I was debating between two authors for the Wild Card - Agatha Christie and Charlaine Harris. Agatha Christie is my go-to mystery author, but I have been trying to actually finish the Sookie Stackhouse books, so I've been reading a decent amount of Charlaine Harris. I finally decided to go with Agatha Christie. My first Wild Card book was The Witness for the Prosecution. I'm using it for the Cozy Mystery square.
"THE SKY IS MY WITNESS" is a slim book (135 pages) that was written during the Second World War by the author, who had been trained to be a U.S. Marine dive bomber pilot in the months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Indeed, 2 days following the attack, Lieutenant Moore was awarded his wings.
Within the next 6 months, Moore was assigned to a dive bomber unit that was moved from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, and on to Midway Island, where it played a part in the Battle of Midway. He received his baptism of fire while attacking one of the Japanese carriers, barely surviving an onslaught from some of Japan's veteran naval fighter pilots flying the Mitsubishi Zero.
By August 1942, Moore's unit landed on Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, where it was tasked with attacking enemy warships and transports, often at night. The greatest value of "THE SKY IS MY WITNESS" is that it reflects the thoughts and feelings of a wounded veteran at a time when the Second World War was far from over.
I´m so glad I picked up the second book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.
I enjoyed the first book, but I felt it was an odd one with, as far as I can remember, its emphasis on the forensics and Wimsey´s urge to talk incessantly. He still does that in the second book, but now I have realized that he is rambling on whenever he needs to confuse his audience. And it is glorious.
This was such a fun read. I love the Wimsey clan, Bunter, the trial of Lord Peter´s brother with all the peers in attendance and of course Detective Parker and Lady Mary. I adore Parker and his crush on Lady Mary.
Admittedly, the actual murder mystery was a bit confusing. But that the only reason why I have given this book four stars.
I might not come as a suprise, but I can´t wait to read the next book in the series.
‘Does it occur to you that what’s the matter with this case is that there are too many clues? Dozens of people with secrets and elopements bargin’ about all over the place—’
‘I hate you, Peter,’ said Lady Mary.
The Duke of Denver, Lord Peter's brother, has been accused of the murder of a house guest. He has no alibi and his statements are so contradictory that it really looks like he is in danger of being found guilty.
Luckily for him, Mr. Bunter, Lord Peter's valet, has managed to find a current edition of the Times while with Peter in Corsica and promptly arranges for Peter's return to the family home.
All I can say is that this book is even better on the second read. On the first read, I was so involved in the solving the mystery of who killed Cathcart, that I didn't appreciate the all of the snippets of humour and wit that are strewn throughout this novel. Well, I did appreciate them, but not as much as I should have.
This book is a hoot.
But it is not just fun that makes me love the Wimsey clan. I also love the interaction between the characters - whether it is Bunter looking after Wimsey, Lady Mary stropping with Wimsey, Wimsey egging on poor love-sick Parker, or the Duchess calling them all to order.
And best of all, there is such a lovely spirit of the hopefulness and modernism of the 1920s in this. I really like this book and am so glad that I didn't stop reading this series after the disappointment that was Whose Body?.
‘I think we may say we have made some progress,’ said Parker.
‘If only negatively,’ added Peter.
‘Exactly,’ said Sir Impey, turning on him with staggering abruptness. ‘Very negatively indeed. And, having seriously hampered the case for the defence, what are you going to do next?’
‘That’s a nice thing to say,’ cried Peter indignantly, ‘when we’ve cleared up such a lot of points for you!’
‘I daresay,’ said the barrister, ‘but they’re the sort of points which are much better left muffled up.’
‘Damn it all, we want to get at the truth!’
‘Do you?’ said Sir Impey drily. ‘I don’t. I don’t care twopence about the truth. I want a case. It doesn’t matter to me who killed Cathcart, provided I can prove it wasn’t Denver. It’s really enough if I can throw reasonable doubt on its being Denver. Here’s a client comes to me with a story of a quarrel, a suspicious revolver, a refusal to produce evidence of his statements, and a totally inadequate and idiotic alibi. I arrange to obfuscate the jury with mysterious footprints, a discrepancy as to time, a young woman with a secret, and a general vague suggestion of something between a burglary and a crime passionel. And here you come explaining the footprints, exculpating the unknown man, abolishing the discrepancies, clearing up the motives of the young woman, and most carefully throwing back suspicion to where it rested in the first place. What do you expect?’
‘I’ve always said,’ growled Peter, ‘that the professional advocate was the most immoral fellow on the face of the earth, and now I know for certain.’