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When blood stains his family name, Lord Peter fights to save what he holds most dear

After 3 months in Corsica, Lord Peter Wimsey has begun to forget that the gray, dangerous moors of England ever existed. But traveling through Paris, he receives a shock that jolts him back to reality. He sees it in the headlines splashed across every English paper—his brother Gerald has been arrested for murder.
 
The trouble began at the family estate in Yorkshire, where Gerald was hunting with the man soon to be his brother-in-law, Captain Denis Cathcart. One night, Gerald confronts Cathcart with allegations about his unsavory past, leading the captain to call off the wedding. Just a few hours later, Cathcart is dead, with Gerald presumed to be the only person who could have fired the fatal shot. The clock is ticking, and only England’s premier sleuth can get to the bottom of this murky mystery.
 
Clouds of Witness is the 2nd book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series by reading the books in any order.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.

Topics: Nobility, Siblings, Murder, Adultery, Sisters, Secrets, Love, Family, Death, England, Secret Lovers, 1920s, Adventurous, Suspenseful, Funny, Tense, Series, Female Author, British Author, and 20th Century

Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on Jul 31, 2012
ISBN: 9781453258859
List price: $9.99
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Very witty and fun but I got lost with all the different characters and still can't figure out some of the plot.read more
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This mystery with Lord Peter Wimsey and his valet, Bunter, has them working diligently to clear Lord Peter's brother (the Duke of Denver) of a murder charge. The characters include not only the Duke of Denver, but Peter's sister Lady Mary, his Mother the dowager Duchess, colorful villagers, and a few political malcontents.Again this mystery was written in the early part of the 20th century but it was still entertaining and challenging for the reader.read more
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Another fun British murder mystery, the second I've read with Lord Peter Wimsey. Getting to be familiar with the characters, most of whom are pretty likeable, even though they are British aristocrats. This was a good plane ride book!read more
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Every now and then I have to have a visit with Lord Peter Wimsey. He is my favorite, bar none, detective. Archie Goodwin is second, for when I'm not feeling so refined.Read this book recently with a group and found it interesting how much character growth there is, and yet the characters are well established. We just get to know them better. Mostly the Wimsey family, but Parker, Bunter and Mr. Murbles, some of my favorite characters are given good play here.read more
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Clouds of Witness, the second Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, brings the action close to home for the amateur detective. Peter’s elder brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, has been indicted for the murder of Denis Cathcart, who had been engaged to Peter’s and Gerald’s younger sister, Lady Mary. And that young woman isn’t telling everything she knows, not by a long shot. Nor is Gerald, for that matter. Even the dead man has his secrets.Mysterious accomplices, ducal discretion, a brush with death in the peat bog, a final solution discovered by the most coincidental (providential?) means — this is a Dorothy Sayers mystery and the characters all play up to their roles. Peter is, as always, the witty and disarming peer whom everyone underestimates. Parker is his faithful sidekick, willing to take on the drudge work but also quite a keen thinker himself. And don’t forget the efficient Bunter, whose resemblance to Jeeves grows more and more pronounced every time I meet him.I’m reading the series hopelessly out of order, and it is fun to see the early developments of later events (like in this book, the beginning of Parker’s admiration of Lady Mary). Interesting too is Lord Peter’s own development; his look of benign idiocy isn’t quite perfected yet in this early story. But the Lord Peter/Parker partnership is well in hand, and the Dowager Duchess’s brief appearances confirm her as one of the more delightful minor characters ever penned.Though this was an entertaining and well-written mystery, I didn’t find it quite up to the best of the Lord Peter stories. But Sayers’s average effort is another author’s masterpiece, and there are few detectives I enjoy more than the intelligent and charming Lord Peter Wimsey. Recommended.read more
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While not as wonderful Gaudy Night and Hangman's Holiday, Clouds of Witnesses, which follows Lord Peter Wimsey's investigation of the murder charge against his brother, will keep you turning pages. Sayers characterization is wonderful, as usual. Wimsey's brother, the Duke of Denver refuses to account for his whereabouts during the time of the murder; Wimsey's sister is obviously lying, and Wimsey's brother-in-law to be is the victim. An interesting development is that Detective Parker, Lord Wimsey's associate, reveals for the first time his attraction to Lady Mary, Lord Wimsey's sister.read more
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Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. A re-read. [I find LibraryThing's method of handling editions confusing - I would never buy the CreateSpace version listed here. The Wimsey series just cries out for a really good boxed-set edition, but failing that, the one to collect, if you can, is the Gollancz hardcover.]One thing I always appreciate about the Wimsey stories is that each book has a distinct character. In Clouds of Witness the pace is fast and frenetic, with a wildly confusing murder mystery at the center, and yet Sayers does more to develop her characters here than in some of the other books. The mystery itself almost takes second place to the doings of Wimsey's family, placing Wimsey himself very firmly in a distinct social setting, his home turf where he seems more real than in many of the other books. He doesn't show off nearly as much when he's in the countryside, either; I can't help feeling that, titles aside, this is a depiction of the sort of society Sayers was raised in before she went off to London.I also enjoy the sketch of Wimsey's sister Lady Mary Wimsey, who turns up in later novels but only as a cardboard cutout (his brother Gerald never gets his character developed, which is a great shame). Watching Parker go all chivalrous and defensive of her is always amusing, albeit out of character. Mary is real in this book: later on, the Wimsey family becomes more and more a caricature of a noble English household, and Mary becomes a boring housewife, alas. Plenty happens to Wimsey in this book: he gets chased by dogs, shot, falls into a bog, and flies across the Atlantic (in the 1920s that was a noteworthy adventure). I have never seen a bullet wound heal with such great speed and thoroughness.There is an absolutely priceless little cameo of two writers talking about the trends of the day, something Sayers is able to pick up in the later novels once she writes herself in as Wimsey's love interest when Harriet Vane comes along.I absolutely zipped through this novel (which was supposed to be strictly a post-workout cool down read but ended up as a Main Book) despite having read it several times before. And that really defines the enduring success of the Wimsey novels; they're downright entertaining, and despite (or because of?) being set so firmly in a lost era, never seem to age.read more
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Still good fun, although I found the pace and complexity a little much after Whose Body? and the ending not entirely satisfactory - it seemed like it was all red herrings until the clue was produced literally in the nick of time that changed everything. Not bad, but not my favorite so far.read more
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It was an unexpected pleasure to discover that there was a Wimsey novel I hadn't read yet - rather like finding the last bottle of the '47 lurking dust-covered at the back of the cellar. The book - the second full-length Wimsey novel - isn't up to the standard of some of the later ones, but it does have quite a lot to entertain and interest the reader. The Yorkshire setting is nicely observed, with dialect characters who are portrayed as individuals and manage to avoid becoming stereotypes. The scene where Wimsey goes astray on the moors on a foggy night is pure melodrama (Wilkie Collins at his most wuthering), but Sayers defuses the tension with neat irony by tying it into the song "On Ilkley Moor baht'at"What is most interesting about the book, seen as part of the Wimsey "canon", is the way it establishes the relationships between Lord Peter, his brother the Duke, his sister Lady Mary, their mother the Dowager, and Chief Inspector Parker. The Duke is accused of murdering Mary's fiancé: we know, of course, that Wimsey will be able to get him off the hook (any other outcome would pretty much rule out any further Lord Peter novels), but it's an interesting challenge for him, not least because the Duke refuses to explain where he was on the night in question, while Mary's evidence at the inquest conflicts with the other witnesses.read more
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When Lord Peter Wimsey finds out his brother the Duke has been accused of murder, he hightails it over to try to sort it out. Who really killed his sister's fiance, Denis Cathcart? Lord Peter may find out a few family secrets by the time he's finished detecting...This entertaining second book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series could easily be read as a standalone. Lord Peter reminds me a lot of Bertie Wooster with his prattling and his valet. The twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing until quite close to the end. The adventures of Lord Peter as he gets to the bottom of things generally kept me amused, and sometimes provoked a laugh. I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with it, but I'd be willing to keep reading the series.read more
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Dorothy L. sayers is at the top of the cozy field. In this Lord Peter Wimsey book, his brother is on trial for murder and his sister is acting strangely. With the help os his manservant, Bunter, and his friend Parker, Wimsey sets out to find the whole truth about the murder of his almost brother-in-law.Denis Cathcart is found in the Riddlesdale lodge where the Wimsey family was preparing for the marriage of Mary , Peter's sister,and Denis. He had been shot.Everyone noticed the tension between Denis and Wimsey's brother,Jerry and since Jerry was discovered over the body by Mary, Jerry was indicted for murder.Peter knows his brother is innocent but how can he prove it when his brother won't talk and his sister is acting sickly and telling lies. Across two continents and three countries, Peter races to solve the crime and,of course, in the nick of time he does.Splendid example of an English cozy by one of the truly great mystery writers.read more
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Another excellent Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. As usual, it has a good mix of humor and seriousness, and I particularly enjoyed Parker in this one. There's a tendency in fiction about private detectives to portray the police as idiots, and there's a certain amount of that even in the Sayers mysteries, but I've always appreciated Inspector Parker. Parker is, of necessity, more stolid than Lord Peter and of course slightly less brilliant, but he's a very good, honest cop and often keeps Lord Peter from flying off into fantastical scenarios. I also got a huge giggle out of the chapter where Lord Peter meets his sister's "radical" friends.read more
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I do like Lord Peter. I was surprised at how little of him there was in this one, considering the family connection. In the first book, there were hints at his PTSD and such, but I didn't feel like the narrative of this book was as close to him. He wasn't so annoying, either, in his speech or attitude: part of that was probably knowing what to expect, of course, but still, it all felt somewhat toned down in this one, and not much by way of overarching plot seemed to happen -- I'm told it will, later on; I'm just eagerly watching out for it.

