Unnatural Death: A BBC Full-Cast Radio Drama
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Unnatural Death: A BBC Full-Cast Radio Drama (Lord Peter Wimsey #3)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  12,566 ratings  ·  277 reviews
This full-cast dramatization is adapted by Chris Miller and produced by Simon Brett. The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest—even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder—of Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimse...more
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published November 16th 2010 by AudioGO Ltd. (first published 1927)
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Jane
Where I got the book: My bookshelf. A re-read.

Well I've already failed in my attempt to re-read the Wimsey books in order, because I always thought Clouds of Witness came AFTER Unnatural Death. Wimsey seems younger in the latter, somehow.

The Wimsey books, in general, are superb examples of Golden Age detective fiction: intricate plots which give you all the clues on the page and yet count on misdirection to keep you guessing. The plot of Unnatural Death seems to arise from a question: do doctor...more
mark monday
the further adventures of the inimitable mervyn bunter, prince of manservants, master of the perfectly correct response and the carefully disguised critique, expert at pretty much everything. all that plus he had to deal with dressing annoying lord peter wimsey every morning. surely the man must have been a virgo.
Dorothea
I have managed to rate 76 books so far, everything from Regency romance to labor history with the same five-star system, but I can't do this one. Stars do not apply. I rate Unnatural Death ARRRRGHH!

Purely as a mystery, I think it's excellent -- excellent and very grim, the grimmer the more I think about it.

With regard to the female characters (always something I pay great attention to with Sayers), it's both deeply satisfying and terribly uncomfortable.

And then, race. Oh god, Sayers. Why? Why di...more
Lou Robinson
A very successful James's pick. I hate to say it, being a life long Christie fan, but I actually think Sayers is BETTER. The book is full of great characters and a nice gritty storyline, this was a true 5*. And the good thing is, there are loads more to read!
Valerie
My copy seems to have literally been chewed at some point. By a cat? or some creature with a small mouth. But fortunately, none of the text is impacted.

'The Dawson Pedigree' so integral to this book is nearly at the end, but oddly it is not the last page, where one would normally look for appendices, etc. It's clear that the Rev Hallelujah Dawson would be the legitimate heir, if he'd been legitimated. What's NOT clear is why Simon Dawson never did marry the mother of his child (though he led her...more
Writerlibrarian
I'm still rationing my reading of Sayers' Lord Peter series but it's hard. I liked this one a lot too. Almost the perfect murder. An very clever villain, Parker and Peter, on the road, staying in pub, kicking themselves under the table to stop the other one from making a mistake. Bunter being just Bunter. So, story, this great old lady died of natural death and left her money to her great niece. The doctor makes a fuss because even if his patient was very ill (cancer) she wasn't on death's door....more
Nikki
Another comforting reread. Less comforting here, in that the villain is a young woman who some people read as a lesbian or asexual, with that behaviour being part of what makes her a character to be suspicious of, and in that Sayers has a rare character of colour here, the Reverend Hallelujah, who she doesn't handle particularly well.

It also doesn't help that once the medical part of the mystery is solved, a lot of the tension -- e.g. is Wimsey wrong? what on earth is happening here? -- goes out...more
♪ Kim
It's been awhile since I indulged in a Peter Wimsey mystery. These days I seem to prefer the ones without Harriet Vane. This audiobook version was expertly narrated by Ian Carmichael. Such a treat!
Susan
This is the third Lord Peter Wimsey novel. Wimsey and Charles Parker are interrupted, while in a teashop, by a doctor who overhears them talking about crime. He relates a tale of how he was treating an elderly lady for cancer, whose niece insisted was much nearer than death than he felt she was. When she died suddenly, without leaving a will, the doctor insisted on an autopsy, leading to bad feeling with both the niece, Miss Whittaker, and the local community. Indeed, his actions led to him havi...more
James
With both lesbians and a stereotypical black reverend from the West Indies, Unnatural Death was always going to generate strong opinions in some reviewers. The lesbian characters are generally handled by Sayers side-stepping the subject completely. They are friends, companions, even devoted to each other, but the L-word is never used. It's clear to us what they are, just as it's clear to us that one of them has murdered the other – the only questions are how and why? I think Sayers tries to side...more
Sbuchler
Genre: Mystery

This is my favorite of the Lord Peter mysteries that do not feature Harriet Vane - and the audio version of the book was quite wonderful. Ian Carmichael continues to give a very nice rendition of Lord Peter.

This novel introduces Miss. Climpson and unlike the previous novels in the series, the point of view is split between Lord Peter and Miss Climpson, allowing us a different view into the goings on in the neighborhood of the murder. Or rather presumed murder, as the original death...more
Nikki
My favourite so far, I think. The plot itself -- the whodunnit aspect, anyway -- isn't too much trouble to me, because I remember that around the same time as I first read it, someone in NCIS was killed in the same way as the murderer uses multiple times here. So that part seemed rather obvious to me. But Lord Peter is so fun -- and I love Parker, possibly even more in this version than in the books. Miss Climpson is rather fun, too.

It's surprising how addictive these radioplays are, too. I woul...more
Lady Wesley
I picked up this audiobook at audible.com's BOGO sale, which ends tonight. I've read all of the Lord Peter Wimsey books many, many times, and I adored Ian Carmichael's portrayal of him in the 1970s BBC series. I know already that this one will be a five-star listen!
David B
A story overheard by chance in a restaurant puts Lord Peter Wimsey on the trail of a woman who may have committed the perfect murder. The investigation leads him and his associates, Inspector Parker and spinster detective Miss Climpson, back and forth between city and country before the suspenseful (if rather contrived) conclusion. The background and details of this novel, first published in 1927, add interest. Several lesbian characters (though never directly identified as such) figure prominen...more
Claire
"Unnatural Death" is the third Lord Peter Wimsey mystery by Dorothy Sayers.

A note for readers looking to avoid spoilers for later Lord Peter mysteries...if you have the same edition I do (Harper Mystery paperback, ISBN: 0061043583), don't read the Biographical Note that precedes the story! I can't imagine why Sayers would include it in this book since it makes reference to any number of events in the lives of Lord Peter and his friends & family that haven't happened yet. To be clear, there...more
Trisha
Lord Peter Wimsey is at the very top of my list of fictional characters I wish were real. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say the Lord Peter novels are at the top of my list of books I wish I could just climb right into and stick around there for a while. Dorothy Sayers had a knack for coming up with great stories that involve complicated plot twists and turns but to be honest I don’t read these books because they’re good mysteries. I read them because I love the settings – remote little E...more
Aoife
Even though I prefer crime-novels where the question is 'who did it?' to those where it is 'how did they do it?' I did enjoy this one very much, a good and solid mystery with some twists and interesting characters. Except for Miss Climpson whom I found somewhat annoying. She somehow seemed more like the parody of the typical 1920s old lady than a typical 1920s old lady if that makes sense (and her letters *ugh* frequent italics and multiple exclamation marks...that somehow annoyed me a lot, too)...more
Fiona
How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.

For firstly and most importantly, it is a detective novel in which the detectives have as much, or sometimes less, information than the reader, which gives you a good chance at having a go at guessing the ending.

For despite this I still didn't manage to guess it. The ending caught me almost-unawares: I think I worked it out about three pages before the cast did. Which is great fun.

For all of the main characters have a sharp wit and a fantastic turn...more
Bev Hankins
"But if he thought the woman was being murdered--"

"My dear Charles," said the man with the monocle, "it doesn't do for people, especially doctors, to go about 'thinking' things. They may get into frightful trouble. In Pritchard's case, I consider Dr. Paterson did all he reasonably could by refusing a certificate for Mrs. Taylor and sending that uncommonly disquieting letter to the Registrar."

Thus begins the story of Unnatural Death by Dorothy L Sayers. The two friends and partner sleuths, Inspec...more
Maria
Others have already mentioned the caveat of the casual racism, so I'll skip that.

This is a really good read. It's pretty neat and tense and creepy as a mystery (even though you know right from the start who did it), but is even better as a character study. There's plenty of Parker and Miss Climpson, and a bunch of interesting new characters. There was one revelation at the end that was supposed to be shocking but which I thought was pretty obvious, but it didn't negatively impact my enjoyment o...more
Terra
Dear Dorothy Sayers, HOW ARE YOU SO AWESOME? The scene with Lord Peter and the vicar--oh my HEART. MY HEEEAAART. The more of these I read, the more deeply I approve. This book contained the only suspenseful scene about English trust & estates law I have ever read (possibly that has ever been written). I'm thinking that DLS was something of a law geek. Yes? Yes. The one thing that did make me a bit uncomfortable (as is often the case with books of this period that I otherwise adore *COUGH*P.G...more
Megan Larson
This book promised from the beginning to be a very entertaining and enjoyable read. It was my first Sayers novel, and I was very pleased with Wimsey's character, who seemed oddly to combine the genius of Sherlock Holmes with the foppishness of Woodhouse's Bertie Wooster. It was full of quotes from great literature, including very interesting Bible references (which were not blatant at all), but around the middle I felt the story was getting a little too gory for me. There were some lovely charac...more
Lauren Albert
I love Dorothy Sayers. I had her books in storage and I've begun to re-read them. It's long enough since I read them that I don't remember. I love the Lord Peter Wimsey character. Good name for him. He's full of what I would call "cheerful irony." While he is effected by tragedy, and genuinely seems to like people, he keeps a humorous attitude about himself and human nature. Here's an example. Lord Wimsey is speaking to a stranger in a bar who has started to tell a story. "Do carry on. Have some...more
Ali
I loved this old fashioned murder mystery, with the wonderful Lord Peter Wimsey taking charge of what looks like a case of natural death. All the way through the reader knows "whodunnit" but the ways and wherefores are not so straight forward, and neither is the evidence gathering, and the final detection of the culprit. This novel - first published in 1927 is a novel of its time, as is the speach of the characters, and therefore there are some examples of dreadful non pc even racist langauge, w...more
Kim
I'm reading the Peter Wimsey novels in publication order (after spending many years only re-reading the ones involving Harriet Vane). This one I liked a lot, even though I worked out the central plot twist fairly early in the piece. (Generally speaking I prefer not to guess such things, but at least I didn't work out the "how" until just before Lord Peter came up with it!) As a lawyer, one of the things I really loved was the chapter discussing succession law. I also loved being introduced to Ms...more
Michael A
Like the first couple of Wimsey books, I like this and it is fun to read. However, I don't think it pushes the envelope enough to get a higher rating.

This one has all the elements of a standard classic era plot: a rich relative leaving money to the rest of the family, a thorny legal problem that may affect this inheritance, people playing roles, red herrings, a few people in the book with hidden agendas, and so on. As a mystery, I think it is much more effective in the first two-thirds of the bo...more
Tombom P
Really great mystery featuring a very rollicking adventure. The solution isn't just pulled out of a hat (you can work it all out along the way - maybe not beyond doubt but I'd worked out most of it quite a bit before the end) and is pretty interesting (although the murderer's initial murder and motive is kind of strange, even if the facts work out ok). Somewhat formulaic but really excellent writing for the genre, with enjoyable dialogue and great characters. There's some serious stuff - lesbian...more
Sarah
I love the character of Peter Wimsey. Love, love, love. He is clever, droll, and enterprising. In the first two Wimsey books he treated everything as a bit of a game, even when his own relatives were the ones accused. I like that in this book he manages to convey a deeper concern for those involved, particularly when he suspects it may be partly his doing that they are in harm's way. The mystery itself was a little dry and a little convoluted, but the solving of it was still enjoyable.
David
Dorothy L. Sayers' 1927 book, "Unnatural Death," is the third in her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. I haven't read the whole series yet, but this one's the best of the first three. As usual for Sayers, the writing is excellent. It's so good and so modernly written, that you forget that the book is 87 years old (that is, until you hit the occasional change to social mores or the technological chasms that have sprung up since then). But that just makes the book more amazing. Compared to the first tw...more
Lynn
My favorite Wimsey stories are the books featuring Harriet Vane. However, I do enjoy the writing of all the stories despite references that are completely outdated and certainly politically correct.In this story racism is obvious in remarks about a West Indian character and Jews in general.

There is a certain type of character in books who masters every situation. Talk about fantasy! Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher is such a one, and of course written as a racier and wilder person ahead of her t...more
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Mrs. Forrest's car?? 7 43 Aug 23, 2013 09:15AM  
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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) 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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“I know what an Act to make things simpler means. It means that the people who drew it up don’t understand it themselves and that every one of its clauses needs a law-suit to disentangle it.” 0 likes
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