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review 2018-09-08 19:36
The Five Red Herrings
Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

In the meantime, a constable had rounded up the undertaker, who arrived in great excitement, swallowing the last fragments of his tea. A slight further delay was caused by its occurring to somebody that the Fiscal should be notified. The Fiscal, fortunately enough, happened to be in the town, and joined the party, explaining to Wimsey as they drove along to the mortuary that it was the most painful case he had handled in the whole of his experience, and that he had been much struck by the superiority of the Scots law to the English in these matters, ‘For,’ said he, ‘the publicity of a coroner’s inquest is bound to give much unnecessary pain to the relations, which is avoided by our method of private investigation.’

‘That is very true,’ said Wimsey, politely, ‘but think of all the extra fun we get from the Sunday newspapers. Inquests are jam to them.’

The Five Red Herrings started off strong and I loved the setting and some of the scenes - like Bunter being a few steps ahead of Lord Peter, retelling his adventures in the fashion of The Castle of Otranto, and then caring for Lord Peter by having the Arnica oinment at the ready for Lord Peter's bruises. 


However, ... for most of the book, I wished Sayers had spared us the details of doggedly chasing down every single train connection and what is more every single - it seemed - damned bicycle in the country only to find out that it was not the bicycle in question. 


Not one of my favourite Wimseys.

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text 2018-09-06 22:26
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

What a pity he had now just missed the 6.20 to Girvan. (Sergeant Dalziel gritted his teeth.) Well, it couldna be helped.

Let him take the 7.30, getting in at 9.51, and a car would be sent to meet him.

The Sergeant replied, with a certain grim satisfaction, that the 9.51 only ran on Saturdays and the 9.56 only on Wednesdays, and that, this being a Thursday, they would have to meet him at 8.55 at Ayr.

The Inspector retorted that in that case he had better hire a car at Ayr. Finding that there was no help for it, Sergeant Dalziel abandoned all hopes of a comfortable night of dinner, talkie and bed at Glasgow, and reluctantly retired to the refreshment-room for an early supper before catching the 7.30.

Haha. Public transport hasn't changed much. I've spent hours this week trying to find a way to go to a place in Norfolk next week without having to spend an extra night somewhere. It was a challenge.

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text 2018-09-06 21:21
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

Wimsey on bicyclists:

‘Just so. Nothing is so virtuous as a bicycle. You can’t imagine a bicyclist committing a crime, can you? – except of course, murder or attempted murder.’

‘Why murder?’

‘Well, the way they rush about in gangs on the wrong side of the road and never have any brakes or bells or lights. I call it murder, when they nearly have you into the ditch. Or suicide.’

Gangs of cyclists? Really, Peter? LoL!


And on bike safety:

‘Have you been borrowing push-bikes?’ asked Wimsey, with interest. ‘You shouldn’t. It’s a bad habit. Push-bikes are the curse of this country. Their centre of gravity is too high, for one thing, and their brakes are never in order.’

I can't quite see Wimsey having any first-hand experience with this, can you?


But as bicycles are mentioned quite a lot and there is a bike on the cover of the book, I'm guessing that the missing bicycle may be important. Or, you know, be one of the five red herrings.... Gah!


On a different note, I'm enjoying the book. Probably more so than I would already because the audiobook I have to accompany my reading (narrated by Patrick Malahide) features a bit of an oddity:


The Scottish parts are narrated in a north-eastern accent - Doric - which is quite different to the accent where the story is set (south-western Scotland). It works a treat, but it cracks me up every time the word "night" (pronounced in Doric as "nicht") is used - as it is sooo local. Anyway, this one is a lot of fun.  



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text 2018-09-05 23:44
Reading progress update: I've read 8%.
Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

‘In that case,’ said Wimsey, ‘you had better go to the coroner – no, of course, you don’t keep coroners in these parts. The Procurator-Fiscal is the lad. You’d better go to the Fiscal and tell him the man’s been murdered.’

‘Murdered?’ said the Sergeant.

‘Yes,’ said Wimsey, ‘och, ay; likewise hoots! Murrrderrrd is the word.’

Bwahahaha... Just what I needed. This is delightful.

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text 2018-09-05 23:08
Reading progress update: I've read 3%.
Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

Into this fishing and painting community, Lord Peter Wimsey was received on friendly and even affectionate terms. He could make a respectable cast, and he did not pretend to paint, and therefore, though English and an ‘incomer’, gave no cause of offence. The Southron is tolerated in Scotland on the understanding that he does not throw his weight about, and from this peculiarly English vice Lord Peter was laudably free. True, his accent was affected and his behaviour undignified to a degree, but he had been weighed in the balance over many seasons and pronounced harmless, and when he indulged in any startling eccentricity, the matter was dismissed with a shrug and a tolerant, ‘Christ, it’s only his lordship.’

Wimsey was in the bar of the McClellan Arms on the evening that the unfortunate dispute broke out between Campbell and Waters. Campbell, the landscape painter, had had maybe one or two more wee ones than was absolutely necessary, especially for a man with red hair, and their effect had been to make him even more militantly Scottish than usual. He embarked on a long eulogy of what the Jocks had done in the Great War, only interrupting his tale to inform Waters in parenthesis that all the English were of mongrel ancestry and unable even to pronounce their own bluidy language.

Waters was an Englishman of good yeoman stock, and, like all Englishmen, was ready enough to admire and praise all foreigners except dagoes and niggers, but, like all Englishmen, he did not like to hear them praise themselves. To boast loudly in public of one’s own country seemed to him indecent – like enlarging on the physical perfections of one’s own wife in a smoking room. He listened with that tolerant, petrified smile which the foreigner takes, and indeed quite correctly takes, to indicate a self-satisfaction so impervious that it will not even trouble to justify itself.


LoL. We join the party on the edge of a bar fight. The scene is set!

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