This one's a good mystery. Plenty of red herrings to keep one occupied, but not so difficult that it doesn't come straight near the end. Some things I got ahead of time, too, but not everything, which nicely balances the need to feel clever with the need for mystery to keep one reading.

The scenes/transcripts from court got perhaps a little too long-winded, but for the most part I found it nicely paced and easy to read.

Definitely a fun one.read more
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Love the writing and the dialogue of the different characters - it brings an era of England to life. the mystery itself is pretty good, too. lots of twists, where you think you're done and have figured it out... but no, you're not quite right.read more
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While this, the second of Sayers’ Wimsey books, is a longer and more discursive volume than the first, its greater length is not due to padding. In fact what the reader is presented with is a fine and nuanced examination of English society and culture in the decade after the end of the “Great War” and before the onset of worldwide depression. England is changing and yet England has not yet changed. The class system is not what it once was and yet the class system still functions. Education is no longer solely the privilege of the upper and monied classes and yet markers of education are still evident in interactions among people. The story itself is structured much like an onion with layers that must be peeled away in order to discover what lies at the center. The reader will find, especially upon subsequent readings, that the nature of the center is not what they thought it to be and that each layer deserves to be carefully examined upon removal.Warning: beyond here lie spoilers.The opening of the book seems simple and straightforward. Lord Peter Wimsey discovers, while in Parisian hotel returning from a “get away” holiday on Corsica, that his brother, the Duke of Denver, has been charged with murder. Wimsey dashes to his brothers’ side in England only to find that Denver is no more willing to explain to Lord Peter his mysterious behaviour on the night in question than he was to his lawyer. Wimsey, even if he had not previously done work as amateur detective, would no doubt have done everything he could to free his brother. The reader is, however, gently and wittily reminded by Sayers, that his efforts might not have been received in the same fashion were it not for his social ranking, “[t]he Police Superintendent at Ripley received Lord Peter at first frigidly, and later, when he found out who he was, with a mixture of the official attitude to private detectives and the official attitude to a Duke's son.”Sayers provides us with many examples of the ways in which Lord Peter, and his family, exist in a world that fundamentally differs from that of most people living in England at the time. For example, Wimsey had been unaware of his brother’s plight because Lord Peter was on holiday in Corsica. He rushes back to England and then returns to Paris to track down evidence of Denver’s innocence. He is then able to expedite travel to the United States because of his access to important people:"His next appearance was at the American Embassy.The Ambassador, however, was not there, having received a royal mandate to dine. Wimsey damned the dinner, abandoned the polite, horn-rimmed secretaries, and leapt back into his taxi with a demand to be driven to Buckingham Palace. Here a great deal of insistence with scandalised officials produced first a higher official, then a very high official, and, finally, the American Ambassador and a Royal Personage while the meat was yet in their mouths."Finally, in order to return in a timely manner from America with the evidence to prove his brother’s innocence, Wimsey takes to the air. The unusualness of this is underlined in Denver’s legal representative announcement to the House of Lords. Wimsey, he tells them:"[is] at this moment . . . cleaving the air high above the wide Atlantic. In this wintry weather he is braving a peril which would appall any heart but his own and that of the world-famous aviator whose help he has enlisted so that no moment may be lost in freeing his noble brother from this terrible charge."Contrast Lord Peter’s ability to travel and get access to people and information with Wimsey showing off London to Mrs. Grimethorpe as if it was a foreign land and with Mr. Watchett not having been back to London in the 35 years he had tended bar in Yorkshire. Working class English men and women at that time seldom traveled for pleasure and certainly could not have afforded to holiday in Corsica, stay in Parisian hotels and dash across the Atlantic.Sayer’s provides many other contrasts between the lives of the working and upper classes in England. Wimsey travels to Corsica, “admiring from a cautious distance the wild beauty of Corsican peasant-women, and studying the vendetta in its natural haunt. In such conditions murder seemed not only reasonable, but lovable.” He returns to England to almost lose his life in a bog in Yorkshire and to have his life threatened by a Yorkshireman who felt he had a right to kill any man who stepped on his property or looked at his wife. What Wimsey found lovable in “wilds of Corsica” he found anything but when it happened at home and to him. Mrs. Grimethorpe, threatened, beaten and living her life in fear is terrified to leave her husband because she knows that even if she is able to sue for divorce the legal system will not offer her adequate protection. Lady Mary Wimsey, on the other hand, is protected by her family from the consequences of her bad choices in men. The jeweled mascot given to Cathcart by his mistress, Simone, was worth 5000 francs (which would roughly translate into between 45 and 50 pounds sterling in 1925) while Mr. Groyles was willing to elope with Lady Mary on between 6 and 7 £s a week. Sayers builds her story around the fact that all of us lie for reasons that seem important to us. Lady Mary lies to her