Saturday, September 23, 2006

Have His Carcase

Have His Carcase

Dorothy L. Sayers

  —   $7.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Mystery

This is an absolutely classic mystery. Harriet Vane, while on vacation, takes a nap on a beach. Upon rising, she finds that a rock that will be covered at high tide (and may only be fully uncovered at the spring tides) has the unfortunate accompaniment of a body - a body of a man only recently killed. She takes photographs, believing (correctly) that the tide will cary the body away before she can get help, and thus starts a truly mystifying case.

Lord Peter Wimsey, of course, immediately comes to offer his assistance, and he and Harriet start a determined effort to ascertain if this death was, as the police believe, a suicide, or if the evidence points to murder. The deceased, a young bearded man, had his throat cut with a straight razor; he had been engaged to an elderly rich widow whose son may have wanted him out of the picture, and in fact, there appears to be something strange going on, but it seems impossible for any of the suspects to have killed the man at the time he must have been killed.

The byplay between Peter and Harriet is highly amusing, especially as he keeps asking her to marry him and she keeps refusing right in the midst of their criminalogical discussions. And, in the end, the solution to the conumdrum is surprising; while the reader is given most of the facts, it requires an intuitive leap to understand how the crime was, in fact, carried out. This is, certainly, one of the best Lord Peter mysteries.

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