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The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey #7)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,641 Ratings  ·  333 Reviews
During a painting retreat, a killer takes a creative approach to the ancient art of murder

The majestic landscape of the Scottish coast has attracted artists and fishermen for centuries. In the idyllic village of Kirkcudbright, every resident and visitor has two things in common: They either fish or paint (or do both), and they all hate Sandy Campbell. Though a fair painte
ebook, 284 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (first published 1931)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Jan 09, 2012 mark monday rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murdertime
read during my AIG Years

I Remember: surely Sayers can do better... the intriguing mystery gets lost in the unceasingly tedious recounting of all the various permutations of a train schedule... chapter after chapter of train schedules... TRAIN SCHEDULE, TRAIN SCHEDULES, STOP IT ALREADY!... where are the suspects?... oh there they are, only took a half a book to get to them... some good lines here and there... the characters of Wimsey & Bunter remain wonderful but are given little play.
Jul 21, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where I got the book: purchased (used) on Amazon. Continuing my Lord Peter Wimsey re-read.

Ah, the Wimsey book I never liked. I like it better now, but I still think it lacks something of the other books. Wimsey is in Scotland, presumably getting away from it all (it, by now, meaning Harriet Vane, who was in the last book). Somewhat incongruously, he is hanging out in an artists' community, when one of the painters, an argumentative bugger called Campbell, is found dead. And Wimsey immediately kn
Jan 16, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second chapter of ‘Five Red Herrings’, as Lord Peter Wimsey examines the newly discovered corpse, he starts to frantically look around for a specific item. A police sergeant asks him what he’s hunting for – and the following paragraph appears in parenthesis:

“Here Lord Peter Wimsey told the Sergeant what he was looking for and why, but as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted from this page.”

Now I would say that virtually no reader is going
Susan Johnson
Feb 21, 2015 Susan Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this little mystery set in Scotland. It may be that I am just fond of Scotland but I found this delightful. First of all, the last place I would have thought to find Lord Peter is fishing in the Highlands. The thought of that alone makes me giggle.

The murder surrounds a disliked artist and five other painter/fishermen are the suspects. It's quite entertaining as Peter makes his way through the conflicting alibis. The ending was a surprise for me.

I thought it was a lot of fun.
This book has a fun setup, from a mystery aspect: in a small artist's community in Scotland, a man named Campbell is found dead at the base of a cliff, having apparently fallen to his death. But it wasn't an accident, obviously, and soon the local police, aided by his wonderfulness Lord Peter Wimsey, are on the case. There are some complications: Campbell has multiple enemies in the town, the six most likely suspects all have alibis for the time of death, and although Campbell was killed sometim ...more
Nov 28, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Lately I've been reading a lot of mysteries. They are a fun way of spending an evening at home when there is nothing good to watch and the secondary literature in my academic discipline begins to seem a little tedious. *The Five Red Herrings* is a fine example of the genre. Unlike other Dorothy Sayers books, the mystery was done in the form of character sketches: every chapter focused on a single character, and the chapters were even named after the theme character, and the style of writing chan ...more
Douglas Wilson
Nov 09, 2015 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this once before, not sure when. Just finished it again. Good fun, but I clearly don't have the kind of mind that devours detective fiction. It is like watching five different people solve a crossword puzzle five different ways, followed by a triumphal resolution.
Jan 02, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, audio
Five Red Herrings was probably my least favourite of the Wimsey books, and I found it rather infuriating as a radioplay, too. One entire episode was given over to people all expounding wrong theories about the murderer -- theories which I knew to be wrong. The end of the episode, where Peter says they're all wrong, is the highlight of the whole thing, and couldn't come soon enough.

The mystery itself is interesting, but far too convoluted.

The casting was pretty good, though I missed Gabriel Wolf
1931, #6 Lord Peter Wimsey, on holiday in Scotland, apa SUSPICIOUS CHARACTERS; an artists' colony in a wee town in Scotland is filled with odd stories, peculiar alibis, and confused police after the most unliked man in town gets himself messily murdered whilst painting a landscape. Classic timetable plot with a peculiar attitude, four stars.

Campbell is a completely unlikable man, the Perfect Victim - a murder just waiting to happen! He makes himself thoroughly unpleasant quite regularly in the l
Moira Fogarty
Feb 26, 2012 Moira Fogarty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
Yikes. I love Lord Peter, but this might well be Sayers' worst effort.

Five Red Herrings has a lovely setting, taking place in Galloway. The characters are nicely penned, with an affectionate look at Scotland's dogged policemen and the recalcitrant local artists and fishermen whose obstinate refusal to tell the truth prevents them from serving justice.

However, the plot is weak, repetitive and dull. Unless you are obsessed with train tickets, schedules and the minutiae of bicycle speeds, models
Aug 26, 2007 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, mystery, fiction
Meh. I am told Sayers wrote this at a time when railroad timetable mysteries were popular, just to prove she could. I believe it. Basically, the first half of the book features Lord Peter and all the policemen going through all the permutations of Scotland's mindboggling train schedule, as well as six suspects who are barely distinguishable from each other. During the second half, the plot really picks up, and we finally get a little characterisation of each of the suspects, as well as some much ...more
Jun 09, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Some bits of this were funny and just perfectly Peter Wimsey-ical. But a lot of it was routine painstaking working out of timetables and alibis and who was lying when and about what. It doesn't help that one rather feels that the murdered man deserved it, and the suspects don't. Or that the dialogue is mostly written with a stab at phonetically spelling out the Scottish accent/dialect. It's hard to read, and it isn't terribly rewarding, allow the last fifty pages or so is wonderful.

There isn't e
This is my first read of Sayers and her Lord Peter Wimsey and i can see why the series,the character is still read decades after. Wimsey was a good,smart detective without overdoing it and more important he had a humorous side, a personality that was fun to read. Sayers prose, style specially early in the novel was impressive, the strengths of the book.

The weakness of the novel was the detective story when dealing with police detectives. Also she overdid with the too detailed,over-thought wild t
May 04, 2015 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember finding this book a bit boring when I first read in it my late teens and as a result I haven't re-read until now. I actually enjoyed this re-reading. There is a great deal of humour in it one way and another and some of the dialogue made me laugh.

An artist is found dead and at first it looks as though he could have simply slipped and fallen down some rocks into a stream but Peter Wimsey is sure it is murder because of something missing from the scene. The 'something missing' is caref
This is a difficult book to read, and I would recommend starting out with a notebook and pencil to follow events.
An aggressive and unpleasant artist is found dead by a burn in Scotland. Lord Peter Wimsey enters the scene and decides that it is a murder. Dorothy Sayers lets her readers know that at the scene there is a clue to be identified. This is reinforced later on and it is easy to identify the culprit if one does not get bamboozled by railway timetables. There are six artist suspects, but f
Ahh, this one was so boring! Most of the book is theories about what COULD have happened in excruciating detail. And it's set in Scotland and the Scots dialogue is written out, which I find very hard to read. And there are far too many new characters! I could not keep track of them.
This one was difficult in a way I didn't except : the Scottish accent in print. It definitely adds colours and atmosphere but it's a pain to read. The whole five of the six suspects are red herring is interesting but gets a bit muddle near the end. The culprit is found and the police is told in a exquisite reenactment (we are in 1931) that includes missed trains, wayward bicycles and second breakfast. Still, Sayers more average work is better than most mystery novels.
Felisa Rosa
I absolutely adore Dorothy Sayers, but sometimes her plots get a overly detailed and technical. This book suffered from an abundance of train schedules and a severe shortage of Bunter, the world's greatest manservant. Still a good read, though.
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Dorothy L Sayers' mystery with Ian Carmichael as the upper class sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Nov 27, 2015 Sem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'd read this only once before and it was many years ago so after glancing through some of the more negative reviews I was curious as to how it would strike me on a second reading. My response to the series now isn't quite what it was then and even though I remembered the identity of the culprit I didn't have any recollection of my first impressions. I'll admit that Sayers cheated the reader when it came to the Big Clue (and said so, rather cheekily) although paying attention will reveal its nat ...more
Tory Wagner
I have a subscription to Mystery Magazine and they had an article about quintessential British mystery writers. One of them was Dorothy Sayers who I vaguely remembered my father enjoying so I thought I'd read one and randomly chose The Five Red Herrings. The main character of this series is Lord Peter Wimsey who, rather in the fashion of Hercule Poirot, uses his gray cells to solve mysteries. Lord Wimsey is much more active however and loves to recreate the crimes rather as a play. This mystery ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Dorothea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is an example of the police procedural at its most plodding and colorful characterization at its finest. The book takes place in the artist's colony at Galloway district of Scotland in 1930-ish (book published in 1931). An artist is found dead and, as the title indicates, there are six suspects of whom five are "red herrings". Missing suspects, stolen bicycles, Scottish train schedules, and lying witnesses move suspicion from one suspect to the other and back again throughout the book. Saye ...more
Bill Rogers
Och aye, laddie, ye be havin' Lord Peter Whimsey in Scotland wi' the dialog all in dialect, ye see. An' they all be painters an' fishermen wi' their little crochets an' follies, but tha one thing they can all agree on is they hates this lad Campbell and they all wants him dead.

