It has been years since I read Whose Body? by the British writer from the Golden Age of Mysteries, Dorothy L. Sayers. Unfortunately, as soon as I saw the murderer’s name, I remembered who did it, so I was not able to judge how difficult it was to guess.
Mr. Thipps finds an unidentified body in his bathtub wearing nothing but a pair of pince-nez. The body bears a resemblance to a missing financier, but it is not him. Who is the dead man and how did the body get into the tub? Where is the missing financier? Is this one case or two? Of course, the police suspect Mr. Thipps. After Mr. Thipps’s mother asks him to help, Lord Peter Wimsey gets interested in the case and decides to find the answer to these questions in his inimitable way.
As always, Sayers is fine in characterization, much better than many of her Golden Age peers. Lord Peter is his usual apparently frivolous self. He and his man Bunter are fun. Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess, is adorably ditzy. The plot is clever. However, as with many early mystery novels, it is overcomplicated and very unlikely. For people who haven’t read any Lord Peter books, I recommend Murder Must Advertise as a better starting place.
As a total side note, the cover I’m showing is not the one for the book I read, but is just one I found on Amazon. It occurs to me, why would they show the body of a woman when the victim is a man? This disconnect in publishing is always a mystery to me. One peek at the first few pages would have told the artist the sex of the body.