Reading the Detectives discussion

55 views
Group Challenges > Five Red Herrings

Comments Showing 1-50 of 84 (84 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Our next book is Five Red Herrings. I will set up another, 'Spoiler' thread, so if you want to discuss the ending, etc. then please post in that thread. This is a general thread and we assume that those talking about the book here may not have read it before, or perhaps not finished yet. Thanks.


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments I enjoyed this one very much since it was a whodunit unlike Strong Poison. The Scottish setting was nice, I loved the writing, Lord Peter took the centrestage as far as the "detecting" was concerned- so it was thoroughly enjoyable for me. Also all the details of the train schedules (very Agatha Christie, somehow) and possible time lines.

Yesterday I fell asleep early after a tiring day so haven't quite finished yet- but am up to the denouement.


message 3: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments Did anyone else find the Scottish dialect very difficult to understand?


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Pghfan wrote: "Did anyone else find the Scottish dialect very difficult to understand?"

To my surprise, I didn't- and I was expecting to after a terrible experience with sea-men's dialect in Kipling's Captain's Courageous. Some places were a tad confusing but mostly when I sort of read it out loud in my mind (if that makes sense), I could understand it.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments I'll probably skip re-reading this again, but will drop in on the comments. I've read it several times, but it's not my favorite -- interesting characters and location in Scotland, and a creative murder, but the aspects of the mystery itself (any more would be a spoiler) are a bit finicky for my taste.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
This was not my favourite either. Dare I say, I found it is a little bogged down in places.... That said, it was much more a 'traditional' mystery, which you could (possibly, if you are more adept at these things than me) work it out as there are clues and times and a real puzzle. The setting was nice, I agree.

The idea of having so many artists in one place, reminded me of a P D James novel I read recently, where virtually everyone living in a small community were writers!


message 7: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments This is my first time actually reading the book, though I've listened to the BBC radio version a number of times (it is quite close to the book) and watching the TV adaptation from the mid 1970's (which changed a number of things, though not the ending and the clues.)


message 8: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9262 comments Mod
I've started this one but am finding it a bit of a struggle at the moment - the characters all seem rather similar and the Scottish diaect is slowing me down! Hoping to get into it more. I don't remember anything so far although I have read it before.


message 9: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1412 comments I haven't started yet but I remember this one as being one of my favorites. Maybe I'm mis-remembering.


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
I'm glad I'm not the only one who found this a bit of a struggle!


message 11: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Susan wrote: "I'm glad I'm not the only one who found this a bit of a struggle!"

I really expected to and was surprised when I didn't.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
There was a lot I liked about it, Lady Clementina. I just didn't enjoy it as much as the previous book, which I adored.


message 13: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments I never liked it. It is "just" a detective story with nothing but a plot...


message 14: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2921 comments Mod
I'm about half done and its not my favorite. I don't think I have read it before but I remember the TV version. Certainly not my favorite and I'm not bothering to ponder the railroad time tables. I miss Wimsey's usual cast of characters, though the local policemen are filling in nicely.


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Nadine wrote: "I never liked it. It is "just" a detective story with nothing but a plot..."

For me, it also had an interesting setting and some very colorful characters. And Bunter seemed to play a somewhat larger part than in some of the earlier novels, which I like.


message 16: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 63 comments I'm only a quarter in but I'm determined to enjoy it. I've challenged myself to second-guess Sayers. And I'm glad the train time-tables are not a biggie with this group.


message 17: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Everyman wrote: "Nadine wrote: "I never liked it. It is "just" a detective story with nothing but a plot..."

For me, it also had an interesting setting and some very colorful characters. And Bunter seemed to play ..."


I liked it too- the characters were interesting - the whole idea of the village I found fun (in a quirky sense)- and the mystery was a mystery. And Lord Peter had a much more active role in this one- in Strong Poison, the cattery- or rather Miss Murchinson and Miss Climpson, stood out more.


