This is the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel and rather like Poirot, he seems to spring fully-formed from his creator’s brow. Everything is there in the first book, his whimsy, his sharpness, his fatuousness, his relationship with Bunter. I love his relationship with his mother and Parker. I thought there were more, but there are only 11 Wimsey novels by Sayers.
The story opens with Lord Peter headed for a rare book sale when he realizes he’s forgotten his catalog. He dashes back home for it only to receive a call from his mother alerting him to the fact that an architect they know has just found a body in his bath this morning. Completely k-naked with no k-nickers on, as Benny Hill used to say. In fact, the body is wearing nothing but pince-nez. Lord Peter sends Bunter to the book sale and buzzes off for a look at the body. While he annoys one inspector, he works hand-in-glove with Inspector Parker on this and the disappearance of a wealthy financier, Sir Reuben Levy. His flippant way of talking is entertaining to me, but might just annoy some people.
The solution is good, although there aren’t really a pool of suspects to choose from. It’s more of an investigation. In Five Red Herrings, you had the town and the murder had to be committed by an artist who had a problem with the victim. This left six people as it was an arty town and the victim was inclined to get into arguments with all and sundry. Here they’re not even sure there’s been a crime. The body in the bath has not necessarily been murdered and Sir Reuben has disappeared, but it’s possible he’s just gone off somewhere. So, while it’s definitely an interesting story, even if a bit far-fetched in the end, it’s not my favorite kind of mystery.
This counts as another Cozy and probably somewhere on the Bingo card, but I’m not sure.