Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey #3)

Summary: Lord Peter Wimsey overhears a doctor talking about a case and is convinced it is the perfect crime.

When I think of Lord Peter Wimsey, I most often think of the modern TV show Castle. I am a big fan of Castle. And there are many similarities. Lord Peter Wimsey is rich, interested in crime, has a good intrinsic sense of how crimes can be committed, is interested in crime as intellectual activity and works with a police officer who he allows to do all the mundane work and there is a good bit of humor in both.

Of course there are differences, Wimsey is not a writer, just a rich Lord (brother to a Duke). He has the free time to think about and solve crimes (Wimsey collects and sells rare first edition book, but has no need for money). And this is the 1930s Britian, so the sexy female cop is out of the question.

But I can totally see Castle with this plot. Wimsey is eating dinner at a fancy resturant and overhears a doctor talking about the death of a patient.  He interupts and asks the doctor to tell him the whole story which leads Wimsey to believe that the patient was killed.

Most of the book is spent trying to figure out what motive anyone would have to kill an elderly woman that already had cancer and only a few months to live.  The last third of the book is spent trying to figure out how the killer did it, once Wimsey knows who did it.

His interest in the case is based on a desire to understand the perfect crime. Wimsey has a little soliloqy with Parker (his Scotland Yard detective friend) about the fact that crime study is based on the criminals that failed, not on those that succeeded. Wimsey assumes that for every crime that failed there has to be at least an equal number of successes.

In the end, it is presented as a success for Wimsey’s idea. But I am not sure it really is. First of all the crime is solved and the murderer is caught. Second, the original crime is really only discovered because the murderer tries to cover up the crime and ends up killing more people. So I think that while Wimsey is right, that some criminals get away with well planned murders, many get caught because of later murders that are not as well planned either because they get sloppy or because they are trying to cover up previous crimes.

I have read these books out of order, but so far I think the first and sixth books are the best, the second and third are good and the fourth (a short story collection) is the weakest.  There are 15 total books in the series (although a couple more are short story collections.  The whole series is part of Kindle Unlimited so I will try to read at least one or two more before I finish this round of subscribing to Kindle Unlimited.

Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey #3) Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook, Audiobook is discounted to $3.49 with purchase of Kindle Book, Kindle Edition is part of the Kindle Unlimited Collection

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