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    • Oleander Press
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    November 27, 2012

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    S. T. Karnick

    Nice article, Les. CoW is my favorite, but TNT is a close second. I'd say that Tailors is in fact the better book, and one of the essential, greatest mysteries.

    Sergio (Tipping My Fedora)

    I agree Les in that this feels like the mosy distinctive of the Sayers books - it may not be the cleverest in terms of plotting (that may be UNNATURAL DEATH for my money) but it does stand out from the heard for its singlular 'murder' method and the quasi-apocalytic feel to the climax.

    Joan Kyler

    I love this book for the bells. There are some American churches that do change-ringing. The Church of the Advent in Boston rings the changes regularly and a few other churches there occasionally do. We have many church bells in America but we seldom hear them. A shame.

    Les Blatt

    Sergio, I also like "Unnatural Death" for the very clever "howdunit." Many of the Wimsey cases are "impossible crimes," which is a favorite genre. But I do think "The Nine Tailors" stands out for the overall quality of its writing - and you are so right about the impact of the book's climax.

    Les Blatt

    Joan, I have occasionally heard a peal of bells coming from an American church - and, when I do, I must admit that I am instantly transported to the fen country, listening to that peal pouring out of the church steeple in Fenchurch St. Paul. It is indeed the bells - with their distinctive names and personalities, too - that set this book apart in my mind.

    Yvette

    I have a church right around the corner from where I live and of course, I hear the bells ringing the noon hour every day. Although they don't do the sort of thing written about by Sayers, I still welcome the sounds they make. I find it very welcoming.

    I did read THE NINE TAILORS a long time ago and can't remember much about it, Les. It's not my favorite Wimsey, but I did enjoy it - as I did most of Sayer's books. I love the writing excerpt you've posted. Wow, Sayers could write up a storm.

    I think I like MURDER MUST ADVERTISE best - been meaning to re-read it to see if I still feel the same way. Actually, I think I'll re-read THE NINE TAILORS and MURDER MUST ADVERTISE. Why not? Maybe I'll change my mind about both. :)

    Les Blatt

    It is beautifully written, Yvette, and written with passion as well. Ultimately, the mystery itself becomes primarily a question of HOW was the murder committed - and I think the solution is brilliant. As for MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, that's another of my favorites. Sayers put her first-hand knowledge of the advertising world to work for her, and I think the central plot device which explains what I'll only call the setup behind the motive is brilliantly done. No problem with either one. But I don't think you can go wrong with re-reading either one.

    Margot Kinberg

    Les - Oh, I like The Nine Tailors very much. I really liked what I learned about change ringing, and I love Wimsey's reaction when he finds out the truth about that 'extra corpse.' He is so...human. I also do like the other characters, to say nothing of the East Anglia 'feel.' Good choice for your 'tops.'

    Les Blatt

    I love Sayers' descriptions of the scene, her three-dimensional characters, and, of course, the bells, Margot. Yes, Wimsey is very much "humanized" in this one, and that climactic scene where he learns what really happened to the dead man (and nearly shares his fate) is, I think, brilliantly done.

    Atul S. Khot

    Dear Les,
    Oh "The Nine Tailors" is a super fantastic book by Sayers... I read it almost 5 years ago - I was in Ireland then - and it was nearing Christmas - After a long and hard day, I would unwind in bed with this super mystery ;-) - read it pretty slow - like you sip wine ;-) - and outside the wind would howl like anything ;-)
    That gave a very real, physical feeling to the first part of the book - when Winsey goes for that all night tolling...
    A very good Sayers mystery indeed...

    --- cheerio atul

    Les Blatt

    Atul, I agree about reading "The Nine Tailors" slowly - the language really should be savored, particularly on a stormy night. Sounds like the perfect way to read the book. Glad you enjoyed it!

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