Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers

I have really enjoyed the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers, but this one was my least favorite so far. What I've liked so much about the others is the characters, especially Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant, Mervyn Bunter. To me, the mystery has always been secondary. 

The Five Red Herrings was written in a different style from the earlier books. When the dead body of a painter is found at the bottom of a cliff, there are six other painters who could have been guilty of the murder. The book focuses on those six painters and their movements and motives in excruciating detail. I found it more confusing than the previous books in the series, and harder to keep the characters straight. In addition, Lord Peter played a smaller role in the story (although he was the one who ultimately solved the murder) and Bunter was hardly in the story at all. So I rate it 3 out of 5.

I read this for my 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge. It could be counted in several different categories (for example, #8, A classic with a number in the title or #9 A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title), but I'm going to count it as #10 A classic set in a place you'd like to visit (Scotland). However, I do reserve the right to change my mind on the category.

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