March 6, 2012
Despite my initial hesitation about Lord Peter Wimsey, by the time I was a few pages into this novel, he had made a life-long fan of me. Dorothy L. Sayers Wimsey books are just so comfortable; never boring, just...comfortable, somehow. (Hence the term "cozy mystery," right?) The main characters are the kind of people with whom you could hang out happily in a pub on a long winter evening, so despite the loony circumstances that whirl all around them, they're the bastions of sanity at the center.
In this case, Wimsey's own brother, the Duke of Denver (who is as thick as two short planks and one of the dullest men alive) is accused of murder. I don't know if the bit about a peer of the realm having to be tried by the entire House of Lords in order to be assured of getting "a jury of his peers" was true--it may STILL be, for all I know!--but it certainly made for great mental pomp and spectacle to read about! It certainly SOUNDS like something that would true of British law.
The title of this book is hilariously apt, because Lord Peter and his sidekick, Inspector Parker, took forever to find out what actually happened, thanks to the myriad dead-end "leads" provided by an enormous collection of completely useless "witnesses". Frustrating for our heroes, no doubt, but quite fun to read!