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Linda, I glazed over with the time tables I'm afraid!


message 19: by Damaskcat (new)

Damaskcat | 186 comments I enjoyed it more on my second reading than I did when I read it originally I must say but I don't think it will ever be my favourite DLS. I think the plot is very clever and it reminded me of some of Gladys Mitchell's where she lists all the clues at the end and explains how Mrs Bradley worked it out though of course in this one the clues are discussed in the book itself,


message 20: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 63 comments Susan, right after I read your last comment I happened to open the book to the chapter that begins "...and set Inspector Macpherson to work on time schedules..." and I couldn't help hoping that Macpherson will later spell out, in an unglazing-over way, his findings for us. :)


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
I hope DLS's had fun with the time tables anyway. Damaskcat, maybe this will grow on me, but it is my least favourite so far - which doesn't mean that there was not a lot that I did enjoy. I liked LP's musings and investigating and I always enjoy Bunter's involvement.


message 22: by Damaskcat (new)

Damaskcat | 186 comments Susan wrote: "I hope DLS's had fun with the time tables anyway. Damaskcat, maybe this will grow on me, but it is my least favourite so far - which doesn't mean that there was not a lot that I did enjoy. I liked ..."

It has grown on me but it won't ever be one of my favourites I think.


message 23: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9262 comments Mod
I'm about a third of the way through and finding it hard to remember who the various "herrings" are, so started watching the TV version in an attempt to fix them in my mind!

It's nice to see the beautiful Scottish scenery described in the book, though on this occasion the TV show seems to have a lot of differences from the book.


message 24: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 63 comments Two F's, two G's, an S and a W. That's what I was reduced to. I found it hard to keep track too.


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Do you think this is a problem we have as modern readers? As we've already said, early mysteries did tend to be more like 'puzzles' which readers enjoyed working out. So, possibly I am displaying my modern readers expectation to have everything spelled out to me and am unwilling to enter into the spirit of the thing and actually look at the clues as part of the puzzle? Just a thought. I suspect this may be one of the few DLS's books which is just a product of the time when it was written though.


message 26: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments Did anyone else wonder why there was nothing in this book about Bunter? Or, given his infatuation with Harriet Vane in our previous read, anything about her or his work in Strong Poison? It's like he just bounced back, cheerfully, on his own.


message 27: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2921 comments Mod
Pghfan wrote: "Did anyone else wonder why there was nothing in this book about Bunter? Or, given his infatuation with Harriet Vane in our previous read, anything about her or his work in Strong Poison? It's like ..."

Bunter does appear (eventually) with both humorous and investigative roles. The Harriet question occurred to me also during prior reads. My thought: it means the non-Harriet books can be read in any order with only minor spoilers (Parker and Mary's marriage for example). It does make Peter seem a bit flighty when you read this between Strong Poison and Have His Carcase.


message 28: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1412 comments I think it comes out in later books/stories that he had gone to Scotland to get over his broken heart after she turned him down. Not sure.

Unless Walsh put that in one of her books.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
I found it a bit odd that Harriet was not mentioned, considering he had been so in love in the previous read. Perhaps the author started writing this one first, but, due to the more complex plot, finished it later? He didn't seem to be very heartbroken, but it wasn't clear why he was in Scotland, other than for a holiday.


message 30: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9262 comments Mod
I wondered if she wrote this one first too - I'll watch out to see if this is mentioned when reading the Reynolds biography.

Although Harriet isn't mentioned, I did notice there are a few points when Peter mentions being married - for instance, he says to Gilda that he has no wife waiting at home for him. And he also says his wife won't have to worry about him being stupid - so that sounds as if he is thinking about marrying in the future.


message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Well, Harriet is certainly central to the next book, so that is a story waiting to unfold.


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) Maybe he is upbeat and happy because he just got Harriet off, and whilst he would like to marry her straight away accepts (sort of) that she needs to lick her wounds first.


message 33: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Hilary wrote: "Maybe he is upbeat and happy because he just got Harriet off, and whilst he would like to marry her straight away accepts (sort of) that she needs to lick her wounds first."

That's possible. I thought he had come away to nurse his broken heart but a murder to solve cheered him up- a nice juicy mystery, as they say.


message 34: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Hilary wrote: "Maybe he is upbeat and happy because he just got Harriet off, and whilst he would like to marry her straight away accepts (sort of) that she needs to lick her wounds first."

That's ..."


