Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Clouds of Witness (1926)

Clouds of Witness. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1926/1966. Avon. 224 pages.

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

I hope to reread all of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter books this year. This is my first reread of the series. My first review of Clouds of Witness

While Clouds of Witness is not my absolute favorite in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, I definitely enjoyed it. Lord Peter is still Lord Peter. I still enjoy seeing Lord Peter in discussion with Bunter and Parker. I still love references to Lord Peter's mother!

In this mystery, Lord Peter rushes home because his brother has been arrested for murder. The victim was engaged to be married to his sister, Mary. But with his brother staying silent about WHERE he was and WHO he was with at the time of the crime, and Mary being caught in a handful of lies, Peter is having difficulty establishing just who the real murderer was.

Lord Peter to Inspector Charles Parker:

"True, O King. Well, you've sat on all my discoveries so far. Never mind. My head is bloody but unbowed. Cathcart was sitting here--"
"So your brother said."
"Curse you, I say he was; at least, somebody was; he's left the impression of his sit-me-down-upon on the cushion."
'That might have been earlier in the day."
"Rot. They were out all day. You needn't overdo this Sadducee attitude, Charles. I say Cathcart was sitting here..." (38)
Lord Peter to Inspector Charles Parker:
"I say, I don't think the human frame is very thoughtfully constructed for this sleuth-hound business. If one could go on all-fours, or had eyes in one's knees, it would be a lot more practical." (48)

Lord Peter to Inspector Charles Parker:
"Did you ever read The Lay of the Last Minstrel?"
"I learnt a good deal of it at school," said Parker. "Why?"
"Because there was a goblin page-boy in it," said Lord Peter, "who was always yelling 'Found! Found! Found!' at the most unnecessary moments. I always thought him a terrible nuisance, but now I know how he felt. See here." (52)

Sir Impey Biggs to the Dowager Duchess:
"Lawyers enjoy a little mystery, you know. Why, if everybody came forward and told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth straight out, we should all retire to the workhouse." (62)
A solemn Peter...
With that instinct which prompts one, when depressed, to wallow in every circumstance of gloom, Peter leaned sadly upon the hurdles and abandoned himself to a variety of shallow considerations upon (1) The vanity of human wishes; (2) Mutability; (3) First love; (4) The decay of idealism; (5) The aftermath of the Great war; (6) Birth-control; (7) The fallacy of free-will. (71)

Lord Peter to Inspector Charles Parker:
"Mother said--well, I told you what she said. By the way, how do you spell ipecacuanhna?"
Mr. Parker spelt it.
"Damn you!" said Lord Peter. "I did think I'd stumped you that time. I believe you went and looked it up beforehand. No decent-minded person would know how to spell ipecacuanha out of his own head. Anyway, as you were saying, it's easy to see which side of the family has the detective instinct."
"I didn't say so--"
"I know. Why didn't you? I think my mother's talents deserve a little acknowledgment. I said so to her, as a matter of fact, and she replied in these memorable words: 'My dear child, you can give it a long name if you like, but I'm an old-fashioned woman, and I call it mother-wit, and it's so rare for a man to have it that if he does you write a book about him and call him Sherlock Holmes.'" (97)
Read Clouds of Witness
  • If you enjoy mysteries--cozy mysteries, vintage mysteries, British mysteries
  • If you enjoy Dorothy Sayers' mysteries
  • If you can't get enough of Lord Peter!
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Oh, I love Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter! Have fun.