brother about Cathcart in order to gain independence from her family. She lies to the police to protect Groyles when she thought he might have committed murder. Denver lies about his affair with another woman to protect that woman from her husband. Mrs. Grimethorpe lies in order to protect her own life. In fact, the only crimes that would have taken place had so many individuals not lied would have been Cathcart’s suicide (if that is to be considered a crime) and the inevitable, and likely deadly, assault that Grimethorpe would have made on his wife had he had more proof that she was being unfaithful to him. Sayers draws a picture, in this book, of the vast gulf between the classes in England and of the grim circumstances faced by so many women of the time. Mrs. Grimethorpe is not rescued from the brutality of her married life by the intervention of the law but by the accidental death of her husband without which there was little any legal power in England could do save her. Lady Mary was willing to sell herself into a marriage without love in order to gain some independence from her family. Simone was willing to sell herself to the highest bidder in order to have physical luxury and a chance to lay a bit aside for the days when her beauty no longer paid her way. Sayers, herself, could not legally be awarded a degree when she finished her time studying at Oxford in 1915 and was among the first to be awarded a degree when that rule was changed. In Clouds of Witness she took the opportunity to witness to the world through the medium of a cozy mystery novel the difficult realities of life for women and the working class in the England of 1926.read more
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Lord Peter Wimsey's brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, is arrested for the murder of Mr. Cathcart whose body was found at Riddlesdale Lodge on a night when the Duke had gone out. His brother refuses to talk. His sister is not telling the truth. Wimsey's adventure takes him to England, France, and America as he tries to clear his brother of the charges. There are a few almost comical moments in the book. I was a bit distracted as I read this book, but it was enjoyable.read more
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Clouds of Witness is one of Dorothy Sayers’s earlier Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. It’s definitely not as good as Murder Must Advertise, or The Nine Tailors, but it certainly shows some promise.Having just spent time abroad in Corsica, Lord Peter Wimsey returns to find that his brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, has been accused of the murder of one of his houseguests at Riddlesdale Lodge, a house rented for the hunting season. The murdered man was Lord Peter and the Duke’s brother-in-law-to-be—so Lord Peter intervenes in what promises to be a sticky mess. It turns out that a lot of people are guilty of a lot of things, and it’s up to Wimsey to sort things out. What I love about this book is that you know who didn’t do it—the fun is in figuring out who did.This book (the second Sayers wrote about Lord Peter, actually) isn’t as strong as some of her later books, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. The identification of the murderer isn’t as important here, though, as is a major twist that’s revealed near the end. Lord Peter himself, with his unusual manner of speaking and varied pursuits, is an endearing character, and it’s easy to see why Peter might have inspired many other gentleman-detectives in fiction (Inspector Linley from Elizabeth George’s books). I thought that Lady Mary was one of the weaker characters (way too many dramatics for me). Clouds of Witness may be the second book in this series (after Whose Body?), but if you’re new to the series, you may want to start with this one—there’s a lot more character development, as well as the introduction of some characters who make recurring appearances throughout the series.read more
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The second book in her Lord Peter Wimsey series, Clouds of Witness has Lord Peter trying to clear his brother of a murder charge. Aided by his faithful valet, Bunter, and his police Chief Inspector friend, Parker, they embark on witness interviewing and clue gathering, knowing full well that Lord Denver is incapable of murder, even though he refuses to alibi himself.With their ingenious detective skills they wade through the evidence, and realize that Lord Denver is not the only one who is not telling the exact truth, Lord Peter’s sister Mary, who was the fiancée of the murder victim, is also bending the facts and evading the truth.With great skill Dorothy L. Sayers weaves a delightful mystery with multiple storylines and a few red herrings to keep the reader on their toes. Lord Peter is a intriguing character, and one that I definitely want to continue to follow. I particularly love the brittle, humorous dialogue that puts an upper crust edge to this story of clearing the family name.read more
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Once more Dorothy Sayers brings forth an admirable cast of characters including Lord Peter Wimsey, amateur sleuth; Bunter, his excellent manservant; Lord Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, who has been accused of murder; Lord Peter's indomitable mother, the Dowager Duchess; Inspector Parker, whose investigating is hampered by his falling in love with Lady Mary Wimsey, Lord Peter's sister who is withholding information about the case, and a host of colorful local villagers. Wonderful window into the life of the nobility in 1920s England with fortunes still intact and servants to care for every need. One must have some French and be well-read in Shakespeare and other great writer's of the past to catch the asides of this most intelligent, witty and insightful writer of mystery.read more
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Very witty and fun but I got lost with all the different characters and still can't figure out some of the plot.
