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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,769 Ratings  ·  1,280 Reviews
The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially witha pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detect ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Createspace (first published 1923)
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Sep 30, 2009 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The very first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, and thus the genesis of one of the most engaging characters I've ever encountered, literary or otherwise. Actually, make that at least two (since Bunter is equally astounding), and maybe three (because the Dowager's quite engaging, too). In rereading this, I found myself surprised at how solid the characters are at the very beginning of the series; they are essentially the same fully-realized people they are ten books later, though we only see certain face ...more

It's difficult for me to be objective about Dorothy L Sayers. Since discovering Strong Poison in the school library when I was about 14, she has been one of my favourite writers and one whose novels I re-read regularly. In the past couple of years I've ventured beyond the novels and the short stories (not being much of a short story reader, I've not read all of these) to read Sayers' collected letters, some of her essays (such as Are Women Human?) and Barbara Reynold's excellent biography, Dorot
At last, I pick up Dorothy Sayers' first mystery novel and finally learn the Origins of Lord Peter!

...except, this isn't an origin story like I was expecting. We don't get to see Lord Peter as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, deciding to become a defender of justice while pretending to be a empty-headed rich playboy (oh man, did anyone else start thinking of Peter Wimsey/Batman slashfic? Maybe Batman builds a time machine and goes back to the 1930's and he and Peter fight crime together while Alfre
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Classic Fans
I understand Sayers is a master and one of the classic mystery writers, in the vein of Agatha Christie. However, I don't find her writing to be as good as Christie's, actually I dislike a lot of her writing style.

Lord Peter Wimsey says the most RIDICULOUS stuff sometimes. He quotes random poetry that is bizarre all the time. He leaves his 'g's off of the end of his gerunds: believin', reckenin', understandin' - and it drives me NUTS.

Another thing I dislike about the novel is all the anti-Semiti
Dan Schwent
Dec 04, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Thipps goes to have his morning bath, only to find the corpse of a naked man wearing only a pince nez in the tub. A first glance, the corpse appears to be that of Lord Levy, a Jewish financier. Only things aren't always as they seem. Fortunately, Lord Peter Wimsey is on the case...

I really liked this one. I have to believe Dorothy Sayers was influenced by P.G. Wodehouse at least a little bit. Lord Peter Wimsey could easily be a Wodehouse character. He's a short pompous British aristocrat, sh
Dec 04, 2011 Mitch rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I feel so badly how much I disliked this book. As a mystery genre fan and avid reader of Agatha Christie, I thought for sure I would enjoy the much-reccomended Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. But alas, I found myself bored and annoyed by the personalities of the characters.

The plot seems interesting enough: a random body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of glasses shows up in a bathtub. Who is he and how did it get there? Book collector Peter Wimsey is on the case! To be ho
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
3 1/2 stars for my second ever Dorothy L Sayers read.

I don't believe I have ever read a book that has quite as much dialogue as this one!

'It might have been burglars.....remember that next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man.......but next time it might be burglars.'

One man disappears and a body is found in a bathtub. Not in the bathtub of the man who has disappeared, but in that of someone totally unrelated! Is the body that of Rueben Levy? It bears a superficial
Jun 21, 2015 Candi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery-crime
This was my first Dorothy Sayers cozy mystery and I enjoyed it. It took me a bit to get used to the writing style; at times I felt like I was missing something in the dialogue or I couldn't quite follow the train of thought of the astute and often amusing Lord Peter Wimsey. I suspect that the story wasn't quite polished, but eventually I settled in and had fun with it.

The character of Lord Peter Wimsey appealed to me, as did his industrious butler, Bunter. I would like to see these characters d

In Whose Body? as with other detective fictions, Dorothy L. Sayers creates a detective as unique as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Father Brown. This is, indeed, the first of her Lord Peter Whimsey stories, featuring the aristocratic amateur detective as he proceeds to investigate various criminal occurrences.

In this particular instance the crime is the sudden appearance of a body in an unused bathtub in the house of one Mr Thripps. There are several peculiarities connected to
⊱ Irena ⊰
Dec 24, 2015 ⊱ Irena ⊰ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Whose Body? is a bit confusing at first. Lord Peter Wimsey appears as silly as you can get, but in time he grows on you. Only once you get to see what the war did to him. It is heartbreaking, but the scene serves to show the relationship between him and his butler.

