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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  18,963 ratings  ·  891 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, 212 pages
Published July 11th 1995 by HarperTorch (first published 1923)
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Community Reviews

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Jack
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
Kim

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...more
Madeline
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...more
Dan Schwent
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...more
Carmen
Sep 17, 2014 Carmen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Classic Fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: mystery, fiction
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...more
Jonathan

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...more
Bruce
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
Nikki
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...more
Mitch
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...more
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
...more
booklady
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...more
Norain
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
Nikki
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...more
Nikki
Yep, again. When I feel sad or sick or anxious, this is where I come, to Lord Peter with his shell-shock and his fear of responsibility, to his (and Sayers') wit and skill. While this book doesn't have Harriet, and may not for a first time reader offer much of a look into Lord Peter's soul, for an old hand this is both entertaining and a glimpse into his character -- still not far from the youth who was jilted by his pretty but less educated fiancée, who did intelligence work in WWI.

(A sudden im...more
Suzy
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...more
BrokenTune
Review first posted on Booklikes:
http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/...

" ‘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...more
Kin
This book fails miserably as a mystery novel. It is plain as day who is the murderer right from the beginning, but flagrantly obvious clues are persistently ignored solely for the sake of prolonging the 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...more
James
A body is discovered and a man is missing. Superficially it appears to be the same case but the body turns out to not be the missing man. Lord Peter Wimsey knew this to be true from the start, but while the two police investigations diverge Lord Peter believes the two cases may still be connected in a less obvious way.

Lord Peter is a top toff, a gentleman who decides to investigate crimes to entertain himself. In a way, like Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, but Lord Peter is not so detached or analyti...more
Nikki
Mum thought I should read this as soon as she realised I was doing Crime Fiction. I can see why -- Lord Peter Wimsey is an interesting sort of character to choose as the centre of a crime/mystery novel, with his attitude towards what he's doing, and his backstory. It's interesting how like Holmes and Poirot he comes off at first, with his know-it-all sort of air, and then you learn more about him and begin to care more about him as a character and you find that, really, he's quite a distinct cha...more
Jane
Where I got the book: audio file via Audible. I am rediscovering my audiobooks!

The first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, ably narrated by Nadia May. This has always been one of my favorite Wimseys because PW is not nearly as pretentious and quote-laden as he becomes in the later novels. The only thing that annoys me is that he has to figure out the crime via an Amazing Moment of Brilliance After Many Hours' Thought à la Sherlock Holmes, but of course DLS was kind of basing him on Holmes at that point....more
Amy
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...more
Maureen
Jul 02, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: Patsy Morris
Shelves: mystery
"Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath."
"Indeed, my lord? That's very gratifying."
"Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me..."

Was that man in the bathtub, wearing nothing but a pince-nez, shaved after death in order to bolster his superficial resemblance to a wealthy missing industrialist? This introduction to one of literature's most favored sons, Lord Peter Wimsey, is a cracking...more
Jamie
I really enjoyed her writing style, and I'm looking forward to reading more of these. At first Lord Peter seemed like a crime-solving Bertie Wooster, but he turned out to be a very intelligent and complex character. The mystery was pretty good, although the confession at the end was a little tedious. This book did make me finally look up how to pronounce "pince-nez".
Mary Ronan Drew
Ah, Lord Peter Wimsey! Here in the first of Dorothy L Sayers' mysteries he is at his young and flippant best attempting to identify a corpse wearing nothing but a pince nez. His friend, Inspector Parker, is dealing with a disappearance in the same neighborhood. Could they be connected?

It's his mother, the dowager duchess, who alerts Lord Peter to the need for some detecting. The vicar's wife, Mrs Throgmorton, has appeared at the dower house to say that the architect who is repairing the lovely c...more
Michele
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah
I love Lord Peter Wimsey! Although I've read two of his other escapades, this, as his first, is the one in which he is at his funniest and most engaging.
While Sayers used her later novels as vehicles for topical commentary and her own research, this stands out as an excellent character study, an insight into the life of a fictional and yet most probably truthful Bright Young Thing about town. Wimsey is rich, relatively handsome, quick-witted, bored, and clever. He is a joy to read, and his mans...more
Bazi
Jul 12, 2012 Bazi added it
I thought I'd really enjoy this series. You've got your whip-smart, blue-blood, amateur English detective; the near precognitive butler who is regarded more like a friend by his employer; and the friend who is an actual Scotland Yard detective who serves as an "in" to all these police cases and is the most down-to-earth. But I don't know, it felt uneven, like the author wrote some here and some there and cobbled it all together later. She seemed to just love the idea of these characters but the...more
Evgeny
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...more
Jemidar

Really liked this the first time I read it, but enjoyed it better this time around. Great writing and characterization. Love Peter, Bunter, Parker and the wonderful Dowager Duchess. Can see myself becoming a huge Sayers fan and am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the Wimsey books.

Buddy reread with Kim :-).



Reading History:

1. 27th-30th December, 2011.
2. 5th-12th January, 2013.
Bill
I was very pleasantly surprised by my introduction to the world of Lord Peter Wimsey. I was expecting a cozy-type mystery, but it was so much more than that. Peter Wimsey is a detective, works at it sort of in his spare time, although he has solved some important cases, from some of the comments made during this first of the Wimsey mysteries. But he is much more than that; he is an officer who fought in WWI and suffers from a sort of post - traumatic stress disorder, which crops up when he is ph...more
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Lord Peter's Relapse--Real or Faked? 3 28 Jul 05, 2014 05:08PM  
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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...
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) Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)

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