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This mystery with Lord Peter Wimsey and his valet, Bunter, has them working diligently to clear Lord Peter's brother (the Duke of Denver) of a murder charge. The characters include not only the Duke of Denver, but Peter's sister Lady Mary, his Mother the dowager Duchess, colorful villagers, and a few political malcontents.Again this mystery was written in the early part of the 20th century but it was still entertaining and challenging for the reader.
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Another fun British murder mystery, the second I've read with Lord Peter Wimsey. Getting to be familiar with the characters, most of whom are pretty likeable, even though they are British aristocrats. This was a good plane ride book!
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Every now and then I have to have a visit with Lord Peter Wimsey. He is my favorite, bar none, detective. Archie Goodwin is second, for when I'm not feeling so refined.Read this book recently with a group and found it interesting how much character growth there is, and yet the characters are well established. We just get to know them better. Mostly the Wimsey family, but Parker, Bunter and Mr. Murbles, some of my favorite characters are given good play here.
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Clouds of Witness, the second Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, brings the action close to home for the amateur detective. Peter’s elder brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, has been indicted for the murder of Denis Cathcart, who had been engaged to Peter’s and Gerald’s younger sister, Lady Mary. And that young woman isn’t telling everything she knows, not by a long shot. Nor is Gerald, for that matter. Even the dead man has his secrets.Mysterious accomplices, ducal discretion, a brush with death in the peat bog, a final solution discovered by the most coincidental (providential?) means — this is a Dorothy Sayers mystery and the characters all play up to their roles. Peter is, as always, the witty and disarming peer whom everyone underestimates. Parker is his faithful sidekick, willing to take on the drudge work but also quite a keen thinker himself. And don’t forget the efficient Bunter, whose resemblance to Jeeves grows more and more pronounced every time I meet him.I’m reading the series hopelessly out of order, and it is fun to see the early developments of later events (like in this book, the beginning of Parker’s admiration of Lady Mary). Interesting too is Lord Peter’s own development; his look of benign idiocy isn’t quite perfected yet in this early story. But the Lord Peter/Parker partnership is well in hand, and the Dowager Duchess’s brief appearances confirm her as one of the more delightful minor characters ever penned.Though this was an entertaining and well-written mystery, I didn’t find it quite up to the best of the Lord Peter stories. But Sayers’s average effort is another author’s masterpiece, and there are few detectives I enjoy more than the intelligent and charming Lord Peter Wimsey. Recommended.
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While not as wonderful Gaudy Night and Hangman's Holiday, Clouds of Witnesses, which follows Lord Peter Wimsey's investigation of the murder charge against his brother, will keep you turning pages. Sayers characterization is wonderful, as usual. Wimsey's brother, the Duke of Denver refuses to account for his whereabouts during the time of the murder; Wimsey's sister is obviously lying, and Wimsey's brother-in-law to be is the victim. An interesting development is that Detective Parker, Lord Wimsey's associate, reveals for the first time his attraction to Lady Mary, Lord Wimsey's sister.
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Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. A re-read. [I find LibraryThing's method of handling editions confusing - I would never buy the CreateSpace version listed here. The Wimsey series just cries out for a really good boxed-set edition, but failing that, the one to collect, if you can, is the Gollancz hardcover.]One thing I always appreciate about the Wimsey stories is that each book has a distinct character. In Clouds of Witness the pace is fast and frenetic, with a wildly confusing murder mystery at the center, and yet Sayers does more to develop her characters here than in some of the other books. The mystery itself almost takes second place to the doings of Wimsey's family, placing Wimsey himself very firmly in a distinct social setting, his home turf where he seems more real than in many of the other books. He doesn't show off nearly as much when he's in the countryside, either; I can't help feeling that, titles aside, this is a depiction of the sort of society Sayers was raised in before she went off to London.I also enjoy the sketch of Wimsey's sister Lady Mary Wimsey, who turns up in later novels but only as a cardboard cutout (his brother Gerald never gets his character developed, which is a great shame). Watching Parker go all chivalrous and defensive of her is always amusing, albeit out of character. Mary is real in this book: later on, the Wimsey family becomes more and more a caricature of a noble English household, and Mary becomes a boring housewife, alas. Plenty happens to Wimsey in this book: he gets chased by dogs, shot, falls into a bog, and flies across the Atlantic (in the 1920s that was a noteworthy adventure). I have never seen a bullet wound heal with such great speed and thoroughness.There is an absolutely priceless little cameo of two writers talking about the trends of the day, something Sayers is able to pick up in the later novels once she writes herself in as Wimsey's love interest when Harriet Vane comes along.I absolutely zipped through this novel (which was supposed to be strictly a post-workout cool down read but ended up as a Main Book) despite having read it several times before. And that really defines the enduring success of the Wimsey novels; they're downright entertaining, and despite (or because of?) being set so firmly in a lost era, never seem to age.
