I just finished Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers, having recently read The Mystery of the Yellow Room and Green for Danger. I realized today these are the same three colors in a traffic light. Not that that is significant. Or intentional. Of the three, Five Red Herrings is by far the best. Not a huge surprise as Sayers is usually said in the same breath with Christie for tops in mystery. I’ve not actually read any of hers before, though I may have tried once upon a time. Partly I wanted to forget the plots from having seen the old TV shows with Ian Carmichael, which were very good, but I don’t like to read mysteries in which I know the end.
Five Red Herrings takes place in an artistic Scottish fishing village. Everyone either paints, fishes or does both. It’s a real place and I had fun looking it up on Google maps. This book might have a bit too many railroad timetables and police interviews with porters and Scottish dialect, but I was so happy to read an intelligent, fair play mystery. One Sandy Campbell — a resident of Kirkcudbright and artist — irritates, annoys, irks and enrages everyone around him. When Campbell is found dead after a night of drinking and quarreling, it looks like he fell down a steep bank while painting, but Lord Peter Wimsey soon figures out this cannot be. It’s murder. Wimsey comes up with six suspects almost immediately and it is largely entertaining finding out what each of these eccentrics has been up to. The clues were enough that I figured out who it was shortly before the reveal, but not how it was done.
Definitely going to be reading more Sayers. Although it makes me long for a personal servant like Bunter, which is not really a possibility.
Along with being a Cozy, this gives me a Golden Age Bingo.
Book with a Color in the title: Mystery of the Yellow Room
Book with a Number in the Ttile: Five Red Herrings
Book with an Amateur Detective: Body in the Library
Book with a Professional Detective: The Case is Closed
Book Set in England – Murder is Easy
Book Set in the U.S. – League of Frightened Men
I also think this counts as a Mystery Classic and as a Scottish book – it is set in Scotland.