Deborah's Reviews > The Nine Tailors

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
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's review
Jul 15, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery

I love almost all the Wimsey mysteries with an unbounded affection that words cannot express but Nine Tailors is my favorite above all.

Oh sure, Gaudy Night (which I read when far too young to appreciate the rather brutal life lessons is contains) holds a special place with me - it was my first. Busman's Honeymoon shows those lessons in place and in practice and does so with humor without disguising the hard work required to succeed in mastering them.

But Nine Tailors is pure and simple - a perfect puzzle book. The fact that it occurs in so finely drawn a set with so complete a cast of characters is almost (but not quite) beside the point. I really DIDN'T guess until it was revealed to me and that almost never happens.

I've read this book so many times that I've gone through 5 editions of it. The fact that I know the answer matters not one wit. The people are very much alive - Peter, freed from the constraints of the "silly ass about town" disguise gives the best pre-Busman's look at the real man inside and Bunter (my enormous literary crush) putters about quietly in the background, all competence and loyalty with a dash of "man in charge" to remind us of just how critical he is. The bells - as finely drawn as any other character in the book - have caused me to look at bells differently ever since.

It also contains one of my favorite "I wonder what happened to her" minor characters in Hilary. I will assume Hilary, with Peter's encouragement, becomes the writer she wants to be. I imagine she meets Harriet at some point as well and perhaps they are too alike to hit it off at once but in the end...I think they have a lot to say to one another.

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