Looking for something to read over the weekend ?
Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?
Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.
EXCERPT: ‘What in the world, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?’ demanded Captain Fentiman, flinging aside the Evening Banner with the air of a man released from an irksome duty.
‘Oh, I wouldn’t call it that,’ retorted Wimsey amiably. ‘Funeral Parlour at the very least. Look at the marble. Look at the furnishings. Look at the palms and the chaste bronze nude in the corner.’
‘Yes, and look at the corpses. Place always reminds me of that old thing in Punch, you know – ‘Waiter! Take away Lord Whatsisname. He’s been dead two days.’ Look at old Ormsby there, snoring like a hippopotamus. Look at my revered grandpa – dodders in here at ten every morning, collects the Morning Post and the armchair by the fire, and becomes part of the furniture til the evening. Poor old devil. I suppose I’ll be like that one of these days. . .’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ninety-year old General Fentiman has been estranged for years from his sister, Lady Dormer. On the afternoon of 10 November, he is called to her deathbed for a reconciliation, and learns the terms of her will. If she dies first he will inherit a fortune, which his grandsons sorely need. But if he dies first, nearly all of the money will go to Ann Dorland, a distant relative of Lady Dormer’s late husband. She is a young woman with artistic leanings who lives with Lady Dormer.
Lady Dormer dies at 10:37 AM the next day, which is 11 November—Armistice Day. That afternoon the General is found dead in his armchair at the club. This produces a hysterical outburst from his younger grandson, George Fentiman, a veteran of World War I still suffering from the effects of poison gas and shell shock. Due to the terms of Lady Dormer’s will and the time of her death, it becomes necessary to establish the exact time of the General’s death. Though the estate would provide amply for all three heirs, Ann Dorland refuses any compromise settlement. Wimsey is asked to help solve the puzzle by his friend Mr Murbles, the solicitor for the Fentiman family. Wimsey agrees, though he insists that he will pursue the exact truth, regardless of who benefits.
MY THOUGHTS: At the time I first read this, I wrote ‘This is quite the best Lord Peter Wimsey novel I have read thus far’. I read the whole series as part of a challenge on Goodreads a few years ago, and developed a fondness for both Sayers and Lord Peter, but this remains the firm favorite.
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club is #5 in the series and Lord Peter’s personality is beginning to flower – he really is quite a sweetie with a kind heart, a man who likes to see people happy. He even gets to play matchmaker. I love the way his mind works, and he has quite a theatrical bent.
Lord Peter had been joking about how a body could sit in its chair in the club undetected, when one is discovered. Everyone had thought the elderly General Fendman was merely snoozing by the fire. But when it becomes imperative to ascertain the exact time of the General’s death to determine the recipient of a half-million pound inheritance, Lord Peter will need to employ all his skills and those of his butler Bunter and good friend Inspector Charles Parker.
This is a true British classic and one I enjoyed immensely. Best enjoyed on a wet, wintery afternoon in front of the fire with tea and crumpets.
Although this is #5 in a series, it is perfectly able to be read as a stand-alone .
THE AUTHOR: Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.
Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She is also known for her plays and essays.
DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by D. L. Sayers. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1647175775