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Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey #2)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,221 Ratings  ·  585 Reviews
In Clouds of Witness, murder strikes close to home. Lord Peter is on vacation when he hears that a dead body has been found at the Wimsey family retreat, and that Lord Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, is being held for the crime. The dead man? Their sister's fiance. Lord Peter must clear his brother's name to avoid the death penalty. There is overwhelming circumstantia ...more
Audio CD, 8 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by AudioGO (first published 1926)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Apr 22, 2013 mark monday rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murdertime
dashing peter wimsey dashes into some more dashing adventures. he's one of literature's greatest detectives. but just as enjoyable is his faithful manservant bunter. peter runs around figuring things out with his clever, clever mind but it is bunter who often gets his hands dirty with rather agreeable tasks like chatting up all the maidservants and various other domestics. tasks he clearly relishes but approaches with suave professionalism. various witnesses never fail to succumb to bunter's cha ...more
Susan
This delightful mystery is the second featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. When his brother, the Duke of Denver, is accused of murder then it is Lord Peter’s job to clear his name. The Duke is found standing over the body of his sister’s fiancé, who he has recently argued with about claims that the victim, Captain Denis Cathcart, was a card sharp. However, when questioned, he refuses to give a reasonable account of why he was wandering around outside, in the middle of the night. Why is he being so secre ...more
Jane
Apr 02, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. A re-read.

One thing I always appreciate about the Wimsey stories is that each book has a distinct character. In Clouds of Witness the pace is fast and frenetic, with a wildly confusing murder mystery at the center, and yet Sayers does more to develop her characters here than in some of the other books. The mystery itself almost takes second place to the doings of Wimsey's family, placing Wimsey himself very firmly in a distinct social setting, his home
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This is the best Sayers I have read to date!

I found the beginning a little tiresome, but as soon as Lord Peter started his investigation my interest was engaged.

Sayers writes with a dry wit that had me chuckling out loud in places, and reflecting on the social changes that have taken place in less than one hundred years. If anyone said "I wouldn't suggest such a thing to a woman, my lord. It goes to their heads, if I may say so." in these times, they would no doubt find themselves in court on ha
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⊱ Irena ⊰
Jan 19, 2016 ⊱ Irena ⊰ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Clouds of Witness is wonderful. I was in the mood for a lovely mystery. This one seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

I've decided to read these in order they appear on Goodreads. I liked Lord Peter Wimsey in Whose Body? and I loved him here. Not much has changed in this book. His quirks work so well in his world.

In Clouds of Witness he is trying to save his brother (the Duke) who has been accused of murder. From their estate to Paris and back, from England to somewhere very far away, through the
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 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
Sayers may be the perfect mystery writer for me - she combines the plotting of Christie with the wit of Heyer & I get the wonderful Golden Age setting from all of them!

Everything is improved (other than Bunter, he was already wonderful!) from Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1) by Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter while still insouciant is no longer Bertie Wooster playing at detectives. His is a well rounded character who lives a life filled with varied interests as well as his work as an amateur sleuth.

So many witty quotations - I've added a couple
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Nikki
Mar 24, 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

This is the second of the Lord Peter radioplays, at least going chronologically by the order of the books. It’s longer than Whose Body? and a bit more personal: Lord Peter has to defend his own brother, the Duke of Denver, against a charge of murder. As usual with the Wimsey radioplays, the cast is excellent, and the parts chosen directly from the novels for dramatisation are great. I think
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Kathryn
Jul 05, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of good mysteries, especially 1920s era British ones!
Shelves: mystery
4.0+ stars. I quite enjoyed my first Sayers mystery, and am delighted to have begun what I assume will be a long and pleasant acquaintance with Lord Peter Wimsey. Hard to describe his mixture of intelligence and thoughtfulness, compassion, humor but served up with a good share of the silly, foppishness of young men of the era who have little to do but spend the fortunes and honor to which they were born as aristocratic Englishmen. Yet, as one character so wisely remarks, Lord Peter doesn't just ...more
Kim
Jun 11, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction

I've been a Dorothy L Sayers fan ever since I borrowed Strong Poison from the school library when I was about fifteen. Sayers was a woman ahead of her time and not a typical writer of crime fiction. In 1912 she won a scholarship to Oxford University, achieving first class honours in French in 1915. Women could not be awarded degrees at that time, but Sayers was in the first group of women to be finally awarded their degree in 1920. She was a published poet and had worked in a publishing house, a
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Ann
Jul 31, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "light" mysteries.
Recommended to Ann by: Katie - thanks!
Shelves: mysteries
"Clouds of Witness" was a very delightful book! In both the mystery and the characters, I thought Sayers came through brilliantly!

Lord Peter Wimsey (the main character and detective) is truly a humorous, clever, thoughtful, and lovable character! He breezes through life, always seeing the amusement and humor in situations, but doesn't lack the ability to understand people and events for the gravity they may hold.
Wimsey himself was a delightful enough character to hold my interest through the bo
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Nikki
Dec 31, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
As usual, Sayers manages a convoluted plot, the characters we love, and some bits of pure fun. Peter’s mother is catching my interest this time — if you focus on it, you can follow through exactly why each of her remarks leads on to the next. Of course, if you’re missing a reference in the chain, you’re doomed, but I’m having fun trying to follow it all through. Sometimes it helps to google things and find people wondering about the same bits, too…

Considering how close to Peter the story is — gi
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Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
I just love Lord Peter. Very frivolous, but totally serious about his crime-solving! In a way, he's like Columbo. (Not fashion, obviously.) He is underestimated by his adversary because of the front he puts to the world, but when you come right down to it, they're doomed.

In this story, we learn more about Lord Peter and his family when a murder comes to the heart of his aristocratic family. Very fun what with adultery, card sharps, elopements and Soviets!
Olga Godim
Jun 16, 2015 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
3.5 stars
Not the best in the series but not bad. In this installment of Lord Peter Wimsey’s detective series, Peter’s older brother, the Duke of Denver, is accused of murder. The Duke is strangely silent about his alibi although he insists that he is innocent. It’s up to Peter to get his brother out of the murder charges.
Along the way, Peter uncovers piles of confusing evidence, most of which complicate the case and some of which he never wanted to know. So much has been going on under the stu
...more
Susan Johnson
Sep 16, 2014 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Peter Wimsey series and is simply delightful. His brother, the Duke of Denver, is arrested at a family's "shooting box", Riddlesdale Lodge. The murdered man is the fiancée of his sister, Mary.

This novel really gives you a look at Peter and his family. There is not enough of the Dowager Duchess but it's fun getting to know his siblings. Bunter is someone I want in my life. He runs Peter's bath water, brings him breakfast in bed and pulls him out of quicksand. Pete
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Evgeny
Jul 22, 2013 Evgeny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A man was shot dead, and all of the clues point to none other than Lord Peter Wimsey's bother who also happened to have a good motive for the murder. Lord Peter Wimsey is determined to find a real killer and to clear his brother's name. I hope I will not give a big spoiler when I say that he eventually succeeds in this.

This is the second book of Lord Peter Wimsey investigations. It was disappointing for me. For starters, the characters were somewhat wooden with none of the charm and oddities of
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Nikki
Apr 15, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
I think I liked Clouds of Witness more on a reread than I did the first time round. I now have a better mental image of Peter & co., after all, and I only comprehensively fell in love with the character when he fell in love with Harriet Vane. It helps that I can picture him as portrayed by both Ian Carmichael and Edward Petherbridge (leaning toward the Petherbridge, though my mother disapproves of my love for the newfangled late eighties Lord Peter), too. I'm not a visual person at all, and ...more
Kaethe
Aug 05, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor, classics
The plot is absurdly complicated, amusingly so. There are no end of intrigues in the country house where the murder takes place.

But that's not the joy of reading a Sayers' novel: the pleasure is all in the humor. Wimsey acting a fool, Bunter's magical ability to produce anything needed, Mary's good heart, and the Dowager's formidable control of everything. It's Downton Abbey written by Oscar Wilde.

Personal copy
Damaskcat
Feb 17, 2016 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dls-challenge
This is the second novel featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. This time murder comes unpleasantly close to home when Lord Peter's brother - the Duke of Denver - is accused of the murder of his sister's fiancé. Riddlesdale Lodge is the scene for the death of Captain Cathcart and no one seems to be telling the truth about what they were doing at the time of the man's death. Lord Peter begins to think that his brother will go to the gallows rather than reveal what he was doing at the time.

The investigation
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Tracey
Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm making an exception to my Goodreads review boycott in honor of Dorothy L's birthday ...


This isn't my favorite of the Lord Peter novels – but I think I’ve compared this to my least favorite chocolate or my least favorite Beatle. And this does have some of my favorite Peter-Bunter scenes, and gave me the name for one of my blogs.

This isn’t so much a review as gathered musings on a book, a cast of characters, and an author near and dear to my heart.

Peter is thirty-three in this book. At the ve
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Jack
Aug 01, 2007 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reread of one of my least-read Lord Peter Wimsey novels—least-read because it's only the second one in the series, and the earliest ones were much more straight-out 'tec yarns in the classic English tradition, before Sayers felt free to deviate from the formula.

So you get the usual Agatha Christie sort of setup: a bunch of aristocratic Brits staying at a country house, and one turns up dead, and everyone's got a shaky alibi, and of course there are three or four completely unrelated secret goi
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Susan
Didn't feel the love for this story. I kept waiting for it to hold my interest and get swept away by the story, but going on the last disc, that still didn't happen so I stopped.

I liked that the murder inquest was up front so I was able to see how Lord Peter went about his investigation. But one of the suspects, actually a few, pulled that which I intensely dislike in a mystery story - holding back evidence or not explaining all simply because of the way the questions were asked. That drives me
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Madeline
Well, the Lord Peter novels certainly improve the older they get. This one, the second mystery that Sayers wrote, is mostly okay. Not bad, not great, just okay. It has some good points, like more of the frankly marvelous Wimsey/Bunter dynamic (seriously, I love these two. Not since Holmes and Watson has literature known such a true bromance), plus it ends with a scene where Lord Peter is drunk as a skunk for no apparent reason. But the mystery itself isn't terribly compelling (which, considering ...more
Margo Connolly
Mar 02, 2016 Margo Connolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
I think that when I first read this I was in my early teens and a lot of humour was wasted on me. Sayers ridicule of the English aristocracy and its mores is first rate.
Abigail Bok
I am rereading the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries after several decades away, and finding my experience quite different from when I read them in my twenties. The Lord Peter–Bunter relationship is less charming, the neurotic women more annoying, the plots more preposterous. I do still enjoy Sayers’s prose, and the Dowager Duchess continues to be an unalloyed delight!

In Clouds of Witness, Lord Peter’s own brother, the Duke of Denver, is charged with murder. Both the Duke and their sist
...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
A very high 3 stars, just shy of 4. More polished and more action than Whose Body. I love seeing Peter around his family, and I positively think he's got a bromance with Parker! I quite dislike his sister Mary though. Can't really say why.
Andrea
The least successful of the Wimsey novels for me, this story has a general theme of how non-related events obscure the actual facts of the crime. The primary reasons this one doesn't work for me is that Wimsey spends way too much time not seeing the obvious, I generally didn't like the people involved, and there was a heap of unnecessary padding.

(view spoiler)
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Bev
May 25, 2011 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: vintage-mystery
I SO needed this book. I've read every Lord Peter Wimsey book and story written by Dorothy L Sayers, so this was a reread for me. But after spending eight grueling days on Tristram Shandy, I really needed a comfort read. I can always count on a Sayers mystery for that. Clouds of Witness is her second novel featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. And this time, it's not just a matter of him indulging his detective hobby--the family honor and his brother's life is at stake.

Lord Peter's brother--Gerald, Duke
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James
Ultimately, this was disappointing. Not because it's a bad book - it's not. But because the previous one, Whose Body?, was so much more fun. The story revolves around Lord Peter's brother having been accused of murder - in fact the murder of their sister's fiance. Most of the story takes place in the house where the murder took place, the house where most of Lord Peter's family have been staying for their holidays, and the court-room where he stands trial. Lord Peter was not staying with them, a ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 09, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Hebrews 12:1: ‘we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” Why Dorothy L Sayers moved the s in her title I’m not certain. Perhaps she was suggesting that there were too many witnesses, too many clues, in this difficult case where Lord Peter must prove that his brother, the Duke of Denver, did not murder his sister’s fiancé despite an explosive argument with him shortly before the crime took place.

A few things in this book deserve mention. The dead man was fond of the novel,
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Monica
Dec 28, 2015 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well done; classic "Whodunnit?". This is the second book in the "Lord Peter Wimsey" series, and better than the first. (Note: The first in this series Whose Body? is the only one currently in the public domain. Search the internet for sources of free copies, both written and audio.)

Clouds of Witness weaves together "incredible coincidences", peculiar family dynamics, secrets and lies, and a healthy dose of humor to unfold an enjoyable mystery. The author has created characters which come al
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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
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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)
  • 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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“Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.” 90 likes
“But to Lord Peter the world presented itself as an entertaining labyrinth of side-issues” 17 likes
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