Monday, September 17, 2012

"Unnatural Death" by Dorothy L. Sayers

I've been watching a lot of "Castle" lately. And by a lot, I mean that I watched the first three seasons in a two month period, which is by no means a record time, but still--that's a lot of episodes. I'm just eating the show up--it's a great spin on the classic detective show (which I loved to begin with) that includes a lot of humor and meaning and sexiness!

*ahem* Anyway. My point is, that with all this detective show obsessiveness I have, I felt myself craving a murder mystery. And my favorite mystery writer is Dorothy L. Sayers. I read or listen to "Gaudy Night" every October--it's one of my favorite Halloween books!

So, recently, I picked up "Unnatural Death" by Dorothy L. Sayers at a Half Price Books.

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Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers back cover description: "The wealthy old woman was dead--a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour--staged by Lord Peter Whimsey, naturally."

Considering this book was published in 1927, the story is believable in today's society--that is to say--this could happen now; it isn't dated at all! I love Peter Whimsey novels because he's this rich, arrogant, basically bored man with one somewhat morbid hobby--solving mysteries. He's ridiculously full of himself and is yet, usually right--though usually doesn't mean always. The story of Unnatural Death isn't about discovering who the murderer is, but trying to ascertain whether or not a murder had taken place and then finding means to catch the murderer making a mistake. So, unlike many crime shows going on today, the object is not to find the killer, but to gather enough evidence on the killer so as to nab him/her! And considering you know/have a pretty good idea of who the murderer is right off the bat, the story still has a lot of surprising twists and turns throughout, making it completely riveting!

I found this to be a really quick and interesting read; I enjoyed that the case was more about sitting back and waiting for the murderer to implicate him/herself versus running around to suspect after suspect. It was very much a case of working the motives and the evidence out mentally, which I enjoyed. I could see that if you are more a fan of action-packed, running-around-after-suspect stories, that you might find this lacking in that department. There isn't a lot of that, but there are some seriously riveting scenes throughout the book between Whimsey and the suspect and accomplices. I was on the edge of my seat for this book and read the majority of it in one sitting.

Overall rating: 5/5. It was a really interesting case, and though not "action-packed" as we might define it based on current crime shows, it made you sit down and think about the motives and the means and it's refreshing to see that kind of plot in a murder mystery. Also, I think the pacing is quite well-done; Sayers doesn't leave you sitting bored in this book--she keeps the discussions lively and relevant, even if nothing is particularly going on! I know if you're a fan of mystery that you'll enjoy Unnatural Death written by the masterful hand of Dorothy L. Sayers.

And really, can I say, how refreshing it is to see "big words" in books. This is a personal preference, but I enjoy it when literature displays a vocabulary. I miss literature having vocabulary. I want to be challenged and learn something, even if it means I have to look something up! It's a pet peeve of mine when someone is talking to me about a book and complains they had to look words up! You learned something? Good God, how terrible! Big words are fun. End of story.

This book, and others by Sayers, would definitely be good additions to an October reading list, if you're a seasonal reader like my best friend Shy! *hint hint!* 

Happy Reading!

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