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Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
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Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey #7)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  9,905 Ratings  ·  464 Reviews
The body was on the pointed rocks alongside the stream. The artist might have fallen from the cliff where he was painting, but there are too many suspicious elements - particularly the medical evidence that proves he'd been dead nearly half a day, though eyewitnesses had seen him alive a scant hour earlier. And then there are the six prime suspects - all of them artists, a ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published September 14th 1995 by HarperTorch (first published 1931)
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mark monday
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: murdertime
read during my AIG Years

I Remember: surely Sayers can do better... the intriguing mystery gets lost in the unceasingly tedious recounting of all the various permutations of a train schedule... chapter after chapter of train schedules... TRAIN SCHEDULE, TRAIN SCHEDULES, STOP IT ALREADY!... where are the suspects?... oh there they are, only took a half a book to get to them... some good lines here and there... the characters of Wimsey & Bunter remain wonderful but are given little play.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where I got the book: purchased (used) on Amazon. Continuing my Lord Peter Wimsey re-read.

Ah, the Wimsey book I never liked. I like it better now, but I still think it lacks something of the other books. Wimsey is in Scotland, presumably getting away from it all (it, by now, meaning Harriet Vane, who was in the last book). Somewhat incongruously, he is hanging out in an artists' community, when one of the painters, an argumentative bugger called Campbell, is found dead. And Wimsey immediately kn
Lord Peter Wimsey is on holiday in Galloway, where people either fish or paint – and some do both. The artistic centre of Galloway is Kirkcudbright and there are many artists in the area. One evening there is an argument between a Scottish painter, called Campbell, and an English artist, named Waters. However, this was not unusual – Campbell being an argumentative man, who regularly caused trouble and fell out with his neighbours. The next morning, Campbell is found dead. Was he painting, when h ...more
Sep 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners

Description: The body was on the pointed rocks alongside the stream. The artist might have fallen from the cliff where he was painting, but there are too many suspicious elements - particularly the medical evidence that proves he'd been dead nearly half a day, though eyewitnesses had seen him alive a scant hour earlier. And then there are the six prime suspects - all of them artists, all of whom wished him dead. Five are red herrings, but one has created a
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I loved the ending of this book, but the rest of it? Well, it's not a typical Dorothy L Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey. We didn't see so much of Lord Peter's character and foibles: Bunter played a very minor role and that mainly as Lord Peter's manservant; nor did we see much of our other regular characters. This may have been because of the location, Scotland. But the whole writing style seemed completely different to the previous Lord Peter murder mysteries I have read.

I did not enjoy the timelines
Dec 15, 2010 rated it liked it
In the second chapter of ‘Five Red Herrings’, as Lord Peter Wimsey examines the newly discovered corpse, he starts to frantically look around for a specific item. A police sergeant asks him what he’s hunting for – and the following paragraph appears in parenthesis:

“Here Lord Peter Wimsey told the Sergeant what he was looking for and why, but as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted from this page.”

Now I would say that virtually no reader is going
Susan Johnson
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this little mystery set in Scotland. It may be that I am just fond of Scotland but I found this delightful. First of all, the last place I would have thought to find Lord Peter is fishing in the Highlands. The thought of that alone makes me giggle.

The murder surrounds a disliked artist and five other painter/fishermen are the suspects. It's quite entertaining as Peter makes his way through the conflicting alibis. The ending was a surprise for me.

I thought it was a lot of fun.
This book has a fun setup, from a mystery aspect: in a small artist's community in Scotland, a man named Campbell is found dead at the base of a cliff, having apparently fallen to his death. But it wasn't an accident, obviously, and soon the local police, aided by his wonderfulness Lord Peter Wimsey, are on the case. There are some complications: Campbell has multiple enemies in the town, the six most likely suspects all have alibis for the time of death, and although Campbell was killed sometim ...more
Moira Fogarty
Jan 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
Yikes. I love Lord Peter, but this might well be Sayers' worst effort.

Five Red Herrings has a lovely setting, taking place in Galloway. The characters are nicely penned, with an affectionate look at Scotland's dogged policemen and the recalcitrant local artists and fishermen whose obstinate refusal to tell the truth prevents them from serving justice.

However, the plot is weak, repetitive and dull. Unless you are obsessed with train tickets, schedules and the minutiae of bicycle speeds, models
Dec 27, 2014 marked it as abandoned
It turns out that train time tables are so boring that not even a great writer like Dorothy Sayers can make them interesting.

