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review 2018-12-30 07:01
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

Old General Fentiman is found dead at the Bellona Clubs fireplace. Everything points to a natural death, but something strikes Lord Peter odd about the body and he starts investigating.

 

First off all let me say that I enjoyed this entry in the Lord Peter Wimsey series very much. But it took me some time to get used to the style and the seriousness of this book.

The Bellona Club is a club for World War I veterans and nearly all of the characters are affected by memories of the war. Sayer´s portraying these characters and writing about their PTS is the strength of the book, and yet my star rating stems from this as well. This book wasn´t what I expected and it took me quite some time to get comfortable reading it.

However, I´m sure thast upon a reread I will be giving it a higher rating, because the mystery in itself was a good one.

 

I´ve read this book for the 24 tasks as a book that has veterans in it.

 

 

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text 2018-12-02 18:45
Reading progress update: I've read 44 out of 269 pages.
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

December and especially the beginning of December is always the most busy month at my work, so the last couple of days have been exhausting. It doesn´t help that we have been seriously understaffed on Friday and I´m looking forward to an understaffed Thursday. And we are not understaffed because of a lack of employees, but because the person who makes the working schedules doesn´t know how to plan properly. So yes, I´m a bit annoyed and I didn´t feel a lot like reading. I have watched movies the last three nights in a row, something which I haven´t done in ages.

 

Anyhow, I´m reading the fourth Peter Wimsey novel. I haven´t made a lot of progress just yet, but so far I´m liking it. I like how Sayer´s takes a look at WWI war veterans and the trauma they have to deal with.

 

I planned a Bosch novel for this book task, but this book has to be my call for the Veteran´s / Armistice Day.

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-09 22:39
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club / Dorothy Sayers
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

Lord Peter Wimsey bent down over General Fentiman and drew the Morning Post gently away from the gnarled old hands. Then, with a quick jerk, he lifted the quiet figure. It came up all of a piece, stiff as a wooden doll . . .
But how did the general die? Who was the mysterious Mr X who fled when he was wanted for questioning? And which of the general's heirs, both members of the Bellona Club, is lying?

 

I’m still enjoying Lord Peter Wimsey and Dorothy L. Sayers. I am entertained by the mysteries that Sayers invented, but I think what I truly adore is getting to know Lord Peter and his history more fully with each installment. While I think that Sayers started out making Wimsey more like Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster (only in the first book mind you), but I am so glad that she turned right around and began to use him as her agent in both sleuthing and social commentary. Wodehouse’s Jeeves may completely run Bertie’s life, but Mervyn Bunter is a co-conspirator for Lord Peter.

Sayers starts in right away depicting the Bellona Club as a waiting room for death:

'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. . .'


An interesting issue in this work—what happens if one sibling leaves her earthly belongings to her brother if she predeceased him, but then they die at virtually the same time? Will anyone suspect murder if they are two elderly, unwell people? (This is why a string of nursing-home murders went undetected in Ontario—Elizabeth Wettlaufer had a nine year span of overdosing elderly patients with insulin before she was caught. All because health professionals just expect folks in nursing homes to die and are unwilling to look further).

All becoming much more relevant as the Baby Boom generation speeds toward nursing care and the funeral parlor.

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text 2017-06-19 17:58
U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics - James Herriot
Jack of Shadows - Roger Zelazny
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic - Randy Shilts,William Greider
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson,Linda Lear,Edward O. Wilson
Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.,Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Currently $1.99: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers.  The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman.  Jack of Shadows, by Roger Zelazny.  Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

 

Currently $2.99: Three James Herriot Classics (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful), by James Herriot.  Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.

 

Currently $3.99: And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts.  Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

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review 2015-02-24 02:58
Peter Wimsey and Bellona Club
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

There is a question in my mind regarding this book. It is listed as #5 in Sayers’s famous detective series about Peter Wimsey, an amateur sleuth. But my copy of the book states its year of publication as 1921, which would make it #1 in the series. The quality of this novel seems to support such assessment – it’s not very high. Nonetheless, it’s a solid mystery novel and it raises some interesting moral questions.

In the beginning of this novel, Peter is asked not to investigate a crime but to ascertain the exact time of death of an old member of the Bellona Club. The man was ninety and seemed to die peacefully in his sleep in his favorite chair at the Club. His elderly sister died at approximately the same time, but depending on who pre-deceased whom, a huge amount of money in the sister’s will would go to different heirs.

Peter starts the investigation, but it takes him to unexpected places. A crime has been committed after all, but what crime, who did it, and why? As the investigation proceeds, Peter is forced to suspect people he would rather not find guilty, including his army buddy George. Torn between his need to discover the truth and his compassion, he even gets into a spat with his friend, the police detective Parker.

In the end, Peter is much more concerned about establishing who is innocent and protecting them than finding who is guilty. Peter’s advice to the guilty party is not what we would consider wise or even decent, although it might’ve complied with the notion of honor that was an atavism from a hundred years before. Altogether, a disappointing denouement.

The characterization in this novel is also not the best. Peter talks a lot, but his thought process is not always open to the reader, and the author never describes her hero at all. If you read this novel before reading any other in the series, you wouldn’t know how Peter looks or what his family is like. The other characters are also pretty sketchy, and the timing of the novel is vague, although it’s obviously happening sometime after the WWI. The entire tale seems more like a chapter in Peter’s life than an independent book. I guess it’s not #1 in the series after all, but then why does it list the year of publication the earliest of all other Peter Wimsey novels? Is it a typo, I wonder?

 

I read all Peter Wimsey novels years ago and loved Peter then. I also liked the author’s approach to a mystery story. It’s all about an intelligent detective. Peter doesn’t shoot guns or engage in car chases. He asks questions and looks for clues, chats with everyone and applies logic and psychology to his solutions. He doesn’t subject himself to unnecessary danger or tumble into stupid escapades. The suspense is cerebral rather than physical, a treat for the brain. It’s my favorite type of a mystery story and it’s extremely rare nowadays. So I decided to reread the whole series. Perhaps I started with the wrong book. I enjoyed the mystery nevertheless, but Peter still eludes me. On to the next book.

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