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The Nine Tailors

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 1 month ago

Sayers, Dorothy L - The Nine Tailors (1934)



Review by Nick Fuller


One of Sayers' best novels. The Fen country village, with its church, is magnificently drawn, and the church services show as much feeling and power as the powerful bells, at once beautiful and menacing. This book obviously inspired H.C. Bailey's The Bishop's Crime (1940), an interesting although somewhat over-rated Reggie Fortune, and Gladys Mitchell's Dead Men's Morris (1936) and St Peter's Finger (1938). The plot indeed hinges on bells: there is an ingenious cryptogram and an ingenious murder method, both of which concern bells. Despite the excellence of setting and writing, the detective plot is not neglected; Wimsey, who is neither a Wodehousian twit or an effete Philo Vance, does a brilliant job of discovering the identity of the body in the churchyard, and how it relates to an equally long-buried crime in the past. The book comes to its climax in the flooded village, "with an aching and intolerable melancholy, like the noise of the bells of a drowned city pushing up through the overwhelming sea."

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