Let me give you a fictional paragraph that could have been included in the book to give you an idea of the tedious and confusing-ness of train time tables in all their boring glory:

"It turns out the Chamley was on the 1.5 to Ayers when we thought he was on the 1.41 to Allen even though his wife found a ticket for the 2.5, which was hard to believe because the train only r
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, 2016
This is a solid mystery novel, very detailed, very well planned, but it didn't work particularly well for me this time around. I like the idea behind the book - a man who is fairly universally disliked is murdered, and six people have more or less equally terrible alibis. But something in the execution falls a bit flat. Perhaps it's the reread, but I suspect it's due to a combination of other factors, notably:

1. There's very little Lord Peter being, well, Lord Peter (for lack of a better descrip
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Lately I've been reading a lot of mysteries. They are a fun way of spending an evening at home when there is nothing good to watch and the secondary literature in my academic discipline begins to seem a little tedious. *The Five Red Herrings* is a fine example of the genre. Unlike other Dorothy Sayers books, the mystery was done in the form of character sketches: every chapter focused on a single character, and the chapters were even named after the theme character, and the style of writing chan ...more
Oscar Despard
This is the first book by Dorothy L. Sayers that I have read, and it took a long time to get going. I found the story at the start somewhat tiresome, and I didn't feel any interest in the various suspects. The story quickly became bogged down in detail as well, which didn't aid me in my attempts to get to know the characters better, and I had to struggle to keep going throughout most of the book. The novel scraped a three-star rating only because of the ending, which was wonderfully executed and ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, audio
Five Red Herrings was probably my least favourite of the Wimsey books, and I found it rather infuriating as a radioplay, too. One entire episode was given over to people all expounding wrong theories about the murderer -- theories which I knew to be wrong. The end of the episode, where Peter says they're all wrong, is the highlight of the whole thing, and couldn't come soon enough.

The mystery itself is interesting, but far too convoluted.

The casting was pretty good, though I missed Gabriel Wolf
Douglas Wilson
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this once before, not sure when. Just finished it again. Good fun, but I clearly don't have the kind of mind that devours detective fiction. It is like watching five different people solve a crossword puzzle five different ways, followed by a triumphal resolution.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“The more you hate everybody for hating you, the more unattractive you grow and the more they hate you.”

By her own admission (elsewhere), in this book, “the plot was invented to fit a real locality.”

Apparently, written to please her Scottish friends, this is a Sudoku puzzle of clues spread through several hundred pages of prose. Not one or two but five false trails are explored and discarded. Dreary. The least pleasing Wimsey mystery to date.

“This English habit of rushing into situations on a h
1931, #6 Lord Peter Wimsey, on holiday in Scotland, apa SUSPICIOUS CHARACTERS; an artists' colony in a wee town in Scotland is filled with odd stories, peculiar alibis, and confused police after the most unliked man in town gets himself messily murdered whilst painting a landscape. Classic timetable plot with a peculiar attitude, four stars.

Campbell is a completely unlikable man, the Perfect Victim - a murder just waiting to happen! He makes himself thoroughly unpleasant quite regularly in the l
Abigail Bok
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the setting of the story (Scotland, in an area devoted to fishing and plein-air painters) and the personalities of the various suspects, and for a long time the book carried me along. It is full of complexities—alibis, railroad timetables, geographic details—and I mostly surfed the wave of all this specificity without diving under the surface.

I had been alerted to watch for a couple of crucial details (and if I hadn’t been, the regrettable cover of my New English Library paperback emp
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own, mystery, fiction
Meh. I am told Sayers wrote this at a time when railroad timetable mysteries were popular, just to prove she could. I believe it. Basically, the first half of the book features Lord Peter and all the policemen going through all the permutations of Scotland's mindboggling train schedule, as well as six suspects who are barely distinguishable from each other. During the second half, the plot really picks up, and we finally get a little characterisation of each of the suspects, as well as some much ...more
Jan 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime
Some bits of this were funny and just perfectly Peter Wimsey-ical. But a lot of it was routine painstaking working out of timetables and alibis and who was lying when and about what. It doesn't help that one rather feels that the murdered man deserved it, and the suspects don't. Or that the dialogue is mostly written with a stab at phonetically spelling out the Scottish accent/dialect. It's hard to read, and it isn't terribly rewarding, allow the last fifty pages or so is wonderful.

