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Unnatural Death (1927)

por Dorothy L. Sayers

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Lord Peter Wimsey (3)

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2,727693,841 (3.85)255
The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest--even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder--Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?… (mais)
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Unnatural Death (1927) (Wimsey #3) by Dorothy L. Sayers. A conversation between Lord Peter Wimsey and his friend Inspector Parker of the Yard is overheard by a man sitting near them. Intrigued, the man enters the conversation with a tale of his downfall. He is a doctor from a small town. One patient, a wealthy woman, dies under what is probably natural circumstances, cancer, but the doctor suspects foul play from the niece who is living with her patron.
His suspicion leads to his being ostracized from the community, thanks to tales about his infatuation with one of the nurses attending the patient. Over the course of a few months bis practice slows to a trickle and he is forced to move to a new town where gossip will hopefully not follow.
Whimsy, without more than the sketchiest of details, sets out to right the wrong to this unnamed doctor and discover what has actually transpired. What follows is a brilliant bit of detective work, a majority of which is handled by Wimsey’s spy, the elderly Miss Climpson.
A nifty tale that highlights Wimsey’s twisted and brilliant mind. In due course he finds the name of the doctor and nurses involved as well as the bitter town he had to leave and the patient who looks more and more like a victim. There is also convoluted family with its own dirty secrets, mysterious cousins and mostly forgotten uncles that add to the drama.
And in due course he reveals what really happened. A nifty thriller with a deft murder plot tossed in. Don’t miss it.
  TomDonaghey | Apr 3, 2021 |
In which Sayers makes it clear that she is so much more than a mere writer of mysteries. Wimsey still spouts his doggerel on occasion, but he is also forced to confront the fact that his meddling has resulted in the deaths of two rather harmless people. In the first book he apprehends a murderous sociopath, who did it partly for the interest. In the second book, the accused is exonerated, his sister his preserved from imminent marriage to a socialist hypocrite, and the abused wife of a minor character is freed from his brutal tyrany. Wimsey might have started to think that he could do naught but good, but here the effects of his actions are disastrous and the moral questions are troubling. The surreal encounter with the second victim is distressing, and the ending is dismal. But Wimsey will persist in solving quite a few more crimes.

The plot is intricate and well-formed. The investigators are forced to admit that the murderer would never have been brought to justice if it weren't for one small mistake and some luck. The murderer's later actions are less and less well considered, and eventually lead to their apprehension.

There is a good deal of humour, mostly due to the introduction of one new character, Miss Climpson. ( )
  themulhern | Mar 6, 2021 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Unnatural Death
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey #3
Author: Dorothy Sayers
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 222
Words: 81K

Synopsis:


From Wikipedia.com

Lord Peter Wimsey and his friend Chief Inspector Parker are told about the death, in late 1925, of an elderly woman named Agatha Dawson who had been suffering from terminal cancer. She was being cared for by Mary Whittaker, her great-niece and a trained nurse. Miss Dawson had an extreme aversion to making a will, believing that Miss Whittaker, her only known relative, would naturally inherit everything. Wimsey is intrigued in spite of the fact that there is no evidence of any crime (a post-mortem found no sign of foul play), nor any apparent motive (on Miss Dawson's death her estate did indeed pass, as she had expected and wished, to her great-niece).

Wimsey sends his private investigator, Miss Katharine Climpson, to the village of Leahampton to investigate. She discovers that shortly before her death Miss Dawson had dismissed her maids, the sisters Bertha and Evelyn Gotobed. Wimsey places advertisements in the press asking them to get in touch. A few days later, Bertha is found dead in Epping Forest. On the body is a £5 banknote, originally issued to a Mrs Muriel Forrest who lives in an elegant flat in South Audley Street, Mayfair. Wimsey and Parker visit her. She claims not to remember the banknote, but thinks she may have put it on a horse. Wimsey tricks her into providing her fingerprints on a wineglass. In a drawer he finds a hypodermic syringe with a doctor's prescription "to be injected when the pain is very severe".

Evelyn Gotobed tells Wimsey of an episode shortly before the sisters were dismissed in which Miss Whittaker had tried to get them to witness Miss Dawson's will, without the latter's knowledge. A mysterious West Indian clergyman named Hallelujah Dawson had also turned up, claiming to be an impecunious distant relative.

Mrs Forrest asks Wimsey to visit her at her flat in London where she clumsily makes advances to him. Wimsey suspects blackmail. He kisses her and realises that she is physically revolted by his caress.

