113. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Publication: Harper & Row; Book Club Edition (1956), originally published 1926, Hardcover, 218pp
Read: July 1-2, 2012
After being underwhelmed with Whose Body? in 2009 I put off reading Lord Peter mysteries for a while. Then I watched that amazing 1980s TV adaptation with Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter and Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane and I got sucked into interwar mysteries again. Unfortunately I don’t actually have any LP/HV books, but I do have this one, at least, and it’s one I haven’t read before. And it was pretty darned good, Clouds of Witness! For some reason I didn’t remember Lord Peter as being so…PEPPY, I guess, but then maybe I was just confusing him with some other character. Once I got used to it, I rather liked it. It’s nice to have a peppy detective every once in a while (even if the peppiness is just a cover). I loved watching LP untangle the thread of craziness to get to the solution, and overall I liked it much better than Whose Body?.
I liked it a lot!
114. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers
Publication: Harper & Row; Book Club Edition (1956), originally published 1928, Hardcover, 188pp
Read: July 2, 2012
I think probably the most interesting thing about this book and the previous one (besides the mystery, I mean) is all the real-life references DLS stuck in there. She writes a lot about “modern women,” and socialism, and shell-shock (VERY interesting stuff, there), and the literary/art movements of the time. And she does it without necessarily coming down on one side or another– by which I mean she makes sure to present both “sides” equally (except in the case of all the old farts who yearn for yesteryear. They tend to all be asses). It’s kind of neat, especially since some other authors (Agatha Christie, for instance) tend to stick their characters in a world less touched by current happenings.
The mystery was actually quite clever, with loads of people lying and doing vaguely bad things. And then the ending, which made me very uncomfortable. I don’t particularly like endings where the villain is “redeemed” or “punished” or whatever by being offered suicide by the detective/the goodies. It’s got a weird tilt to it that makes me wonder if people would actually do that sort of thing today, IRL I mean. Hm.
I liked it a lot!
I enjoy books about circuses and magicians and that sort of thing (although some of them turn out to be disappointingly boring), even about people I’ve never heard of before. Though I enjoy stage magic, I’m definitely not an aficionado. Still, didn’t keep me from downloading this freebie biography about Al Flosso, the “Coney Island Fakir.” Probably the intro from Teller (one of my favorite magicians) helped convince me to get it, too.
It’s not a long book, and sometimes it did get a bit “here’s all my research see how much I did,” but overall it’s a good biography of a man who did interesting things during his lifetime. I wish there were more pictures, especially when a trick’s being described, but I managed to do without and probably you would, as well.
I liked it!