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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Klub Srebrnego Klucza)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  6,967 ratings  ·  226 reviews
In the hushed Bellona Club, 90-year-old General Fentiman was definitely dead, but the time would determine the half-million-pound heir. Lord Peter Wimsey asks why the General's lapel lacks a red poppy on Armistice Day, how the club phone was fixed without a repairman, and why the corpse's knee swung freely after the rest was stiff with rigor mortis?
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 10th 1995 by HarperTorch (first published 1928)
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On the surface, a pleasant puzzle-piecey little murder mystery, with Peter bounding here and there, declaiming and detectiving his way to an answer. But under that . . . yikes. What an uncomfortable book, with people turning and twisting and snagging on each other like brambles on silk. Everyone stuck inside a little box called marriage or poverty or shell shock or police rules. This book is all tight spaces – the badly lit veteran’s club, the body crammed up tight in the phone box, the stifling...more
As a crime novel, it's not bad; compared to her earlier works, it's a definite improvement in terms of the tightness and plausibility of her plotting. Not the best crime novel you're ever going to read, and lightweight compared to the later books, but it still has a nice few twists and turns in it along the way.

Of course, this being a DLS novel, I'm not actually reading it for the murder mystery. The book's introduction describes Sayers' work is very much a 'tapestry novel', and I'd have to agre...more
Where I got the book: my bookshelf. A re-read.

I have grown to love this Lord Peter Wimsey mystery because of its somberness, although I remember that when I first read it as a teen I found it uninteresting. Amazing how history (and, therefore, literature) becomes more complex and interesting as you age. The mystery LPW is called on to investigate is the time of death of ancient, doddery General Fentiman, which will make a big financial difference to one or more of three potential heirs. Of cours...more
Ken Moten
Very convenient time for me to review my first novel by Dorothy Sayers. During [US] Womens History Month and on International Womens Day.

While this is not my first mystery story I ever read it is the first mystery novel. I had read some Sherlock Holmes stories in school and I was have read the Poe detective stories (which I am procrastinating on reviewing at the moment) but never a detective story in novel form. I have to say that I don't think I could have found a more interesting character th...more
Another enjoyable entry in the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries canon. This time, with no murder to solve, Wimsey is called in to assist with a slight problem at his club: The Bellona Club. An elderly member of the club, General Fentiman has died in the club, and while the circumstances aren't suspicious, there is a problem. His estranged sister died the same day – the very same morning – and the terms of her will are dependent on which of them expired first. If Lady Dormer went first then the money...more
'What in the world, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?" demanded Captain Fentiman.

Old General Fentiman is found dead in his favorite armchair at London's Bellona Club, still clutching his morning newspaper. Only the previous day he had finally made up with his ailing sister Lady Dormer on her deathbed. The deaths of two very elderly people, only hours apart, though strange, do not seem unnatural. Or do they? So begins The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Lady D...more
A pretty well-done mystery, with lots of good twists and turns, but not quite up to the standard of Sayers' later novels. All the regulars are here: Mr. Murbles, Bunter, Charles Parker, and most delightfully, the man known as Waffles. As in her other early novels, the big theme of this one is post-World-War-I trauma, and the mystery centers on this concept. The body that Peter investigates was found on Armistice Day, which ends up being an important factor in the case.

Lord Peter is delightful a...more
Lynne King
Dorothy Sayers, in my opinion, is one of the major novelists from the golden age of detective authors in the 1920s and 1930s in the US but the best author has to be John Dickson Carr. His "Devil in Velvet" (time travel book regarding a pact with the devil) was sublime as were all of his other books, I believe that there were more than eighty, although the latter ones, in my opinion, were not so good.