There isn't e
This is my first read of Sayers and her Lord Peter Wimsey and i can see why the series,the character is still read decades after. Wimsey was a good,smart detective without overdoing it and more important he had a humorous side, a personality that was fun to read. Sayers prose, style specially early in the novel was impressive, the strengths of the book.

The weakness of the novel was the detective story when dealing with police detectives. Also she overdid with the too detailed,over-thought wild t
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dls-challenge
I remember finding this book a bit boring when I first read in it my late teens and as a result I haven't re-read until now. I actually enjoyed this re-reading. There is a great deal of humour in it one way and another and some of the dialogue made me laugh.

An artist is found dead and at first it looks as though he could have simply slipped and fallen down some rocks into a stream but Peter Wimsey is sure it is murder because of something missing from the scene. The 'something missing' is caref
I have to confess I got an awful shock when Inspector Parker made his brief appearance in this book — it’s no longer Gabriel Woolf! I knew it was coming, but gah, I hate the transition every time. And it doesn’t really help that this might be my least favourite of the mysteries: in the original book, it relies on suppressing information that, in the end, wouldn’t actually help the uninformed reader that much. At least that doesn’t happen in this version, but it’s also a murder mystery worked to ...more
May 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a difficult book to read, and I would recommend starting out with a notebook and pencil to follow events.
An aggressive and unpleasant artist is found dead by a burn in Scotland. Lord Peter Wimsey enters the scene and decides that it is a murder. Dorothy Sayers lets her readers know that at the scene there is a clue to be identified. This is reinforced later on and it is easy to identify the culprit if one does not get bamboozled by railway timetables. There are six artist suspects, but f
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
There were plenty of things about this book that I loved: Lord Peter lapsing into blank verse, the accents of the various characters as re-created by the audiobook narrator, the setting, the re-enactment of the crime. However, I was frequently lost in the timetable discussions and I found it very difficult to keep the names and the characteristics (not to mention the alibis!) of the various suspects in my head. As it was an audiobook, there was no easy flipping back a few pages to work things ou ...more
I've really enjoyed all the other Wimsey mysteries so far on a reread with a Goodreads group, but found this one very boring. The suspects are all so similar that it's hard to care whodunit, and I found myself glazing over at the endless details of railway timetables. I also struggled with the Scottish dialect - I think this would have worked better for me if I'd listened to an audiobook. There is some witty dialogue, as always with Sayers, and a few magical Wimsey moments, but overall I found t ...more
This one was difficult in a way I didn't except : the Scottish accent in print. It definitely adds colours and atmosphere but it's a pain to read. The whole five of the six suspects are red herring is interesting but gets a bit muddle near the end. The culprit is found and the police is told in a exquisite reenactment (we are in 1931) that includes missed trains, wayward bicycles and second breakfast. Still, Sayers more average work is better than most mystery novels.
Ahh, this one was so boring! Most of the book is theories about what COULD have happened in excruciating detail. And it's set in Scotland and the Scots dialogue is written out, which I find very hard to read. And there are far too many new characters! I could not keep track of them.
Felisa Rosa
May 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I absolutely adore Dorothy Sayers, but sometimes her plots get a overly detailed and technical. This book suffered from an abundance of train schedules and a severe shortage of Bunter, the world's greatest manservant. Still a good read, though.
Pamela Shropshire
This book is an exercise in alibis, and particularly tedious ones, IMO. Lord Peter Wimsey is in the southwest of Scotland near Dumfries, in a fishing village/artist enclave called Kirkcudbright. One of the local artists is found dead in a burn; it appears that he lost his footing and fell down a steep cliff into the burn. Lord Peter comes on the scene and makes a great to-do about something being missing. The reader is not told what this item is; it merely states that the intelligent reader will ...more
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Audiobooks: Five Red Herrings 5 54 Dec 06, 2013 08:59AM  
Kindle English My...: March 2013 Group Read - Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L sayers 43 51 Mar 27, 2013 11:24AM  
Too long 5 32 Mar 15, 2013 04:30PM  
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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
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey, #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6)
  • 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)
“Still, it doesn't do to murder people, no matter how offensive they may be.” 63 likes
“I think the most joyous thing in life is to loaf around and watch another bloke do a job of work. Look how popular are the men who dig up London with electric drills. Duke's son, cook's son, son of a hundred kings, people will stand there for hours on end, ear drums splitting. Why? Simply for the pleasure of being idle while watching other people work.” 8 likes
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