Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

In the meantime, a constable had rounded up the undertaker, who arrived in great excitement, swallowing the last fragments of his tea. A slight further delay was caused by its occurring to somebody that the Fiscal should be notified. The Fiscal, fortunately enough, happened to be in the town, and joined the party, explaining to Wimsey as they drove along to the mortuary that it was the most painful case he had handled in the whole of his experience, and that he had been much struck by the superiority of the Scots law to the English in these matters, ‘For,’ said he, ‘the publicity of a coroner’s inquest is bound to give much unnecessary pain to the relations, which is avoided by our method of private investigation.’

‘That is very true,’ said Wimsey, politely, ‘but think of all the extra fun we get from the Sunday newspapers. Inquests are jam to them.’

The Five Red Herrings started off strong and I loved the setting and some of the scenes – like Bunter being a few steps ahead of Lord Peter, retelling his adventures in the fashion of The Castle of Otranto, and then caring for Lord Peter by having the Arnica oinment at the ready for Lord Peter’s bruises.

However, … for most of the book, I wished Sayers had spared us the details of doggedly chasing down every single train connection and what is more every single – it seemed – damned bicycle in the country only to find out that it was not the bicycle in question.

Not one of my favourite Wimseys.

2.5* (out of 5*)

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