Brilliantly evocative, the poetry of change-bell ringing winding throughout the novel in unexpected and delightful ways. The final solution was properly horrifying and unsuspected until quite late in the novel. My one little quibble is that the character of Deacon is so unreservedly black. . . I prefer even my villains to have a bit more grey in them. But beyond that, truly a mystery classic.
The Nine Tailors is a quaint, charming English mystery. A later volume in a series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, a quintessential gentleman amateur sleuth, the title "characters" are actually church bells in a small town in the Fens. Lord Wimsey and his manservant Bunter seek refuge in Fenchurch St. Paul during a snowstorm where the former's skills in change ringing are needed for a record New Year's Day peal. Coincidentally, it is the locale where a valuable emerald necklace was stolen years ago and a recent mutilated corpse is found in the fresh grave of the family from whose house the necklace was stolen. The two separate crimes are intricately intertwined with explanations of campanology and water engineering, some of which might remain esoteric. There are also long stretches of dialogue, some of which depict various accents. Nonetheless, it proceeds at an enjoyable pace which uncovers more and more puzzling clues until both crimes are solved in a satisfying manner.
Reading of her ringing of the church bells, to me, was akin to reading the great sticklers for nautical details ( Dana, Cooper, Marryat, Russell) about which I shall never understand anything. I think that I shall never be able of distinguishing among scuppers, bilge, and crow's nest. This is a first rate mystery that will keep you wondering until the very end. Along with Murder Must Advertise, it is one of her best efforts.
the mystery is good. very enjoyable Lord Peter story. what bothers me though is that a good portion of the book is devoted to English bell-ringing - pulling ropes in a huge bell tower of a church.
trouble is, the language and actions are obscure so that one doesn't get what something
while it's overall only about 1/8 of the book, it's in every chapter, used to symbolize what's going to happen, and being so obscure is an obstacle to full enjoyment...
Nine strokes from an old country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call Lord Peter Wimsey to one of his most baffling cases. Set in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a classic tale of suspense by a master of mystery.
This is the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel by Sayers that I have read. I have meant to read some of these for several years, in fact, I have owned a few copies but for some reason never got to them. I read this one primarily because it is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I definitely was not disappointed and I will be reading more in the series at some point.
This novel has Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant, Bunter, traveling in the Fens of Eastern England on New Year's Eve. Their car goes off the road in a snow storm and they are stuck for a few days in the town of Fenchurch St. Paul where the Rector of the church is preparing for an epic bell-ringing to bring in the new year. One of the highlights of this novel is the information on "change ringing" which "is the art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a controlled manner to produce variations in their striking sequences." I knew next to nothing about this art and never realized how intricate and complicated the bell ringing can be.
Change ringing plays a big part in the story and the title "Nine Tailors" actually refers to the nine bell tolls that are made when someone dies. Anyway, one of the bell ringers is sick so Lord Wimsey agrees to fill in for the epic 9 hour record-breaking peal. A few months later, Peter is called back to Fenchurch when a mutilated body is discovered in a grave that was reopened. The body's face was disfigured and its hands were removed to disguise its identity. It appears this may be related to a crime that happened several years earlier where an emerald necklace was stolen and never recovered. But can Wimsey identify the body and determine how and why he was killed?
This one had many twists and turns and complexities before coming to its conclusion practically on the last page. I really enjoyed the cast of characters and the setting in the Fens where a massive flood also plays a part before the story is finished. Recommended!