Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers: B

From the back cover:
Murder strikes too close to home! Lord Peter, noted detective, scholar, and bon vivant, is summoned to the Wimsey family retreat, which offers country pleasures and the thrill of the hunt. But when the prey turns out to be human and quite dead, wearing slippers and a dinner jacket, the thrill wanes. The victim is the fiancĂ© of Lord Peter’s sister. And the accused? None other than Lord Peter’s own brother, the Duke of Denver. Despite overwhelming circumstantial evidence, Lord Peter is certain his brother is innocent and launches his own investigation. Can he find the truth in time to save the family name and spare his brother the gallows?

Clouds of Witness is a decent enough mystery, I suppose, but it won’t rank as one of my favorites.

I find it difficult to nail down a precise flaw that prompts my lack of enthusiasm, but I think it’s personal drama for the investigators (as in P. D. James or Elizabeth George) that I am missing, and I know I oughtn’t expect that from Sayers. The investigation is very clue-driven, and includes a few lucky coincidences. They didn’t bother me as much as in Tey’s books, but I do wonder whether Whose Body? was similar and I just didn’t notice it.

The best part about Sayers is that it’s often quite amusing, not just the little remarks that people make but also the way Peter’s quirks are dealt with. I especially appreciated a scene where he punctuates his words with little digs into his pipe, and the drunken epilogue was also cute. Less cute was Peter’s miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound to the shoulder that’s never mentioned again, even when he is hauled bodily out of a bog by a rope under his armpits a mere four days later. Oopsies.

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