July 13, 2010

Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers: Review

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Thank you free audiobooks! So I was painting again (I swear I do other things besides painting) and picked out Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers from the audiobook library for a listen.

Lord Peter is a nobleman whose hobby is solving crimes. His mother the Dowager Duchess of Denver calls him up with the details of a peculiar crime. A naked body has been found in the bathtub of her vicar's architect. Well, he's not quite naked, he's wearing a pair of glasses.

The appearance of this body coincides with the disappearance of a prominent financier, Sir Reuben Levy. The police, headed by Inspector Sugg, arrest the mousy architect for murder and conclude that the body is that of Sir Levy. Lord Peter has his doubts and starts his own investigation which lead into some interesting places.

Whose Body? seemed to take awhile to come to a conclusion but it is very well written. The characterizations are excellent. At first, Peter seems like a flake but he turns out to be a lot deeper than he seems.

Something I noticed that I thought was peculiar was how much Lord Peter could get away with. He tampered with evidence and used his status to do things other people couldn't. The well-dressed folks on CSI Miami would be appalled!

I figured out who did it about halfway through, just not why he did it. It was a decent mystery. I'll give Sayers another go some other time.

About the audiobook: This was a LibriVox recording and ran 6 1/2 hours. Unfortunately, it had 2 narrators who alternated chapters. Both ladies (Kristin Hughes and Kara Shallenberg) were very good but each had  differing American accents. Each lady also had a different tone when they read. Ms Hughes was subdued while Ms Shallenberg was quite perky. It tended to pull me out of the story when a new chapter started. I wish one person had read the entire book.

BookBlips: vote it up!


  1. I tried LibriVox recordings a couple of years ago and just got too annoyed with the alternating readers. I really wish they would do this differently. Also, I felt like some of the readers were doing it just to work on their English! Yes, it was that bad.

  2. I do skip any that sound really weird. I had no idea there was 2 narrators until I was a chapter in and didn't want to give up on it.

    I usually give them a couple of minutes and if I don't like them, skip them.

  3. Not familiar with LibriVox, but that would be very annoying. I think the narrator often sets the tone for the book, so if it unnecessarily changes, that'd be annoying. (there are a couple of books with multiple-narrators for good reasons, such as The Help)

  4. I wonder why they used 2 narrators? I'm listening to A Spot of Bother right now and the narrator seems to have changed all of a sudden and it has really confused me.

  5. Haven't tried LibriVox either, but any free audiobooks seem worth a try. The cover on this one is creepy, so of course I'm enamored of it now.

  6. Although my writing is not mystery writing (in that sense), I really love the other Sayers novels that have Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. I think she has as much to teach about men and women as Austen does.

  7. I highly recommend Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors, which may be my favorite mystery novel of all time.

  8. Nice review. I particularly enjoyed her Gaudy Night. I may have to reread this books at some point!

  9. Since it was written in 1923, I think evidence gathering was in its infancy. When my Dad first started in the Police Dept, they used to flip through fingerprint CARDS. Ye gads.

  10. I have not read this author but the book is unmistakably me! Thank you for highlighting.

  11. i'm a huge audiobook fan but have never listened to a librivox recording. i'm not sure i could manage it! the review of the book sounds good, though. :)


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