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Clouds of Witness

(Lord Peter Wimsey #2)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  17,468 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews
Rustic old Riddlesdale Lodge was a Wimsey family retreat filled with country pleasures and the thrill of the hunt -- until the game turned up human and quite dead. He lay among the chrysanthemums, wore slippers and a dinner jacket and was Lord Peter's brother-in-law-to-be. His accused murderer was Wimsey's own brother, and if murder set all in the family wasn't enough to b ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 28th 1995 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1926)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  17,468 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews

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Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Published in 1926, this is a terrific murder mystery by Dorothy L. Sayers. At a hunting house party, Denis Cathcart is discovered dead – shot through the chest and apparently dragged from some bushes some distance away to a spot near the conservatory door. Lord Wimsey (Gerald, or Jerry) left the house late at night and trips over the body on his way back to the house around 3:00 a.m. His sister, Lady Mary, also sees him and claims in the inquest that she heard a shot fired around 3:00 a.m. The g ...more
mark monday
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jason Koivu
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey's family is neck-deep in the soup...the murder soup! (Most delicious!)

The police aren't much help, so with the help of his friend, Chief Inspector Detective Guy Man And Other Words Charles Parker, Wimsey attempts to solve a devilishly difficult case involving his brother, sister and sundry others related and not.

This is all very hoity–toity, upper English society stuff where a spot of murder is nothing next to the accusation of cheating at cards. Bunch of silly
Mar 27, 2012 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
Jolly confounded story, old bean, what?

Oh My, but was this book tedious, melodramatic and disappointing, not a patch on a pleasantly entertaining Book #1.

If it wasn't for Ian Carmichael's excellent reading, I probably would not have finished at all.

The concept of the the crime (view spoiler) was interesting, but it was very badly done. It might have worked as a short novella, but was just too thin for a complete novel.
All the red herr
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
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
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 t
Apr 06, 2011 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
Dorothy Sayers works seem to me to be perfect for anyone who enjoys the writing of Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse. Sayers imparts an acerbic edge that keeps things from getting too twee. She manages to make sharp observations on both the gentry and the socialists, sometimes at the same time. I’ve recently been cataloguing the works of H.G. Wells, who wrote a lot about socialism in the early 20th century, and I find Sayers’ insights on the complicated societal changes of this time period to b ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, humor, mystery
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
Karen ⊰✿
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uno_2018
"Wimsey would be one of the finest detectives in England if he wasn't lazy"

This should give you a feel for the kind of cozy mystery series that is Lord Peter Wimsey. It is more slap stick than Agatha Christie and more "pip pip, old boy, good-o" English than her too.
With the first book I kind of struggled a bit to get engaged, whereas this one I found myself more invested in the story early on. I didn't really enjoy how it all resolved, but it was still a fun ride through to the end ;)
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 5-star, hist-myst
This isn't my favorite of the Lord Peter novels – but as I'm sure I've said somewhere, that's like being 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 (Bompstable Cat, for the record).

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 very beginning it mentions "he had foll
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am an outlier, grading grande dame Dorothy Sayers with two stars. I am stunned this is a favourite for some folks and imagine fandom comes into it. I have specific points of criticism. However, I have collected the works. I found the beginning boring, a transcript of Gerald’s sentencing and Peter’s drunk ending was arbitrary. However I warmed up to him, his family, and friends and began to enjoy myself in the middle.

I loved their lawyer’s humour and impeccable vocabulary, which always delights
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sayers brings real comedy, history, and her Oxford training in languages to her inevitable detective stories. Dickensian names: Lord Peter Wimsey, lawyer Sir Impey Biggs (a handsome, big imp), opposing attorney general Lord Wigmore (in full wig). Mr Murbles, the senior lawyer, says " ‘Brilliant man, Sir Impey. He is defending Truth.’ Lord Peter, ‘Astonishin’ position for a lawyer, what?’ Mr Murbles acknowledged the pleasantry…’”(164).

First heard this book aloud decades ago, by my wife, so I ha
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lord Peter Whimsey is just finishing up his post-murder vacation when he gets the news that his brother has been arrested for the murder of his sister's fiance. He races back to England in order to discover what everybody was up to in the nighttime in order to get his brother acquitted. In the process, he gets shot, visits multiple other countries, goads his family a bunch, and ultimately frustrates a whole lot of lawyers.

1. In the whole, this was disappointing. The overreaching story never see
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one sets Peter Lord Wimsey's birth family into their core characteristics. The case is seated in their very midst. His brother Lord Denver is arrested on murder charges. Did he kill their sister's fiance?

I loved it. The first half is slow and also, IMHO, quite humorous considering the dire straits for all the family. And you get the first senses of their mother's deep character now, too. Dowager Duchess of Denver (is there a better title that sings itself with all that alliteration!) never
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love Dorothy Sayers, a great mystery writer that parallels the work of Agatha Christie. Lord Peter Wimsey and this 2nd installment was better than the first now that I am quite used to the lingo etc. I loved the description of the fog that rolled in (pg 274, I have the 1-3 book version ) and the scene that unfolded in the bog....."uphill or downhill seems much the same thing in a fog. But man walks in a vain shadow. It is hard to believe that one is really helpless."
Coincidences, mentioned in e
Dec 31, 2014 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
Susan Johnson
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
The cover tells us that Sayers is “The Mistress of The Golden Age Mystery” and also on this cover the Chicago Sun-Times notes this is “First-rate…marvelous reading.” Is it an improvement over the very odd "Whose Body"?
CAST – 4 stars: Wimsey is introduced as “Wimsey, Peter Death Bredon, D.S.O.” His Arms are listed as “Sable.” Okay. Bunter is Wimsey’s “confidential man and assistant sleuth. The Duke of Denver (Gerald/Jerry) is arrested and charged with the
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2020, fiction, aty2020
I didn't get on with the first Peter Wimsey mystery, but in this mystery where his brother is charged with murder in strange circumstances, Sayers has a much more rounded set of characters and a more intriguing mystery to tell.
Olga Godim
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Susan in NC
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I first read the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries in the early 90s and was hooked, buying them up even treated myself a few years ago to the DVDs of the Edward Petherbridge/BBC version. I felt I was long overdue for a reread, and am also rereading other old favorites by Christie and other Golden Age writers as I can find them.

I was really engrossed by the intricate plot and the mad evil genius behind the baffling murder in Lord Peter's first outing, "Whose Body?", but for some reason this second in t
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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

Other books in the series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6)
  • The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
  • Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey, #8)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #10)
  • The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, #11)
  • Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #12)
  • Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)

Articles featuring this book

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“Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.” 123 likes
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