Amateur sleuth Lord Wimsey and his police friend Charles Parker are interrupted by a restaurant patron who overhears their discussion of a doctor's responsibility if he suspects foul play. This unknown gentleman just happens to be a doctor with a tale from his own recent past that serves as the catalyst for this mystery. From this casual beginning the story builds slowly at first, and rises to a classic and classy climax.
Along the way, the focus is on logic, conversations, relationships, and humor. The murders (yes, from the simple suspicion arise a compound complex of crime) all take place off-camera but there is real danger and suspense in the resolution. And Sayers is able to work in profound and humorous references to Dickens, Shakespeare, religion, and issues of gender (two pairs of female partners hint at female independence if not at subtle suggestions of lesbianism), and the towering genius of the still-recent Sherlock Holmes.
With this introduction I will continue to work my way through both the fiction and nonfiction entries in the Sayers catalog.
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