The wealthy old woman was dead – a trifle sooner than expected. The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder led from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of “amour” – staged by the debonair sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. Here the modern detective story begins to come to its own; and all the historical importance aside, it remains an absorbing and charming story today.
Listening to this book cemented my love for Ian Carmichael’s narration. I’ve since watched bits of the BBC series, where he plays Wimsey, and you get the feeling he’s doing loving caricatures of his fellow actors. I couldn’t help thinking, “he out-Bunters Bunter!” Just delightful.
Unfortunately the mystery in Unnatural Death is my least favorite so far. We have a good idea who the murderer is but Wimsey and his crew have a hard time getting motive, means, and opportunity to align. Genealogy and the vagaries of inheritance law play key parts, and neither sketching family trees nor debating the legal meaning of the word “issue” work well on audio.
Even with a less than enthralling story line I enjoyed hanging out with the regular cast of characters, and I’ll be saving the next book in the series for a literary “rainy day”.