Unnatural Death, by Dorothy L Sayers

>> Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I finally got the book I was expecting, the following one in Dorothy L Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series (this one's # 3). The title is, Unnatural Death, and it was published in the US as The Dawson Pedigree.

THIS IS THE CASE I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LOOKING FOR. THE CASE OF CASES. THE MURDER WITHOUT DISCERNIBLE MEANS, OR MOTIVE OR CLUE."

The wealthy old woman was dead -- a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour--staged by Lord Peter Wimsey, naturally.
Ingenious, intriguing, intrincate and very well put-together. A B+.

Unnatural Death isn't really a whodunnit, but a why- and how-dunnit. We strongly suspect who the culprit is from the very first, so the real fun comes from finding out why this person would do it, and when this becomes obvious, how it was done and the reason for the many things that started happening once Lord Peter started the investigation.

This one is one of the Sayers books I read when I was in high school, almost 10 years ago. The reason I remember is a weird coincidence. A couple of weeks before I read it then, I had to turn in an essay for my English class. Our teacher had had us read a little section of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, and we were supposed to take it from there and do what we wanted with it. Being obsessed with murder mysteries at the time, I turned it into one, and the way I used to murder the guy was one I'd never seen before. I even called my doctor uncle to do some research and see if it was possible. I was pretty surprised when I read Unnatural Death a couple of weeks later and saw it there, too. In a way, it ruined the surprise :-(

Anyway, even with that part of the plot not a mystery anymore, this was more than enjoyable enough.

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