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Whose Body?

(Lord Peter Wimsey #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  47,482 ratings  ·  2,828 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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Joannapercy No it is very dated, slow and contains antisemitism.
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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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
Time to meet Lord Peter Wimsey, archetype of amateur gentleman detective & his sidekick, the invaluable valet 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, just
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
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
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.
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: uk, mystery
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
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
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
Connie G
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: england, mystery, series
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
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
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
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook-owned
Somewhere between 2 and 2.5 stars... Oh dear. I remember loving this series back in the day, but this was definitely not my favorite entry. There were parts I enjoyed (such as the writing itself, the dynamic with Peter & Bunter, the idea of the solution), but I do think it would have been much more successful as a short story rather than as a novel. It felt very drawn out, and I didn't really care for Lord Peter... which doesn't bode well for my future with this reading project... :/ ...more
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
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
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
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, book-club, classics
3 stars

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.
There are two mysteries in this book. One is of a corpse found naked in the bathtub of a fussy architect’s house. The other involves a financier disappearing from his bedroom one night, never to be seen again.

Both were decent mysteries and I enjoyed how it was all solved at the end. I didn’t feel like this book was ground breaking though, and there was no tension.

It felt like a dulled down Agatha Christie b
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
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery-crime
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
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, series
Originally published in 1932, this is the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. I snapped it up on Prime Reading and added it to my summer reading.

Lord Peter was hampered in his career as a private detective by a public school education. Despite Parker's admonitions, he was not always able to discount it. His mind had been warped in its young growth by " Raffles" and " Sherlock Holmes" or the sentiments for which they stand. He belonged to a family which had never shot a fox.

The WWI vet
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
Simona B
Up until halfway through it, this was a three-star read. Pleasant, but only mildly inspiring. Then came Lord Peter and Parker's conversation about games, morality, and social duty, which is highly revealing of the logic of this age's clue-puzzle; the incredible, almost cinematographic rendering of Lord Peter's definitive intuition (chapter 8), really an uncommon stylistic exploit for such an early example of Golden Age detective fiction; and thirdly, the scene that lets us know that Lord Peter s ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, mysteries
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
Nancy Oakes
like a 3.8 rounded up.

While I certainly wouldn't call Whose Body? the best in this series (that will come down the road a bit later), if you are an avid fan (in my case, actually, it's more like rabid) of old mystery/crime/detective novels, it is most certainly worth reading as it introduces one of the best-known characters of mystery's golden age, Lord Peter Wimsey.

A call from his mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, alerts Lord Peter to a most unusual
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jill Hutchinson
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a re-read for me since I haven't read a Wimsey book for a while. I stand by my original review except I now know that it is the first of the series.


I don't know if this is the first Lord Peter Wimsey book since I am too lazy to look it up!!! But it was written in the early 1920s, so I am making that assumption. The character of Lord Peter is a little more insufferable (but lovably so) than usual and is still having flashbacks of his time in the trenches of
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
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
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.
This is Sayers'/Wimsey's 1923 debut, only 3 years after Agatha Christie's first work.
This book proves an old truth: Good friends will help you move, but really good friends will help you move a dead body. Unfortunately, here, the villain has no really good friends. (Early into my genre read of The Golden Age of Crime in Europe, I’m testing various rating systems. I do think European crime novels focus on people more than the crime itself.)
CAST – 2 stars:
✘✘ 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! ...more
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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)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #4)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6)
  • Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #8)
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