Still Dorothy Sayers definitely deserves her place in history.
Honestly, I've been reading all these Dorothy Sayers books in secret recently, but I can't hide it anymore. I have rigorously avoided mystery novels because my mother refuses to read any book that is not Jane Austen or a mystery penned by a woman. It's a family joke. We get her things outside the box: not interested. It's female flowering dogwoods, power-saws so she can do more home repair, and mystery novels by women. As a young reader I said: I will read theology, history, philosophy; I will n...more
Golden Age mystery. General Fentiman, ninety years old, is found quietly passed away in his armchair at the Bellona Club. It's hardly what you want to happen at a respectable club, but it wouldn't have been anything Lord Peter Wimsey, gentleman sleuth, felt the need to involve himself in, if there hadn't been one curious question of inheritance. The general's sister left her considerable fortune to her brother, provided he did not predecease her. The lady also died that morning. If she died firs...more
With this, I finish my last LPW mystery. It was a good time. *moment of silence* Anyway --

When half-star ratings are added, I'll add another half star to this. It's not quite the literary accomplishment that deserves four full stars, but that shouldn't deter anyone from reading it. This is a really solidly written mystery, an unexpectedly interesting read. It's not a book most people mention as one of their favourites, but I can't think of a bad thing to say about it.*

It had twists and was rathe...more
If you like intricacies of intestacy law then boy this is the book for you! This book is quite akin to early Avengers episodes which hinge on ambiguities of interpretation in offshore tax law (or maximum acceptable height for hedgerows). Luckily I quite like early Avengers episodes and I still quite like this one. I'm still not feeling very used to reading non-Vane Wimseys, each non-Vane mystery appears to be quite obvious and open about whodunnit at least 40% of the way through the book. Then c...more
Not my favourite when I read it, I remember, and rather too predictable, I think. I remembered most of the twists and turns, and figured out what I didn't. The best part about this radioplay was Wimsey and Parker and Wimsey figuring out to some extent that his meddling messes things up and gets people into trouble. Decidedly lacking in Bunter, though.

I really forgot how long it takes for there to be much of an overarching plot. I think it took until Harriet Vane enters the scene for me to be ent...more
What can I say? If you have never read a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery please do. Absolutely fabulous! Been ages since I last read a Dorothy L Sayers book. This book reminded me what a wonderful writer she was.

In this book, an elderly chap is found dead at our amateur sleuths old club on Armistice Day and not long after this so does the old boy's sister, which causes all kinds of havoc, especially when Lord Peter Wimsey is employed to find out what has happened. Was the old man murdered? By whom? Th...more
I was trying to read all the Wimsey novels in order, but I got confused and skipped directly from Whose Body? to The Unpleasantness of the Bellona Club. So I might make some observations in this review that I wouldn't have made if I'd been reading in the correct order!

I really like this one. I think the ways Sayers discusses women are -- agreeably knotty and interesting, if not what I always agree with. And I like the shape of the plot (more below).

I can never tell if I would have got along with...more
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Jan C
This was a re-read. Not sure how many times. I couldn't locate my copy so I had .to get it from the library. When all else fails, try the library.

I remembered some of it. But definitely not the culprit.

It does involve some degree of what we now call PTSD, but was then called shell shocked, since almost everyone is a veteran of WWI. One of the suspects has a fair amount of trouble with it, can't earn a proper living for himself and has live off his wife, which kind of compunds his problems. And...more
This was the first book I've read by Dorothy Sayers, and if it's any indication of how the rest of her books are, I'm hooked.

This was a quirky, red herring-filled mystery that I had a lot of fun trying to work out. Just when I thought the story would wrap up, I was thrown around another curve (or two), and the mystery got more deliciously complicated.

