The body was on the pointed rocks alongside the stream. The artist might have fallen from the cliff where he was painting, but there are too many suspicious elements - particularly the medical evidence that proves he'd been dead nearly half a day, though eyewitnesses had seen him alive a scant hour earlier. And then there are the six prime suspects - all of them artists, all of whom wished him dead. Five are red herrings, but one has created a masterpiece of murder that baffles everyone, including Lord Peter Wimsey. (from Goodreads)
For such a short book, The Five Red Herrings nevertheless seemed to last FOREVER. Partly that was because I enjoyed myself so much while reading it (Lord Peter! in Scotland!), and parly it was because of the (Scottish) dialect, which always takes me forever to puzzle through. Dorothy L. Sayers spells EVERYTHING out, every little Scottish pronunciation, and since the thing’s SET in Scotland (mostly), that’s a lot of dialogue to figure out.
Anyway, YAY for Scotland and artists and Scottish artists! I’ll admit that the first chapter or so pissed me off– mainly because I thought that DLS was calling me stupid for not figuring out something that Lord Peter had figured out in, like, two seconds. ADMITTEDLY once that thing was explained I was all “yes, I am stupid,” but then again I don’t know much about oil paintings and I’m not a super genius like Lord P. anyway, so THERE.
Don’t you hate it when mystery authors dangle a vital clue in front of you and then yank it away, only to swish it around in the plot like a carrot on a stick? The carrot was that thing she called me stupid over. Once I stopped obsessing over the carrot I had a fine ol’ time trying to figure out the mystery along with Lord Peter, as I always do. But it still stung a little bit.
Read: March 26-27, 2013
Open Road Media’s cover is much nicer than my copy’s cover: