Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

Last year Dorothy Sayers was what got me back to reading after a dry spell, and this year she's simply been the continuation of the good reading habits I picked up over the summer. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club is the fourth Lord Peter Wimsey novel, and in my opinion it is by far the best yet. I think this is the first time Lord Peter really becomes Lord Peter. He has gained a certain something--he's more buoyant, but he's also more serious. The book itself is funnier than I remember the previous books being. I have a (bad?) habit of reading all books with Sam Starbuck and his writing in the back of my head, picking out characters I know he'd like. I already know he actually does read and like Lord Peter, and this is the first book where it is vividly clear to me exactly why he likes Lord Peter, and further, where characters with certain Lord Peter inspirations have cropped up in his writing.

Dorothy Sayers has once again distinguished herself in writing a mystery that does not immediately look like a mystery. No formula here. General Fentiman is extremely elderly and not very well, so when he is found dead in his usual chair in the Bellona Club on Armistice Day, no one is surprised. But why wasn't there a red poppy in his lapel, and when did he die? When it becomes clear that the time of his death determines a half-million-pound inheritance, Lord Peter sets out to answer these questions.

This was very good fun, and Lord Peter was very charming, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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