Review copy was received from Library. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Narrator: Mark Meadows
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey #2
Published by Dreamscape Media on January 11, 2022
Length: 9 hours, 35 minutes
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Rustic old Riddlesdale Lodge was a Wimsey family retreat filled with country pleasures and the thrill of the hunt -- until the game turned up human and quite dead. He lay among the chrysanthemums, wore slippers and a dinner jacket and was Lord Peter's brother-in-law-to-be. His accused murderer was Wimsey's own brother, and if murder set all in the family wasn't enough to boggle the unflappable Lord Wimsey, perhaps a few twists of fate would be -- a mysterious vanishing midnight letter from Egypt...a grieving fiancee with suitcase in hand...and a bullet destined for one very special Wimsey.
Hi ho, Lord Peter fans! He’s off to tackle another mystery and this time it hits close to home. Set post WWI during the exciting Roaring Twenties, Lord Peter’s personality is larger than life and was fun to see him among his family and friends rootling out the truth that both his siblings are working to hide for their own secretive reasons.
Clouds of Witness is the second book in the series and would work fine standalone.
A body is discovered near the conservatory door of the Duke of Denver’s hunting lodge where he’s hosting a hunting party. Unfortunately, Denver is discovered with the body and the coroner’s court determines to arrest him. Lord Peter hies it home from his travels in the Med to help out his brother from going to the gallows and solve it for his little sister’s sake since the deceased was her fiancé.
Loved the atmospheric York moors and the phlegmatic Yorkshire people getting to be the backdrop for this whodunit country house party murder. Sayers doesn’t limit her cast of suspects to the houseparty themselves, but include the possibility of the unknown when Peter and Parker detect clues that hint at outside night-time visitors to the lodge.
The first half of the book was light and fun and loaded with lots of Peter detecting with the help of his valet, Bunter, and his friend in Scotland Yard, Inspector Parker. I enjoyed seeing Peter interact with the younger sister he realizes he barely knows now and his older brother, Gerald who can be pompous. The Dowager duchess is a hoot and is the source of all Peter’s personality.
But the second half around the three-quarter mark really slowed down when the court scenes began. There is a background suspense of Peter still pulling together clues as the clock is ticking. But, there were two things that were entirely superfluous and dragged the story to a grind. First, the letter read in court was read in its entirety in French and then entirely in English. It wasn’t short- it was necessary, but not two times worth. Secondly, after all the evidence and what should have been a quick wrap up, instead we got the lawyer retelling a redundant whole history of the case. All stuff the reader got from the previous pages. Then at the end, the lawyer finally hit on new details and the book wrapped up with a hilarious scene.
All in all, I enjoyed this fun historical cozy murder mystery written during the Golden Age of British Mysteries. Definitely recommend when readers want a classic.
Mark Meadows was a solid narrator and did great with Lord Peter’s antics, the thick Yorkshire accents and the French with all the cast of characters easily distinguished.
Listen to the clip: HERE
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