The books is not perfect. I had to get used to the way the main character speaks. The story starts with a murder mystery and a missing person case and it gets very complicated over time. Not a bad introduction to a series. I wasn't ov
Apr 28, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1923, this is the first in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. Here the reader is introduced to Lord Peter himself, his enterprising butler/valet Bunter, the police investigators Parker and Sugg (the first bright and personable, a worthy and frequent partner for Wimsey, the latter bumbling and irritable, nearly always wrong), and Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess. Readers of a certain age will remember the wonderful BBC television productions of Sayers’ Wimse ...more
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
Read as part of the Book Pals thread at A Good Thriller group.

I've read this before, but I'm more than happy to "rediscover" Lord Peter again. I've always loved him ever since I first watched the Lord Peter Mysteries on Masterpiece Theater starring Ian Carmichael.

In many ways, the Lord Peter Wimsey character is much better than his contemporaries Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Lord Peter is a well-structured character with a history and a family. He also is a veteran of the Great War and suffer
 Carol ♔ Typo Queen! ♔

Challenge from the Reading the Detectives Group. Read at (I don't enjoy reading books online, but the experience improved when I sat at my desk & used a mouse!)

A most enjoyable romp although motivation, plot & method were lacking. What this book had in spades were appealing characters & sparkling dialogue - I especially liked the letter manservant Bunter sent to Lord Peter! A lot of the language & wit reminded me of Wodehouse - a favo
Jan 15, 2016 Kin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
This book fails miserably as a mystery novel. It is plain as day who the murderer is right from the beginning, but flagrantly obvious clues are persistently ignored solely for the sake of prolonging the book. It is a failure as a piece of writing, too: it's peopled with ridiculously typological characters - a typical butler, a typical aristocrat, a typical Scotland Yard officer etc., and it drags on and on, despite its relatively small size, as half of the book consists of lenghty, redundant con ...more
Feb 20, 2012 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
I first read the Peter Wimsey books during my undergrad, when I was doing a crime fiction course. Then, recently, I listened to the radio plays -- I haven't finished yet, in fact. Wimsey endeared himself to me over the course of the novels -- and Ian Carmichael is brilliant for him in the radio plays -- so I come to this first book again ready to find him endearing, to know and love Bunter and Parker and the Dowager Duchess.

I wasn't disappointed. There was more here than I was expecting: the Dow
This book was my first taste of the Lord Peter Wimsey detective series. At the beginning, I was not sure I’d like the style, by the end the charm of the characters and the cunning ability of Lord Peter in catching a megalomaniac murderer won me over. I will probably continue the series.
Jul 26, 2013 booklady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Dorothy L. Sayers through home-schooling as the author of The Lost Tools of Learning. It was only after I read that, and learned she was a contemporary and friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, that I stumbled on her original claim to fame—Lord Peter Wimsey.

Whose Body? is the first of the eleven Lord Peter mysteries she wrote in her lifetime. Each one gets progressively better. I'm stretching it to give this four stars—it's not so good as her later ones, but I don't want to put
Dec 29, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery we are introduced to our amateur detective, his friends and family. Living in a sumptuous apartment in Piccadilly, aided by his manservant Bunter, Wimsey is a collector of books with a hobby of criminal investigation. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver is supportive of this interest and telephones him one morning to inform him that the architect working on the church roof was most upset, as he found a dead body in his bath. As a body is found, anoth ...more
What a delightful discovery this was!

I am not so fond of mysteries and detective novels as I used to be back in the day when nothing was more awesome for my young self than Agatha Christie's cozy novels, so picking up this was accompanied with some trepidation. On top, this novel had to live up to preceding high expectations. And it did!

The mystery to be solved here, that of a naked body found on a bath not in his house with nothing but a golden pince-nez on and that resembles superficially a mi
Moonlight Reader
“Why can’t you marry and settle down and live quietly, doin’ something useful?” said the Duke, unappeased.

“Because that was a wash-out as you perfectly well know,” said Peter; “besides,” he added cheerfully, “I’m bein’ no end useful. You may come to want me yourself, you never know. When anybody comes blackmailin' you, Gerald, or your first deserted wife turns up unexpectedly from the West Indies, you’ll realize the pull of havin’ a private detective in the family. ‘Delicate private business arr
Mar 18, 2015 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, audio
Featuring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, Peter Jones as Bunter, and Gabriel Woolf as Inspector Parker

I think the casting for the BBC radioplay adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers was nigh on perfect. Ian Carmichael might’ve been too old to play Peter, but it doesn’t show in his voice, and he perfectly conveys the warmth and humour, the silliness, and the underlying strength. I can never get used to the new voice actor for Parker in the later episodes, either: Gabriel Woolf sounds just perfect
Abigail Bok
A man has been found dead in a bath; another has gone missing the same night. It is immediately established that they are not the same person, and nobody knows who the man in the bath might be, or where the missing man may be sought. A mediocre detective arrests the first people who come to hand, and an amateur detective, assisted by a professional who’s a friend, step in to rectify the situation.

