2008: 94. Clouds of Witness

“Lord Peter Wimsey stretched himself luxuriously between the sheets provided by the Hotel Maurice.  After his exertions in the unravelling of the Battersea Mystery, he had followed Sir Julian Freke’s advice and taken a holiday.”

Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L. Sayers

Now things really get going.  As fun as Whose Body?, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, and Unnatural Death are, Clouds of Witness is the first Lord Peter mystery where we start to get to the good stuff, which is less the mysteries as it is Lord Peter himself.  In this book Peter finds himself in the uncomfortable position (as he explains in a later book) of deciding whether to hang his brother or his sister.  Which is to say, his brother, the Duke of Denver, finds himself accused of the murder of his sister, Lady Mary’s, fiance.  Denver is convinced he’ll never be convicted and refuses to explain what exactly happened that night for reasons of honor, Mary is acting shifty as all get out, and Peter is left trying to find a solution to this most urgent of crimes.  The mystery itself is pretty good - the ending is very spectacular in a 1920’s sort of way, including a dangerous last minute trans-Atlantic flight (hence the title), but the fun part is getting to know our detective’s family and him becoming more of a character and less of a type.  So, while not as great as the later Wimsey novels, when he becomes a full-fledged human being (see, as always, Gaudy Night), it is a nice read, especially for fans.

Date/Place Completed: 6/24/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Re-read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017