Not meaning to be a party pooper, but I don't think the two books we're meant to be connected. I think Sayers had not yet decided whether to continue with Harrriet


message 35: by Sandy (last edited Jul 10, 2016 05:15PM) (new)

Sandy | 2921 comments Mod
And, I don't remember Harriet being mentioned in a couple of our future reads, Murder Must Advertise and Nine Tailors. It seems Sayers had two versions of Wimsey: one with Harriet and one without.


message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
It is interesting that we, as readers, 'fill in the gaps' so that DLS's doesn't really need to explain her motives. We assume LP needs a holiday to recover, for example. I am just beginning the next novel, in which Harriet features strongly and so I may get a better sense of her character.


message 37: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2146 comments I have just finished the book , and have to say it has been my least favourite so far. I thought there was rather a lot of padding out in it. I did think DLS was having a bit of a joke bringing in a man with a lisp after we had become au fait with the Scottish accent.


message 38: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Sandy wrote: "ATailors. It seems Sayers had two versions of Wimsey: one with Harriet and one without."
I think she might have been hedging her bets. I think she wanted to bring Harriet back in but if the public really disliked her, she could just write a few more non Harriet Wimseys and then quietly drop the romance...
As it happens I think a lot of hte public DIDNT like Harriet but she survived!


message 39: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Nadine wrote: "Sandy wrote: "ATailors. It seems Sayers had two versions of Wimsey: one with Harriet and one without."
I think she might have been hedging her bets. I think she wanted to bring Harriet back in but ..."


That makes sense actually- exploring both path- with and without her.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
It certainly seems that the majority of us struggled with this book. I have not read any of the Wimsey books from this point before, so it is interesting to me to see how the series developed.


message 41: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Out of interest is there anyone who feels the series was either very much improved by the addition of Harriet's character, or any who wished she had not been introduced? I quite liked what we saw of her in "Strong Poison" and in the next book, which I'm currently reading, she is a presence, but certainly not over-shadowing LP, I do like the fact that there is a good cast of characters in these novels and LP has a world of family, friends and acquaintances that, not only seems real, but changes as it would in real life.


message 42: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments I think her addition is a good thing. It presents a different facet of LPW's character and rounds him out from a mere crime-solving person. I am also reading next month's selection (I've found that if I wait till the month in question, I can't seem to keep up with the comments!) Actually, in Carcase, she is very involved and present throughout.


message 43: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 876 comments I very much like the addition of Harriet. Lord Peter’s interactions with her reinforce certain aspects of his personality and, if I can call them that, his values (not a term he would appreciate); and her presence throws a problematic element into his investigations. In Strong Poison especially, his emotions made the sleuthing more than just a game and turned it into a real ethical dilemma. Ethical dilemmas are the reason I read fiction, perhaps especially crime fiction.


message 44: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments I used to like Harriet being in the books and i lieked the idea of Peter being in love and finding a wife.. But I've grown to dislike her.. She is (to quote someone about a TV character who had lots of misfortunes") "a miserable mare." She is always glooming and snarling about things. And as I've grown older, I feel that Peter comes off as a bit of a stalker in chasing her for so long..


message 45: by Diane (new)

Diane | 65 comments Susan wrote: "Linda, I glazed over with the time tables I'm afraid!"
Me too. I enjoyed it but decided not to waste brain power on the tables or keeping track of who was where and when.
I loved the Scottish accents and read a lot of it out loud pretending to be Scottish.


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
Interesting thoughts, everyone. I have just finished, "Have His Carcase," and Harriet re-appears in that book, so I will be interested in what we all think of that one next month. Generally, as I said, I do like the fact that Wimsey is not static, but his life - and the characters around him - grow and change.

Diane - I suspect my Scottish accent would be so useless it would only serve to make my comprehension of the text worse :)


message 47: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9262 comments Mod
Great question, Susan. The romance between Peter and Harriet is what first got me hooked on Sayers - I've read the books involving the two of them more than those with Wimsey on his own and they are my favourites. I think she is another great character and could have been a good fictional detective in her own right.

I really like Harriet Walter playing her in the BBC adaptation. Funny, I imagine Peter as different from either Ian Carmichael or Edward Petherbridge, but I imagine Harriet as Harriet Walter!


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
That's interesting, Judy. Did you initially read the books in order, do you remember, or did the first book you read have Harriet in it?


message 49: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9262 comments Mod
I'm not 100% sure, but I think I read the Harriet books first and then went back to read the whole series in order. They were definitely the ones which first caught my imagination.

I also like the fact that Wimsey develops and ages in real time, as you say - it's fascinating to see how he changes over the series.


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10331 comments Mod
I agree, Judy, it's fascinating to see how much he changes and evolves over the books.


« previous 1
back to top