Well, there be six lads could hae done tha dirty deed, besides tourists an' brogan salesman wandering through to muddy tha waters a wee bit mair. That's one lad guilty a' foul murder an' five lookin' guilty but hae nothin'
Apr 15, 2011 Terra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harrumph. I honestly toyed with giving this two stars. As you kids have undoubtedly figured out if you have been following my recent reading voyages, I think the Lord Peter Wimsey books are the cat's pajamas, the bee's knees, and many other forms of animal clothing and insect anatomy. In short: THEY ARE REALLY VERY AWESOME. However, this particular one just didn't grab me. There were some good zingers in there (and the reenactment of the crime was pretty fantastic--the best section of the book), ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2013, 2015, 2012
05/01/2012 This is not my favorite Wimsey mystery, but I do thoroughly enjoy it. The alibis hinge on a great deal of cleverness with trains and schedules, but since I don't care much for deciphering those sort of things, I tend to skim (or skip entire) over those bits in favor of Wimsey being brilliant. Perhaps my favorite bit is when Wimsey ren-enacts the murder, complete with a corpse (not a real corpse, but someone standing in for it) to prove that his theory will work. A good, solid mystery ...more
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor, classics
Bunter's delivery is compared to The Castle of Otranto. I'm going to have to read that.

As a whole, the book is very like a logic puzzle: lots of train tables, and six different suspects, all of whom are painters, and tons of working out routes. And the ALIBI is the thing compelling the complex scene-setting of the murder, to my amusement, because who ever worries about alibis in real life?

No doubt many would be offended by the Scottish dialect as written (since the assumption is that the English
Carmen Basu-
My first Dorothy L Sayers book, and on the strength of this book, probably my last. Here's what didn't work for me; too many similar - sounding suspects who you didn't care about and didn't get to know, a ridiculous amount of detail on train timetables and bicycles, the unveiling of an important clue at the end which seemed like a cheat and no strong female characters ( a personal gripe I admit). I can the the author is clever and subtle in places, and there are some elegant themes which meant I ...more
May 10, 2011 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
There were plenty of things about this book that I loved: Lord Peter lapsing into blank verse, the accents of the various characters as re-created by the audiobook narrator, the setting, the re-enactment of the crime. However, I was frequently lost in the timetable discussions and I found it very difficult to keep the names and the characteristics (not to mention the alibis!) of the various suspects in my head. As it was an audiobook, there was no easy flipping back a few pages to work things ou ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a superbly crafted mystery - very complicated - and very clever. The setting is Scotland and there is some serious scots dialect to tangle with, which slowed me down a few times till I got used to it. As this was first published in the 1930's there a couple of uses of some very un pc langauge which grates. However it is a very enjoyable "whodunnit" which really keeps you guessing. Lord Peter Wimsey of course is brillliant, a very entertaining character -as is his hilarious butler Bunter ...more
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Audiobooks: Five Red Herrings 5 54 Dec 06, 2013 08:59AM  
Kindle English My...: March 2013 Group Read - Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L sayers 43 50 Mar 27, 2013 11:24AM  
Too long 5 31 Mar 15, 2013 04:30PM  
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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)
  • Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1)
  • 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)
  • 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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“Still, it doesn't do to murder people, no matter how offensive they may be.” 53 likes
“I think the most joyous thing in life is to loaf around and watch another bloke do a job of work. Look how popular are the men who dig up London with electric drills. Duke's son, cook's son, son of a hundred kings, people will stand there for hours on end, ear drums splitting. Why? Simply for the pleasure of being idle while watching other people work.” 7 likes
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