I hadn’t read the Lord Peter Wimsey series of mysteries since I gulped them down uncritically in my
I've read all the Wimsey novels in the past, but am now taking part in a reread. This first novel isn't as good as later entries in the series, but is still an enjoyable read, even third time around. It introduces us to the aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter, his loyal manservant Bunter and other regular characters, including Peter's wonderfully scatty mother, the Dowager Duchess.

The witty prose style is a delight to read, but in the first few chapters Lord Peter seems rather too silly, reminiscent
Jan 28, 2016 Kavita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What a complete and utter mess of a book! I had been informed by many reliable sources (including Lucy Worsley in her documentary A Very British Murder) that Sayers was even better than Christie where murder mysteries are concerned. They are all wrong!

This mystery has an intriguing enough premise - a naked dead body is found in the home of a harmless man that everyone automatically knew was not the murderer because well, the Wimseys (mother and son) said so! Lord Wimsey is called on to investiga
Dec 01, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, reviewed
Ok, Whose Body just wasn't my cup of tea. Initially I tried it in audiobook format, but couldn't get through it because I thought I didn't care for the narrator. So, I tried it in print. My apologies to Nadia May (the narrator of the audiobook). It wasn't her, it was Whose Body.

This is a fine mystery, certainly nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it appeals to a lot of people. The dialogue was witty and sharp. But there was just so much dialogue. The story moved via the conversations of the char
I enjoyed this glimpse into 1923 London and the sensibilities of post-WWI England upper crust. The murder and the solving of the mystery were interesting and unique from the approach of Sayer's contemporary, Agatha Christie - no "closed room" recitation of who committed the murder and how. We learned about the murder, how it happened and the motivation in a letter penned by the murderer. This part, the ending of the book, went on way too long for me.

Are these mysteries the first "cozies"? Lord P
Mar 17, 2014 BrokenTune rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review first posted on Booklikes:

" ‘You see, Lady Swaffham, if ever you want to commit a murder , the thing you’ve got to do is to prevent people from associatin’ their ideas. Most people don’t associate anythin’ – their ideas just roll about like so many dry peas on a tray, makin’ a lot of noise an’ goin’ nowhere, but once you begin lettin’ ’em string their peas into a necklace, it’s goin’ to be strong enough to hang you, what?’ ‘Dear me!’ said Mrs Tommy
Oct 22, 2015 Norain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, detective
I should say, this was like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s mixed together but not to perfection. It was set in a frame bigger than just identifying who was the murderer (in this book the murderer was announced while there was like a quarter of the book to be finished) so honestly, the thrill was not there. The characters spoke a lot, they must have a gallon extra supply of saliva, and Lord Peter could rant for pages and pages you lost track of what he was actually talking about. But ironi ...more
A dead body of an unknown man is found in a tub of a seemingly harmless local architect, and it is up to Lord Peter Wimsey to prove his innocence. To add to the mystery, somebody shaved this man after his was dead. Lord Peter Wimsey also looks into a disappearance of a prominent financier to help his friend inspector Parker.

This is my first Dorothy Sayers book. I heard so much about her, my expectations probably were too high. The plot was quite good and kept me guessing... for the first half o
Dec 21, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, audio
I read the book itself a while ago, but this is the BBC radioplay. It gives me the terrible urge to say things like "top hole" and "jolly good" and so on -- mimicking Ian Carmichael's tone, of course. I'm late to this party, I know, but he makes an excellent Peter Wimsey: in fact, all the casting is very good. It brings across the tone of the book very well, too. Very fun to listen to -- it made me laugh a fair few times.

(It did also make me realise that if Peter Carmichael of Jo Walton's Small
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Around the Year i...: Whose Body?, by Dorothy L. Sayers 1 9 Mar 14, 2016 07:57PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Series Title Wrong Language 2 14 Feb 24, 2016 08:48AM  
Reading the Detec...: Whose Body? (1923) 158 58 Jan 30, 2016 04:22PM  
Lord Peter's Relapse--Real or Faked? 3 53 Jul 05, 2014 05:08PM  
  • A Presumption of Death (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane, #2)
  • The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)
  • The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Mystery #1)
  • Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn, #25)
  • The Unfinished Clue
  • The Sirens Sang of Murder (Hilary Tamar, #3)
  • The Case Is Closed (Miss Silver, #2)
  • The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5)
  • Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby, #1)
Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers 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 Co
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3)
  • Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #6)
  • Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
  • Have His Carcase  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #8)
  • Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries (Lord Peter Wimsey, #9)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #10)
  • The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, #11)

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