Monday, July 9, 2012

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

Aha! Admit it -- you thought (that is, if you thought of it at all) that my Lord Peter Wimsey series reread had fallen by the wayside. While I did take a bit of a hiatus, I do hope to finish off the series this year, and I'm one book closer to that goal, having recently finished rereading The Nine Tailors. (I skipped Murder Must Advertise, having reread it just last year.)

Despite the title, The Nine Tailors has nothing to do with sewing. It is, in fact, about change-ringing, that particularly British form of campanology in which church bells are rung, not to make a tune, but in mathematical patterns. The title refers to the nine strokes of the tenor bell for a man's death. In this book, Lord Peter is stranded in a small town on New Year's Eve, when the change-ringers at the local church are preparing for a nine-hour peal to ring in the New Year. When one of the ringers falls ill and is unable to participate, Lord Peter steps in, having done change-ringing in his youth. When, not long after that night, a crime is discovered to have been committed in that same small town, the rector of the church writes to Lord Peter for assistance.

While this book is as enjoyable as many of the entries in the series, it is not one of my favorites. Too much technical talk about change-ringing, not enough Bunter, and absolutely no Harriet Vane. On the other hand, the minor characters are interesting (the rector and his wife are lovely and fun), and the solution to the mystery is novel. For fans of the series, it's certainly worth a read.

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

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