A body is discovered and a man is missing. Superficially it appears to be the same case but the body turns out to not be the missing man. Lord Peter Wimsey knew this to be true from the start, but while the two police investigations diverge Lord Peter believes the two cases may still be connected in a less obvious way.
Lord Peter is a top toff, a gentleman who decides to investigate crimes to entertain himself. In a way, like Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, but Lord Peter is not so detached or analytical. Instead, Lord Peter, along with Bunter, are a little more Jeeves and Wooster - but with the slight difference of the brains being more generously shared between these two.
While the book is a fairly standard crime novel, the humour is much more apparent than you might expect. There is banter between most of the characters, with that between Lord Peter and Bunter.
"... Have I time to get there before he does? All right. I'm off. With a taxi I can just --"
"Not in those trousers, my lord," said Mr. Bunter, blocking the way to the door with deferential firmness.
This is the first Lord Peter novel, but not exactly an origin story. There are some hints as to the background of Lord Peter and Bunter's past together in the way which certainly goes a long way to explaining their relationship as well as the way Lord Peter is treated by his mother, and maybe his need to find something to fill his time.
The villain is revealed well before the end, but Lord Peter doesn't keep you guessing like Poirot. There's no game of getting all the suspects in a room and accusing them in turn. Once the villain is revealed the remainder of the book is the attempt to get them to implicate themselves.
The first Lord Peter was better than the first Poirot (and much better than the first Tommy and Tuppence). Very much recommended and I look forward to the next one...