Clouds of Witness Mass Market Paperback
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About the Author
Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893 –1957) was a renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages. She is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She is also known for her plays and essays. Sayers's most notable religious book is probably The Mind of the Maker which explores at length the analogy between a human Creator (especially a writer of novels and plays) and the doctrine of The Trinity in creation. She suggests that any human creation of significance involves the Idea, the Energy (roughly: the process of writing and that actual 'incarnation' as a material object) and the Power and that this "trinity" has useful analogies with the theological Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In addition to the ingenious thinking in working out this analogy, the book contains striking examples drawn from her own experiences as a writer and elegant criticisms of writers when the balance between Idea, Energy and Power is not, in her view, adequate. She defends strongly the view that literary creatures have a nature of their own, vehemently replying to a well-wisher who wanted Lord Peter to "end up a convinced Christian". "From what I know of him, nothing is more unlikely... Peter is not the Ideal Man". Her very influential essay The Lost Tools of Learning has been used by many schools in the US as a basis for the classical education movement, reviving the medieval trivium subjects (grammar, logic and rhetoric) as tools to enable the analysis and mastery of every other subject. Sayers also wrote three volumes of commentaries about Dante, religious essays, and several plays, of which The Man Born to be King may be the best known. Her religious works did so well at presenting the orthodox Anglican position that, in 1943, the Archbishop of Canterbury offered her a Lambeth doctorate in divinity, which she declined. In 1950, however, she accepted an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Durham. Although she never describes herself as such, her economic and political ideas, rooted as they are in the classical Christian doctrines of Creation and Incarnation, are very close to the Chesterton-Belloc theory of Distributism. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers.―E. C. Bentley, Daily Telegraph
She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit.―P. D. James
I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail―Ruth Rendell
Her books are English Literature at its best. Her plots are finely tuned and her Lord Peter Wimsey is delightful―The Times (letter) --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lord Peter returns from Corsica. To find his older brother the Duke of Denver practically accused of murder. What is worse is his brother is not talking. So it is up to Peter to find out what happened and clear his brother.
In the process he puts his foot in it and practically gets all his relatives and friends accused. As with all Sayers' stories nothing is simple there are overlapping plots and foolish deeds, as if Peter can not figure them out. On the side we learn a little about English society and ballistics.
This particular media is the cassette edition with Ian Carmichael. There is a version with Petherbridge but it is abbreviated and you need to hear every word to make the magic of the mystery work. Ian does speak rather fast and once in a while you get the detective mixed up with Peter. So I suggest you also read the book. However the tape has the advantage of inflection and is also desirable for the morning commute.
Dorothy Sayers (1893 - 1957) is surely one of the most popular mystery writers of all time. Today, some years after her death, her stories continue to be widely read. With "Clouds of Witness" her protagonist Lord Peter Wimsey is called upon to investigate the death of his sister's fiancé. At least it may have been a fragrant departure as the recently murdered was found dead among the chrysanthemums, sartorially perfect in dinner jacket and slippers.
Most shocking is the fact that Sir Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, stands accused. Surely that cannot be so. Sir Peter begins his own investigation in order to save his brother.
As is often the case, Sayers creates a surprising courtroom scene and Carmichael reads it with gusto.
- Gail Cooke
Sayers' writing is always textured and witty, and her Riddlesdale Lodge is just the type of country house an Anglophile mystery reader will enjoy spending a few days. After three Wimsey mysteries I am undeniably hooked, but will spread out my reading of the other eight or nine so as to savor them over a long period.