Unnatural Death

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 - 1957)

This is the third book in the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series.*
As the story opens, a country doctor is telling Lord Peter Wimsey about the Unnatural Death of one of his patients. He’s convinced she was murdered, but powerless to act. To begin with, she would in any case have died within a few months. Moreover, the medical evidence clearly indicated the cause of death as heart failure, which was only to be expected.

Intrigued, Lord Peter looks into the matter, supported – as usual – by his friend Chief Inspector Parker of Scotland Yard, and his valet, Bunter (both recurring characters in the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series).

New to the author’s cast of detective characters is Miss Alexandra Katharine Climpson, a prim, middle aged spinster who lends both charm and variety to the narrative. To Lord Peter, Miss Climpson represents an important but consistently overlooked national resource: post-war England’s thousands of “superfluous females,” with their uncanny facility for finding things out. His explanation is as follows: We gather intelligence by “employing a man with large flat feet,” who communicates “in a series of inarticulate grunts,” instead of sending out “a lady with a long, woolly jumper … and jingly things round her neck …” who could discover far more, and probably faster, since “everyone expects of course she asks questions.” Certainly Miss Climpson does.

The latter part of the book is fast-paced, action-packed and suspenseful, as Inspector Parker, Mr. Bunter, Miss Climpson and Lord Peter pursue various lines of inquiry that ultimately join to explain why and how the murders were done.

*Whose Body? and Clouds of Witness are the first two Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. -Summary by Kirsten Wever

Genre(s): Detective Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Chapter 1: Overheard Kirsten Wever
Play 02 Chapter 2: Miching Mallecho Kirsten Wever
Play 03 Chapter 3: A Use for Spinsters Kirsten Wever
Play 04 Chapter 4: A Bit Mental Kirsten Wever
Play 05 Chapter 5: Gossip Kirsten Wever
Play 06 Chapter 6: Found Dead Kirsten Wever
Play 07 Chapter 7: Ham and Brandy Kirsten Wever
Play 08 Chapter 8: Concerning Crime Kirsten Wever
Play 09 Chapter 9: The Will Kirsten Wever
Play 10 Chapter 10: The Will Again Kirsten Wever
Play 11 Chapter 11: Cross-Roads Kirsten Wever
Play 12 Chapter 12: A Tale of Two Spinsters Kirsten Wever
Play 13 Chapter 13: Halleluljah Kirsten Wever
Play 14 Chapter 14: Sharp Quillets of the Law Kirsten Wever
Play 15 Chapter 15: Temptation of St. Peter Kirsten Wever
Play 16 Chapter 16: A Cast-Iron Alibi Kirsten Wever
Play 17 Chapter 17: The Country Lawyer's Story Kirsten Wever
Play 18 Chapter 18: The London Lawyer's Story Kirsten Wever
Play 19 Chapter 19: Gone Away Kirsten Wever
Play 20 Chapter 20: Murder Kirsten Wever
Play 21 Chapter 21: By What Means Kirsten Wever
Play 22 Chapter 22: A Case of Conscience Kirsten Wever
Play 23 Chapter 23: And Smote Him, Thus Kirsten Wever