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Still good fun, although I found the pace and complexity a little much after Whose Body? and the ending not entirely satisfactory - it seemed like it was all red herrings until the clue was produced literally in the nick of time that changed everything. Not bad, but not my favorite so far.
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It was an unexpected pleasure to discover that there was a Wimsey novel I hadn't read yet - rather like finding the last bottle of the '47 lurking dust-covered at the back of the cellar. The book - the second full-length Wimsey novel - isn't up to the standard of some of the later ones, but it does have quite a lot to entertain and interest the reader. The Yorkshire setting is nicely observed, with dialect characters who are portrayed as individuals and manage to avoid becoming stereotypes. The scene where Wimsey goes astray on the moors on a foggy night is pure melodrama (Wilkie Collins at his most wuthering), but Sayers defuses the tension with neat irony by tying it into the song "On Ilkley Moor baht'at"What is most interesting about the book, seen as part of the Wimsey "canon", is the way it establishes the relationships between Lord Peter, his brother the Duke, his sister Lady Mary, their mother the Dowager, and Chief Inspector Parker. The Duke is accused of murdering Mary's fiancé: we know, of course, that Wimsey will be able to get him off the hook (any other outcome would pretty much rule out any further Lord Peter novels), but it's an interesting challenge for him, not least because the Duke refuses to explain where he was on the night in question, while Mary's evidence at the inquest conflicts with the other witnesses.
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When Lord Peter Wimsey finds out his brother the Duke has been accused of murder, he hightails it over to try to sort it out. Who really killed his sister's fiance, Denis Cathcart? Lord Peter may find out a few family secrets by the time he's finished detecting...This entertaining second book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series could easily be read as a standalone. Lord Peter reminds me a lot of Bertie Wooster with his prattling and his valet. The twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing until quite close to the end. The adventures of Lord Peter as he gets to the bottom of things generally kept me amused, and sometimes provoked a laugh. I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with it, but I'd be willing to keep reading the series.
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Dorothy L. sayers is at the top of the cozy field. In this Lord Peter Wimsey book, his brother is on trial for murder and his sister is acting strangely. With the help os his manservant, Bunter, and his friend Parker, Wimsey sets out to find the whole truth about the murder of his almost brother-in-law.Denis Cathcart is found in the Riddlesdale lodge where the Wimsey family was preparing for the marriage of Mary , Peter's sister,and Denis. He had been shot.Everyone noticed the tension between Denis and Wimsey's brother,Jerry and since Jerry was discovered over the body by Mary, Jerry was indicted for murder.Peter knows his brother is innocent but how can he prove it when his brother won't talk and his sister is acting sickly and telling lies. Across two continents and three countries, Peter races to solve the crime and,of course, in the nick of time he does.Splendid example of an English cozy by one of the truly great mystery writers.
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Another excellent Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. As usual, it has a good mix of humor and seriousness, and I particularly enjoyed Parker in this one. There's a tendency in fiction about private detectives to portray the police as idiots, and there's a certain amount of that even in the Sayers mysteries, but I've always appreciated Inspector Parker. Parker is, of necessity, more stolid than Lord Peter and of course slightly less brilliant, but he's a very good, honest cop and often keeps Lord Peter from flying off into fantastical scenarios. I also got a huge giggle out of the chapter where Lord Peter meets his sister's "radical" friends.
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I do like Lord Peter. I was surprised at how little of him there was in this one, considering the family connection. In the first book, there were hints at his PTSD and such, but I didn't feel like the narrative of this book was as close to him. He wasn't so annoying, either, in his speech or attitude: part of that was probably knowing what to expect, of course, but still, it all felt somewhat toned down in this one, and not much by way of overarching plot seemed to happen -- I'm told it will, later on; I'm just eagerly watching out for it.

