Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers: B

From the back cover:
The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Yet debonair detective Lord Peter Wimsey senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest, even without any clues or leads. Suddenly he is faced with another murder: Agatha’s maid. Can Lord Peter find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the next victim?

Unnatural Death was another decent mystery in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Despite some fairly dull patches, I think I liked it a bit more than its immediate predecessor.

Good things include the introduction of Miss Climpson, a resourceful old maid whom Peter hires to do some investigation on his behalf, recognizing “useful energy and inquisitive power” of her kind. Her reports to Peter were generally amusing and I hope to see more of her in the future. I also liked that, although it was never explicitly stated, the victim seemed to be the surviving half of a happy lesbian couple who’d been together for decades.

I wasn’t so keen on the tedium of family trees or inheritance laws, however. And while it was unique to know exactly who had done it but not how, it didn’t do much to establish a sense of menace or urgency. It was more a quest for sufficient evidence to prosecute than a manhunt. Things did pick up a bit at the end, though. It also occurs to me that there wasn’t very much Bunter, though he was essential in sussing out the big twist of the case.

I’ve liked the Wimsey mysteries I’ve read so far well enough, but if they were all in this vein, I think I might tire of them eventually. Happily, I’ve got something like Gaudy Night to look forward to.

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