The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

Suzie Eisfelder
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A Lord Peter Wimsey mystery! And so mysterious there were quite a few bits I didn’t understand. That could possibly be because I know precious little about bell ringing. The one thing I know about bell ringing didn’t turn up until fairly late in the piece, and I’m not going tell you for spoilery-type reasons.

Lord Peter Wimsey and his butler, Bunter, were heading out on a holiday. On their way through the area near Fenchurch St Paul they crash and Wimsey’s car is damaged. They end up in Fenchurch St Paul over Christmas. Wimsey helps out with the bell ringing, he just happens to have the skills they need. It seems to have been set just after WWI, possibly during the pandemic that they had at that time. Or just during a bout of normal flu in that area.

The detective bits were interesting and fun. It all lead quite nicely to a conclusion. And a conclusion that would be a surprise to people if you know absolutely nothing about bell ringing. There were other clues in the bell ringing and I quite enjoyed that.

We get a slice of country life in this small town in England. And part of that slice is to do with a flood. The township of Fenchurch St Paul is very organised, as soon as Wimsey arrives in town and sounds the warning they head into action. Everyone heads to the church, it’s big and is on the highest ground in the area. The other two towns in the area are also directed to the church. All the people, animals, food and whatever else they need piles into the church and they start getting organised. Women and children on one side of the church, men on the other, ensuring there is a curtain between the two sides. People digging holes for the latrines outside. Setting up methods of cooking food and getting everything organised for life in the church for as long as needed.

If you want to look at life in a small town in England, if you like bell ringing, if you want to learn more about bell ringing, or if you just like mysteries then this is a book you will enjoy. Dorothy L. Sayers is a good author with a nice turn of phrase. For some reason I have three copies of this book, but you can buy your own here.


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