[a:Sayers|8734|Dorothy L. Sayers|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1206564934p2/8734.jpg] joins [a:Christie|123715|Agatha Christie|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1321738793p2/123715.jpg] and [a:Doyle|2448|Arthur Conan Doyle|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1289836561p2/2448.jpg] in knocking out a collection of short stories for her detective character, Lord Peter Wimsey. The short-story form appears to have been very popular with authors 'of the day', presumably the stories were generally published individually in magazines before being collected. Again, [b:Lord Peter Views the Body|786376|Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #4)|Dorothy L. Sayers|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348633552s/786376.jpg|311200]
, took me by surprise as I hadn't read any of the reviews of blurb before starting; I was assuming another full-length novel. A pleasant surprise nonetheless, as this is a truly excellent collection of short-stories – there isn't a 'dud' anywhere in there.
Not all the stories are murders, not all of them are even always crimes; but each time Sayers perfectly captures her Wimsey. The stories where Bunter features as well are just the icing on the cake. Bunter is the sidekick that Holmes and Poirot fantasise about. Whereas they have to drag their pet through each detection like a teacher with a particularly stupid (but likeable) child, Bunter is there with Wimsey each time. As Bunter is determined that they shouldn't be equals socially, he also doesn't consider himself Wimsey's equal as a detective. But Wimsey is never praising Bunter for the sake of it when he says that he couldn't have done it without him...
From the frankly gruesome The Abominable History of the Man With the Copper Fingers
told as a couple of anecdotes, through the series of much more conventional mystery formats: one where the criminal's lack of grammar gives him away, another where Wimsey's encyclopaedic knowledge of wines is the key. Here even the conventional mystery format isn't fixed in stone, Sayers likes to move the target slightly by having one where Wimsey possibly gets it completely wrong (but still plausible), or maybe not. And by far the longest story in the collection, one which requires the entire cast to solve a huge crossword in order to find the location of a second will. Unfortunately, this collection ended with a slightly disappointing story, The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba
. Not a bad story you understand, but not up to the standard of the rest of the collection. Again, Sayers appears to be trying to do something clever and different, but it just didn't quite ring true for me. Dragging a nearly 5 down to a clear 4.