January 27, 2009

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
Dorothy L. Sayers


(January 27, 2009)

Ten years after the end of the Great War, Lord Peter Wimsey encounters a beastly case in which nearly every man lives in the shadow of the trenches. The Depression has not yet hit, though, and so it's not entirely clear whether everything has indeed changed, for whether everything simply changed for those who couldn't move on. Sayers' flair for minor characters and for capturing a historical moment (even if that moment happened to be her historical present) is much in evidence here; like Dreiser, she’s a historical novelist whose period happened to be contemporary. Also in evidence here are her penchant for overly elaborate plots, for brainy dark girls who resemble the author, and for plotting that counts on having God sit in her lap. Still, there's nothing like Wimsey.