- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: New English Library (1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061043540
- ISBN-13: 978-0061043543
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.6 x 17.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 113 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,368,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Mass Market Paperback – 1981
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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 Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Dorothy L. Sayers (1923-1957) is the English-born author of novels, short stories, poetry, essays, reviews, and translations. She is best known for her detective fiction, considered among the classics of the genre, and for her amateur detective character, Lord Peter Wimsey. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. The odd thing about a Sayers mystery story is how unimportant it is whether you know or can guess the murderer. 'Who' is less important than 'how' in these tales, and neither is as important as the balletic interaction of the players, most of whom you would like to find in your sitting room - it you had a sitting room large enough, that is.
This is also the first book that displays Wimsey's softer nature with the ladies. While Marjorie Phelps is not destined to become Lord Peter's great love, we see glints of the Peter to come. He shows a fair and attentive style without a hint of macho that will serve him well in his trials to come. I am tempted to say that, if you don't enjoy this book, there is no hope for you as a Sayers fan. That's not completely true, but ' The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club' is a completely representative Sayers effort and one of my perennial favorites.
Wimsey, a member of the club, is asked to discreetly investigate, a situation complicated by the fact that he's friends with both of General Fentiman's heirs, and that Ann Dorland - not unexpectedly - is reluctant to contribute anything which might result in someone else receiving the money. So Wimsey is left to discover when the General died, whether anyone tried to hide this information, and who stands to gain from it. Sayers mixes in plenty of atmosphere of 1920s English civility (with a brief aside to the art culture of the time), and paints a variety of interesting and sympathetic characters. The end result is an entirely satisfying mystery.