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Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey #1)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  34,535 Ratings  ·  1,884 Reviews
The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detec ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published July 11th 1995 by HarperTorch (first published 1923)
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Jack
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The very first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, and thus the genesis of one of the most engaging characters I've ever encountered, literary or otherwise. Actually, make that at least two (since Bunter is equally astounding), and maybe three (because the Dowager's quite engaging, too). In rereading this, I found myself surprised at how solid the characters are at the very beginning of the series; they are essentially the same fully-realized people they are ten books later, though we only see certain face ...more
Melindam
Time to meet Lord Peter Wimsey, archetype of amateur gentleman detective & his sidekick, the invaluable valet Bunter.

“Bunter!”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.” “Indeed, my lord? That’s very gratifying.”
“Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me."


Update 13/03/2017
I did not really have any expectations, this book having been my first from Dorothy L. Sayers,
...more
Jaline
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Dorothy L. Sayers wrote mysteries (notably, the Lord Peter Wimsey series) from the 1920’s through the early 1950’s. She also did translations, such as Dante’s Inferno. She was a controversial writer of her time and a very accomplished one. From letters she wrote, she had begun working out her plot for Whose Body? in 1920-21 and the book was published in 1923.

Lord Peter Wimsey has found his own critics as a character. He was in WWI and experienced “shell shock” with a consequent fear of responsib
...more
Jason Koivu
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
British Jason #1: Jolly good book, what?
British Jason #2: Oh, rather!
British Jason #1: I say, how much longer do you suppose we can keep this up?
British Jason #2: Not long, old bean. I've run out of stereotypical Brit words and this ridiculous accent is doing me head in!

I almost filed this all up in my PG Wodehouse shelf. The similarities in style, setting and character are striking. There's a somewhat daffy lead in Lord Peter Wimsey, though he's clearly got more on the ball than Bertie Wooster.
...more
Mitch
Dec 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
Oh, I feel so badly how much I disliked this book. As a mystery genre fan and avid reader of Agatha Christie, I thought for sure I would enjoy the much-reccomended Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. But alas, I found myself bored and annoyed by the personalities of the characters.

The plot seems interesting enough: a random body of a man wearing nothing but a pair of glasses shows up in a bathtub. Who is he and how did it get there? Book collector Peter Wimsey is on the case! To be ho
...more
Connie
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Lord Peter Wimsey is a charming, intelligent aristocrat who keeps occupied as a rare book collector and an amateur sleuth. Set in post-World War I Britain, he occasionally suffers from PTSD from his war years. Wimsey enlists the help of his valet, Mervyn Bunter, in the detective work, and the dry British wit of the duo had me laughing. Wimsey's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, is another wonderful character--a socialite who often voices the feelings of the 1920s upper class.

A body--naked e
...more
Juli
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many book series that over the years I have said "I'd love to read those books!'' and then never did. Lord Peter Wimsey is one of those great characters that I vowed to visit, and promptly forgot my promise. In an attempt to turn over a new leaf reading-wise, I am changing this habit. When I find a book that really appeals to me, I make the time and read the book! This does mean that I reshuffle my TBR pile more, but that's ok. I have already read several delightful books that I probab ...more
Madeline
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it
At last, I pick up Dorothy Sayers' first mystery novel and finally learn the Origins of Lord Peter!

...except, this isn't an origin story like I was expecting. We don't get to see Lord Peter as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, deciding to become a defender of justice while pretending to be a empty-headed rich playboy (oh man, did anyone else start thinking of Peter Wimsey/Batman slashfic? Maybe Batman builds a time machine and goes back to the 1930's and he and Peter fight crime together while Alfre
...more
Kim
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it

It's difficult for me to be objective about Dorothy L Sayers. Since discovering Strong Poison in the school library when I was about 14, she has been one of my favourite writers and one whose novels I re-read regularly. In the past couple of years I've ventured beyond the novels and the short stories (not being much of a short story reader, I've not read all of these) to read Sayers' collected letters, some of her essays (such as Are Women Human?) and Barbara Reynold's excellent biography, Dorot
...more
Carmen
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Classic Fans
I understand Sayers is a master and one of the classic mystery writers, in the vein of Agatha Christie. However, I don't find her writing to be as good as Christie's, actually I dislike a lot of her writing style.

Lord Peter Wimsey says the most RIDICULOUS stuff sometimes. He quotes random poetry that is bizarre all the time. He leaves his 'g's off of the end of his gerunds: believin', reckenin', understandin' - and it drives me NUTS.

Another thing I dislike about the novel is all the anti-Semiti
...more
Kavita
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, uk
What a complete and utter mess of a book! I had been informed by many reliable sources (including Lucy Worsley in her documentary A Very British Murder) that Sayers was even better than Christie where murder mysteries are concerned. They are all wrong!