This one's a good mystery. Plenty of red herrings to keep one occupied, but not so difficult that it doesn't come straight near the end. Some things I got ahead of time, too, but not everything, which nicely balances the need to feel clever with the need for mystery to keep one reading.

The scenes/transcripts from court got perhaps a little too long-winded, but for the most part I found it nicely paced and easy to read.

Definitely a fun one.
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Love the writing and the dialogue of the different characters - it brings an era of England to life. the mystery itself is pretty good, too. lots of twists, where you think you're done and have figured it out... but no, you're not quite right.
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While this, the second of Sayers’ Wimsey books, is a longer and more discursive volume than the first, its greater length is not due to padding. In fact what the reader is presented with is a fine and nuanced examination of English society and culture in the decade after the end of the “Great War” and before the onset of worldwide depression. England is changing and yet England has not yet changed. The class system is not what it once was and yet the class system still functions. Education is no longer solely the privilege of the upper and monied classes and yet markers of education are still evident in interactions among people. The story itself is structured much like an onion with layers that must be peeled away in order to discover what lies at the center. The reader will find, especially upon subsequent readings, that the nature of the center is not what they thought it to be and that each layer deserves to be carefully examined upon removal.Warning: beyond here lie spoilers.The opening of the book seems simple and straightforward. Lord Peter Wimsey discovers, while in Parisian hotel returning from a “get away” holiday on Corsica, that his brother, the Duke of Denver, has been charged with murder. Wimsey dashes to his brothers’ side in England only to find that Denver is no more willing to explain to Lord Peter his mysterious behaviour on the night in question than he was to his lawyer. Wimsey, even if he had not previously done work as amateur detective, would no doubt have done everything he could to free his brother. The reader is, however, gently and wittily reminded by Sayers, that his efforts might not have been received in the same fashion were it not for his social ranking, “[t]he Police Superintendent at Ripley received Lord Peter at first frigidly, and later, when he found out who he was, with a mixture of the official attitude to private detectives and the official attitude to a Duke's son.”Sayers provides us with many examples of the ways in which Lord Peter, and his family, exist in a world that fundamentally differs from that of most people living in England at the time. For example, Wimsey had been unaware of his brother’s plight because Lord Peter was on holiday in Corsica. He rushes back to England and then returns to Paris to track down evidence of Denver’s innocence. He is then able to expedite travel to the United States because of his access to important people:"His next appearance was at the American Embassy.The Ambassador, however, was not there, having received a royal mandate to dine. Wimsey damned the dinner, abandoned the polite, horn-rimmed secretaries, and leapt back into his taxi with a demand to be driven to Buckingham Palace. Here a great deal of insistence with scandalised officials produced first a higher official, then a very high official, and, finally, the American Ambassador and a Royal Personage while the meat was yet in their mouths."Finally, in order to return in a timely manner from America with the evidence to prove his brother’s innocence, Wimsey takes to the air. The unusualness of this is underlined in Denver’s legal representative announcement to the House of Lords. Wimsey, he tells them:"[is] at this moment . . . cleaving the air high above the wide Atlantic. In this wintry weather he is braving a peril which would appall any heart but his own and that of the world-famous aviator whose help he has enlisted so that no moment may be lost in freeing his noble brother from this terrible charge."Contrast Lord Peter’s ability to travel and get access to people and information with Wimsey showing off London to Mrs. Grimethorpe as if it was a foreign land and with Mr. Watchett not having been back to London in the 35 years he had tended bar in Yorkshire. Working class English men and women at that time seldom traveled for pleasure and certainly could not have afforded to holiday in Corsica, stay in Parisian hotels and dash across the Atlantic.Sayer’s provides many other contrasts between the lives of the working and upper classes in England. Wimsey travels to Corsica, “admiring from a cautious distance the wild beauty of Corsican peasant-women, and studying the vendetta in its natural haunt. In such conditions murder seemed not only reasonable, but lovable.” He returns to England to almost lose his life in a bog in Yorkshire and to have his life threatened by a Yorkshireman who felt he had a right to kill any man who stepped on his property or looked at his wife. What Wimsey found lovable in “wilds of Corsica” he found anything but when it happened at home and to him. Mrs. Grimethorpe, threatened, beaten and living her life in fear is terrified to leave her husband because she knows that even if she is able to sue for divorce the legal system will not offer her adequate protection. Lady Mary Wimsey, on the other hand, is protected by her family from the consequences of her bad choices in men. The jeweled mascot given to Cathcart by his mistress, Simone, was worth 5000 francs (which would roughly translate into between 45 and 50 pounds sterling in 1925) while Mr. Groyles was willing to elope with Lady Mary on between 6 and 7 £s a week. Sayers builds her story around the fact that all of