmes' adventures, Wimsey and his companions are far more accessible than the 'Consulting Detective.'
Sayer's has a unique ability to do caricature, creating little gemlike performances for each of the people who parade through her stories. Be they somewhat dull policemen to distinguished surgeons, nobody is unmemorable. The wonderful characters, and Wimsey's own unique charms are very much the reasons that ''Whose Body' and the rest of the tales remain rereadable long after the plot has been completely memorized. Hopefully, you are a reader newly come to the world of Lord Peter and can look forward to the delights of this discovery. Dorothy Sayers is very much in a class by herself, both in terms of her own achievements and because of the history of her most remarkable invention, Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey.