Judy's Reviews > The Nine Tailors

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
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's review
Mar 06, 2012

it was amazing
Read in March, 2012

This is my favorite Dorothy Sayers books and one of my favorite books ever. I reread this book every few years and I picked it up again this week. Dorothy Sayers published this novel in 1934 and it is a fascinating introduction to change riging--the ringing of church bells in intricate patterns that can last for hours. In the village of Fenland, there are 8 bells at Fenchurch St. Paul and each has its own tone, name, and history. Tradition in the village dictates that any time there is a death in the parish, the largest bell, Tailor Paul, is rung nine times for the death of a man, six times for the death of a woman, and three times for the death of a child. Following the initial toll, Tailor Paul is then struck one time--at thirty second intervals--for each year of the person's life. Lord Pter Wimsey is stranded in Fenland on New Year's Eve because of a car accident and he becomes involved with the nine hour change ringing that ushers in the New Year. During his time in the village, Wimsey learns of an unsolved theft of jewels and he is slowly drawn into the case which results in the unraveling of two crimes committed thirty years apart. This book transcends the mystery genre as Sayers draw the Fen country of England with an expert hand and with her evocative language the atmosphere of the Fens almost becomes a character in the story. After reading this book, I am always left with the strong impression that sometimes it is best to leave a mystery unsolved if the solving causes significantly more pain among the affected parties than they would endure if the case was left alone. Dorothy Sayers is a wonderful writer and I think that this is her best in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.

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