Friends this is my review of the Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers, which I listened to as an audio book the other day when travelling. (Fortunately I should only have a few more commutes between Northumberland and Galloway, so my listening to books will become much less)
I had read this book a number of years ago, and thought it would be good to renew my acquaintance with it again, as we are now living just down the road from where it was set in Galloway back in the 1930's. (We have had a meal at the pub where Dorothy stayed when she was writing this.)
There are 7 talented artists living in the area, but one Sandy Campbell is a notoriously quarrelsome drunkard. He is found dead in a stream, with a half-finished painting on the bank above, it is assumed at first that he fell in accidentally, fracturing his skull. Lord Peter Wimsey, who is in the region on a fishing holiday, points out the inconsistency which makes it impossible for Campbell himself to have worked on the painting. So we have a murder.
Six other artists in the region are talented enough to have achieved this, and had also had public brawls with Campbell in the recent past. Now Lord Peter has to figure out "who done it" and who the five red herrings are. The task is made difficult because almost all the suspects are behaving in a suspicious manner; some have left the district unexpectedly and without explanation, others have given statements which are obviously inaccurate, or are clearly concealing facts. Also the policemen investigating other aspects of the case come up against inexplicable dead ends.
The six suspects are all eventually traced and give statements in which they deny killing Campbell. Some have convincing alibis, but others have none which can be verified.
Finally only Lord Peter manages to work it out, and as the reader have we found all the clues before the final reveal. Lord Peter reconstructs the crime to prove his point and the killer then confesses.
All good fun. That was book 37 week 29 fiction 34 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
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