I can't wait to read more from Dorothy Sayers!
I really love this book. For an unpretentious 1920s mystery novel, it really has a lot going on. There's the mystery itself, which has enough twists and turns to remain interesting. (I didn't guess the outcome, which is always a plus!). Then there is the social commentary: the plight of World War I veterans, the effects of poverty and unemployment, the changing role of women in society, relationships between men and women. And of course there is Peter Wimsey: intelligent, intuitive, funny and co...more
The Bellona Club is the sort of all-male, all-privileged bastion where the members' habits are so regular that it is a number of hours before it is noticed that one of the regulars, sitting in his regular chair, is actually deceased.
Unpleasantness, indeed. But it is only when Lord Peter Wimsey discovers that the member actually was deceased BEFORE he arrived in his chair that the plot really thickens.
And thickens. And thickens.
So much so, that I can't keep up with Lord Peter's thinking, or with...more
The more Sayers books I read, the more distinct and entertaining the character of Wimsey becomes. I thought this book was especially interesting in its commentary on husband-wife relationships (especially the problem of a working wife and unemployed husband) and the depiction of Peter's friendship with Marjorie Phelps. Compared to some stories I've seen on screen recently, both male and female characters are pretty well developed, and you can tell that Sayers has a sense of sympathy for most of...more
This series really holds up on re-reading. This fifth book in the series has another very interesting mystery. One of the oldest members of one of Wimsey's club is found dead in the smoking room of apparent natural causes. There's no problem until a question of inheritance requires an exact time of death. The story is nicely convoluted as suspicion falls on various people.

One thing I find very interesting in this series is how often Sayer's deals with the problem of shell shock (what we know to...more
In this one, Lord Peter stumbles on to a dead body who has all the signs of a natural death with one tiny, little quibble of the rigor mortis sort. When Murbles comes to Wimsey to pinpoint the time of death of the deceased it opens up a can of worms. Interesting and intricate little mystery. It has all the charm and fun of the others Lord Peter novels with the added touch of a "vernis" of personal conflict and tortured conscience. Add the character of George which might be a distorted vision of...more
Very entertaining, very enjoyable. Not up to the standard of MURDER MUST ADVERTISE or CLOUDS OF WITNESS, but good fun.
It's unpleasant enough when members of the Bellona Club discover that the elderly General Fentiman has apparently passed away in front of the fire. But unpleasantness continues when, due to some complications of inheritance, it becomes necessary to acertain when exactly the good general passed on -- and Lord Peter finds it may have been earlier, and in different circumstances, than anyone previously thought. This is a great puzzler, which takes the conventions of the detective genre and uses the...more
Michael A
She gets better and better with each novel.

Here we have a fairly thorny mystery -- wills, legal complications, a few people with a definite interest in how the money is split up after the death of the old man. It offers a few red herrings and side track type of narratives to throw you off the right track. It's clever in how it solves a major secondary distraction about two-thirds through and throws the narrative into a confused whirl again. It does a good job of evoking a certain class of Britis...more
Amy Lignor
This is one of those near perfect mysteries that are so appreciated by the reader. A reprint, this amazing novel featuring Lord Peter Wimsey was first published in 1928, yet is even more beguiling and fun in 2014 then it was back then.

Written between World War I & II, this mystery begins with the death of a very wealthy woman who leaves a fortune behind. Her brother, if he is still alive, will be her heir; if not, the money will transfer to the hands of a young female who was a companion to...more
Dorothy L. Sayers' 1928 book, "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club" is yet another very good one. It's the fourth novel in her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and is written with the same characteristics as the previous works. If you liked the previous Wimsey novels, you'll certainly like this one. One interesting addition in this book is that she's included a friendship/relationship from outside of the case at hand (though it does impinge on the case). It's a nice touch and humanizes Wimsey a bi...more
"Highly proper," murmured Wimsey. "I'm determined never to be a parent. Modern manners and the break-up of the fine old traditions have simply ruined the business. I shall devote my life and fortune to the endowment of research on the best method of producin' human beings decorously and unobtrusively from eggs. All parental responsibility to devolve upon incubator." (13-4)

"Why couldn't she be a companion? In the old days, heaps of unmarried women were companions, and let me tell you, my dear gir...more
Oct 28, 2009 Laura marked it as to-read
My first Lord Peter Wimsy experience and a good one at that. Reading this aloud with my mom. We started it on the way to the Getty where we went to take pictures of my sister's boyfriend proposing to her!
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957) 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 herse...more
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...
Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1) Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #6) Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3) Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #10) Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #12)

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“Books, you know, Charles, are like lobster-shells. We surround ourselves with 'em, and then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.” 8 likes
“WHAT IN THE WORLD, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?” demanded Captain Fentiman, flinging aside the Evening Banner with the air of a man released from an irksome duty.” 0 likes
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