us lie for reasons that seem important to us. Lady Mary lies to her brother about Cathcart in order to gain independence from her family. She lies to the police to protect Groyles when she thought he might have committed murder. Denver lies about his affair with another woman to protect that woman from her husband. Mrs. Grimethorpe lies in order to protect her own life. In fact, the only crimes that would have taken place had so many individuals not lied would have been Cathcart’s suicide (if that is to be considered a crime) and the inevitable, and likely deadly, assault that Grimethorpe would have made on his wife had he had more proof that she was being unfaithful to him. Sayers draws a picture, in this book, of the vast gulf between the classes in England and of the grim circumstances faced by so many women of the time. Mrs. Grimethorpe is not rescued from the brutality of her married life by the intervention of the law but by the accidental death of her husband without which there was little any legal power in England could do save her. Lady Mary was willing to sell herself into a marriage without love in order to gain some independence from her family. Simone was willing to sell herself to the highest bidder in order to have physical luxury and a chance to lay a bit aside for the days when her beauty no longer paid her way. Sayers, herself, could not legally be awarded a degree when she finished her time studying at Oxford in 1915 and was among the first to be awarded a degree when that rule was changed. In Clouds of Witness she took the opportunity to witness to the world through the medium of a cozy mystery novel the difficult realities of life for women and the working class in the England of 1926.
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Lord Peter Wimsey's brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, is arrested for the murder of Mr. Cathcart whose body was found at Riddlesdale Lodge on a night when the Duke had gone out. His brother refuses to talk. His sister is not telling the truth. Wimsey's adventure takes him to England, France, and America as he tries to clear his brother of the charges. There are a few almost comical moments in the book. I was a bit distracted as I read this book, but it was enjoyable.
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Clouds of Witness is one of Dorothy Sayers’s earlier Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. It’s definitely not as good as Murder Must Advertise, or The Nine Tailors, but it certainly shows some promise.Having just spent time abroad in Corsica, Lord Peter Wimsey returns to find that his brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver, has been accused of the murder of one of his houseguests at Riddlesdale Lodge, a house rented for the hunting season. The murdered man was Lord Peter and the Duke’s brother-in-law-to-be—so Lord Peter intervenes in what promises to be a sticky mess. It turns out that a lot of people are guilty of a lot of things, and it’s up to Wimsey to sort things out. What I love about this book is that you know who didn’t do it—the fun is in figuring out who did.This book (the second Sayers wrote about Lord Peter, actually) isn’t as strong as some of her later books, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. The identification of the murderer isn’t as important here, though, as is a major twist that’s revealed near the end. Lord Peter himself, with his unusual manner of speaking and varied pursuits, is an endearing character, and it’s easy to see why Peter might have inspired many other gentleman-detectives in fiction (Inspector Linley from Elizabeth George’s books). I thought that Lady Mary was one of the weaker characters (way too many dramatics for me). Clouds of Witness may be the second book in this series (after Whose Body?), but if you’re new to the series, you may want to start with this one—there’s a lot more character development, as well as the introduction of some characters who make recurring appearances throughout the series.
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The second book in her Lord Peter Wimsey series, Clouds of Witness has Lord Peter trying to clear his brother of a murder charge. Aided by his faithful valet, Bunter, and his police Chief Inspector friend, Parker, they embark on witness interviewing and clue gathering, knowing full well that Lord Denver is incapable of murder, even though he refuses to alibi himself.With their ingenious detective skills they wade through the evidence, and realize that Lord Denver is not the only one who is not telling the exact truth, Lord Peter’s sister Mary, who was the fiancée of the murder victim, is also bending the facts and evading the truth.With great skill Dorothy L. Sayers weaves a delightful mystery with multiple storylines and a few red herrings to keep the reader on their toes. Lord Peter is a intriguing character, and one that I definitely want to continue to follow. I particularly love the brittle, humorous dialogue that puts an upper crust edge to this story of clearing the family name.
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Once more Dorothy Sayers brings forth an admirable cast of characters including Lord Peter Wimsey, amateur sleuth; Bunter, his excellent manservant; Lord Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver, who has been accused of murder; Lord Peter's indomitable mother, the Dowager Duchess; Inspector Parker, whose investigating is hampered by his falling in love with Lady Mary Wimsey, Lord Peter's sister who is withholding information about the case, and a host of colorful local villagers. Wonderful window into the life of the nobility in 1920s England with fortunes still intact and servants to care for every need. One must have some French and be well-read in Shakespeare and other great writer's of the past to catch the asides of this most intelligent, witty and insightful writer of mystery.
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