Wimsey discovers a motive for Miss Dawson to be killed before the end of 1925: a new 'Property Act' coming into force on 1 January 1926 will change the law of inheritance, resulting in an intestate's property no longer passing to a closest-relative great-niece but being forfeit to the Crown. Much play is made of a fictionalised uncertainty in the meaning of the word "issue".

Mary Whittaker – who Miss Climpson has concluded "is not of the marrying sort" – disappears from Leahampton along with Vera Findlater, an impressionable young woman who is besotted with her. Several days later Miss Findlater's body is found on the downs, apparently killed by a blow to the head. Mary Whittaker has it seems been kidnapped. There are indications that the culprit is a black man, and a distinctive cap found nearby is linked to Hallelujah Dawson. However, a post-mortem finds that Vera Findlater was already dead when she was struck, and Wimsey realises that the whole scene has been faked in order to frame the entirely innocent clergyman. Tyre tracks from Mrs Forrest's car are found nearby, and Wimsey suspects her and Mary Whittaker of acting in collusion.

Wimsey's manservant, Bunter, realises that the fingerprints on Mrs Forrest's wineglass are identical to those on a cheque written by Miss Whittaker. Wimsey at last understands that Muriel Forrest and Mary Whittaker are one and the same person, and that she carried out the murders by injecting air into her victims' bloodstream with a hypodermic syringe, causing blockage and immediate death through heart failure. Meanwhile Miss Climpson, unable to contact Wimsey, heads to South Audley Street where she is attacked by Mary Whittaker. Wimsey and Parker arrive just in time to save Miss Climpson from becoming the final victim. Whittaker is arrested, and commits suicide in prison.

My Thoughts:

Much, much, much better than the previous book. No french letters, of any kind! Or any stinking lawyers either!

Of course, Lord Peter screws up and gets a woman killed. Which leads to some serious soul searching on his part. It is easy to forget that Sayers was a lay theologian in her own right but she really delves into some aspects of the moral rights and responsibilities of someone who is not authorized by the Law to investigate crime. Wimsey really shows that he's not just a bored toff looking for a thrill. He has a sincere desire to see justice done.

It is also interesting to see how crime was investigated about a century ago. The issues they had to deal with (missed communications, travel issues, the press, inter-departmental rivalry, etc) made me realize that while investigation methods might have changed due to technology, people are still exactly the same and act the same then as they did then. As the Teacher of Israel says, there is nothing new under the sun.

With this book, my hope for this series is re-kindled. I tore through it one Saturday too, so I wasn't dillydallying around.

★★★✬☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Feb 3, 2021 |
Bit cringey in places with old values not standing up to modern scrutiny, but the detective side of things was interesting ( )
  Vividrogers | Dec 20, 2020 |
A volte uno parte con le migliori intenzioni, ma resta deluso lo stesso: è quel che mi è successo con questo libro, che invece sulla carta doveva piacermi molto essendo un giallo classico all'inglese.
Sarà che la Christie mi ha abituato troppo bene, ma mi pare che manchino proprio le basi per un mistery come si deve; innanzitutto l'identità del colpevole è chiara fin da subito, bisogna solo trovare il come e il perché, e quindi viene a mancare la curiosità alla base di ogni buon giallo. Poi lo svolgimento è pedante in più di un senso: non solo è infarcito di spiegazioni a beneficio del lettore, ma quasi tutto quello che succede ci viene raccontato e non mostrato (sembra che dell'espressione "show, don't tell" la Sayers non abbia mai sentito parlare, a quanto pare); se ci aggiungiamo che l'unico colpo di scena è intuibile dall'inizio, il quadretto è completo.
Anche sul lato personaggi le cose non vanno molto meglio: i comprimari sono poco più che strumenti per muovere la trama, mentre il protagonista Lord Peter rappresenta l'epitome dell'aristocratico eccentrico, il cui contributo alla risoluzione della vicenda si limita a qualche motto di spirito e ad una robusta dose di fortuna.
Insomma emergo da questa lettura insoddisfatta sotto tutti i punti di vista e con poca voglia di dare una seconda possibilità alla serie o all'autrice. ( )
  Lilirose_ | Oct 28, 2020 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (14 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Sayers, Dorothy L.autor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bayer, OttoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bleck, CathieArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Carmichael, IanNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Crowley, DonArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Damkoehler, KatrinaDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
George, ElizabethIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Griffini, Grazia MariaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Michal, MarieArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Relander, InkeriTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest--even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder--Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?

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