This mystery has an intriguing enough premise - a naked dead body is found in the home of a harmless man that everyone automatically knew was not the murderer because well, the Wimseys (mother and son) said so! Lord Wimsey is called on to investiga
...more
Evgeny
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it
A dead body of an unknown man is found in a tub of a seemingly harmless local architect, and it is up to Lord Peter Wimsey to prove his innocence. To add to the mystery, somebody shaved this man after his was dead. Lord Peter Wimsey also looks into a disappearance of a prominent financier to help his friend inspector Parker.

This is my first Dorothy Sayers book. I heard so much about her, my expectations probably were too high. The plot was quite good and kept me guessing... for the first half o
...more
Dan Schwent
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mr. Thipps goes to have his morning bath, only to find the corpse of a naked man wearing only a pince nez in the tub. A first glance, the corpse appears to be that of Lord Levy, a Jewish financier. Only things aren't always as they seem. Fortunately, Lord Peter Wimsey is on the case...

I really liked this one. I have to believe Dorothy Sayers was influenced by P.G. Wodehouse at least a little bit. Lord Peter Wimsey could easily be a Wodehouse character. He's a short pompous British aristocrat, sh
...more
Wanda
I hope that Dorothy Sayers would be pleased that people are still reading her Lord Peter Wimsey series in the 21st century, 50 years after her death. That said, this was very much a “first book” in the series. Lord Peter is very well named, it seems to have started a bit whimsically. Ms. Sayers was obviously finding out who this gentleman was and what he was capable of.

There are regular references to Sherlock Holmes, so Sayers was obviously conversant with Conan Doyle’s creation. Especially in t
...more
Candi
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime, kindle
This was my first Dorothy Sayers cozy mystery and I enjoyed it. It took me a bit to get used to the writing style; at times I felt like I was missing something in the dialogue or I couldn't quite follow the train of thought of the astute and often amusing Lord Peter Wimsey. I suspect that the story wasn't quite polished, but eventually I settled in and had fun with it.

The character of Lord Peter Wimsey appealed to me, as did his industrious butler, Bunter. I would like to see these characters d
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
3 1/2 stars for my second ever Dorothy L Sayers read.

I don't believe I have ever read a book that has quite as much dialogue as this one!

'It might have been burglars.....remember that next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man.......but next time it might be burglars.'

One man disappears and a body is found in a bathtub. Not in the bathtub of the man who has disappeared, but in that of someone totally unrelated! Is the body that of Rueben Levy? It bears a superficial
...more
Kin
Jun 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: british, mystery
This book fails miserably as a mystery novel. It is plain as day who the murderer is right from the beginning, but flagrantly obvious clues are persistently ignored solely for the sake of prolonging the book. It is a failure as a piece of writing, too: it's peopled with ridiculously typological characters - a typical butler, a typical aristocrat, a typical Scotland Yard officer etc., and it drags on and on, despite its relatively small size, as half of the book consists of lenghty, redundant con ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Whose Body? is a bit confusing at first. Lord Peter Wimsey appears as silly as you can get, but in time he grows on you. Only once you get to see what the war did to him. It is heartbreaking, but the scene serves to show the relationship between him and his butler.

The books is not perfect. I had to get used to the way the main character speaks. The story starts with a murder mystery and a missing person case and it gets very complicated over time. Not a bad introduction to a series. I wasn't ov
...more
Jonathan Terrington

In Whose Body? as with other detective fictions, Dorothy L. Sayers creates a detective as unique as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Father Brown. This is, indeed, the first of her Lord Peter Whimsey stories, featuring the aristocratic amateur detective as he proceeds to investigate various criminal occurrences.

In this particular instance the crime is the sudden appearance of a body in an unused bathtub in the house of one Mr Thripps. There are several peculiarities connected to
...more
Amy
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, reviewed
Ok, Whose Body just wasn't my cup of tea. Initially I tried it in audiobook format, but couldn't get through it because I thought I didn't care for the narrator. So, I tried it in print. My apologies to Nadia May (the narrator of the audiobook). It wasn't her, it was Whose Body.

This is a fine mystery, certainly nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it appeals to a lot of people. The dialogue was witty and sharp. But there was just so much dialogue. The story moved via the conversations of the char
...more
Cphe
My first Lord Peter Wimsey novel and an entertaining read. Moved along at a good pace and the mystery element was well done. Wimsey was an interesting character in his own right although my favourite character was the indomitable, unflappable Bunter.

Not quite politically correct but enjoyed the times depicted and the character of Lord Peter Wimsey faults, foibles and all.
Poonam
I love cozy mysteries and picked this book with great hope. But this is a mediocre read hence the 2 stars .

Storyline:
A dead body of an unknown person found in the bathtub of an architect- (the architect being known to Lord Peter's mother) and in parallel a renowned financier has gone missing.
Is there a connection in between these cases??(view spoiler)

We get a decent hint as to how the story is going to move ahead about 50% of the book and the culprit is easily identifiabl
...more
Kirsten
Read as part of the Book Pals thread at A Good Thriller group.

I've read this before, but I'm more than happy to "rediscover" Lord Peter again. I've always loved him ever since I first watched the Lord Peter Mysteries on Masterpiece Theater starring Ian Carmichael.

In many ways, the Lord Peter Wimsey character is much better than his contemporaries Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Lord Peter is a well-structured character with a history and a family. He also is a veteran of the Great War and suffer
...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
The very first Dorothy Sayers featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Whose Body? is a highly enjoyable read. I simply love the characters (Wimsey, Bunter, the Dowager...) and Sayers's writing is brilliant and full of wit. The mystery in itself is very entertaining: it all begins when a man finds a naked corpse in his tub one morning, wearing nothing but a golden pince-nez. An excellent premise and a excellent read!
booklady
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
I discovered Dorothy L. Sayers through home-schooling as the author of The Lost Tools of Learning. It was only after I read that, and learned she was a contemporary and friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, that I stumbled on her original claim to fame—Lord Peter Wimsey.

Whose Body? is the first of the eleven Lord Peter mysteries she wrote in her lifetime. Each one gets progressively better. I'm stretching it to give this four stars—it's not so good as her later ones, but I don't want to put
...more
Carol  ꧁꧂
3.5*

Challenge from the Reading the Detectives Group. Read at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome... (I don't enjoy reading books online, but the experience improved when I sat at my desk & used a mouse!)

A most enjoyable romp although motivation, plot & method were lacking. What this book had in spades were appealing characters & sparkling dialogue - I especially liked the letter manservant Bunter sent to Lord Peter! A lot of the language & wit reminded me of Wodehouse - a favo
...more
Bruce
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Published in 1923, this is the first in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. Here the reader is introduced to Lord Peter himself, his enterprising butler/valet Bunter, the police investigators Parker and Sugg (the first bright and personable, a worthy and frequent partner for Wimsey, the latter bumbling and irritable, nearly always wrong), and Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess. Readers of a certain age will remember the wonderful BBC television productions of Sayers’ Wimse ...more
Susan
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery we are introduced to our amateur detective, his friends and family. Living in a sumptuous apartment in Piccadilly, aided by his manservant Bunter, Wimsey is a collector of books with a hobby of criminal investigation. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver is supportive of this interest and telephones him one morning to inform him that the architect working on the church roof was most upset, as he found a dead body in his bath. As a body is found, anoth ...more
Nikki
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery
I first read the Peter Wimsey books during my undergrad, when I was doing a crime fiction course. Then, recently, I listened to the radio plays -- I haven't finished yet, in fact. Wimsey endeared himself to me over the course of the novels -- and Ian Carmichael is brilliant for him in the radio plays -- so I come to this first book again ready to find him endearing, to know and love Bunter and Parker and the Dowager Duchess.

I wasn't disappointed. There was more here than I was expecting: the Dow
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This was such a fun read! It did not feel like a first in a series. I did not anticipate a murder mystery would be filled with such humor. I must admit that the mystery part isn't much of a mystery. I almost never figure these things out ahead of time, but I was way ahead of Wimsey.

The best of this is the characterization of both Lord Peter Wimsey and his man servant Bunter. Lord Peter Wimsey has been given a history of the hobby of solving crimes. There is even reference to a specific case, wh
...more
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Around the Year i...: Whose Body?, by Dorothy L. Sayers 5 51 Apr 27, 2018 02:48PM  
Goodreads Librari...: combine editions 3 14 Apr 22, 2018 05:28AM  
Play Book Tag: (Listopia) Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - 3 stars 3 10 Jan 27, 2018 10:55AM  
Reading the Detec...: Whose Body? (1923) 161 81 Sep 01, 2016 10:04PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Series Title Wrong Language 2 20 Feb 24, 2016 08:48AM  
Lord Peter's Relapse--Real or Faked? 3 61 Jul 05, 2014 05:08PM  
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1,515 followers
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
More about Dorothy L. Sayers

Other books in the series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • 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)
  • 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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“Even idiots ocasionally speak the truth accidentally.” 82 likes
“You're thinking that people don't keep up old jealousies for twenty years or so. Perhaps not. Not just primitive, brute jealousy. That means a word and a blow. But the thing that rankles is hurt vanity. That sticks. Humiliation. And we've all got a sore spot we don't like to have touched.” 26 likes
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