LoL. This book was so much better on the re-read. Whose Body? was still a far cry from the quality of the rest of the series, but knowing the characters better from the other books gives this story so much more life and depth.
I may have laughed out loud when Peter argued with his brother about Peter’s hobby of sleuthing:
‘I do wish you’d keep out of the police courts,’ grumbled the Duke. ‘It makes it so dashed awkward for me, havin’ a brother makin’ himself conspicuous.’
‘Sorry, Gerald,’ said the other, ‘I know I’m a beastly blot on the ’scutcheon.’
‘Why can’t you marry and settle down and live quietly, doin’ something useful?’ said the Duke, unappeased.
‘Because that was a wash-out, as you perfectly well know,’ said Peter. ‘Besides,’ he added cheerfully, ‘I’m bein’ no end useful. You may come to want me your-self; you never know. When anybody comes blackmailin’ you, Gerald, or your first deserted wife turns up unexpectedly from the West Indies, you’ll realise the pull of havin’ a private detective in the family. “Delicate private business arranged with tact and discretion. Investigations undertaken. Divorce evidence a speciality. Every guarantee!” Come, now.’
‘Ass!’ said Lord Denver, throwing the newspaper violently into his armchair.
Hehe. Those of you know, will know. But this made a lot more sense on re-reading.
I also enjoyed Peter’s relationships with all of the other main characters much more because of knowing how these will develop.
It is such a strange first novel for a series, tho. There is a lot more of the feel of a Stevenson story to this than there is of Conan Doyle. This is changed in the later books, of course, but on the re-read I was reminded of a particular Stevenson short story (to name it would be a spoiler).
Still, I really liked re-reading this, and would rate the book much higher if the onslaught of Wimsey (which is toned down in the books that follow) weren’t such a distraction from the mystery and hadn’t, after my first encounter with this book, made me put off reading the second for so long.
3* (out of 5*)