fredag den 20. november 2009
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors (1934)
[Dansk titel: De ni klokkeslag, 1949]
This excellent classic is the eleventh Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. It begins on New Year´s Eve, when Wimsey and his faithful butler, Bunter, end up in a ditch during a snow storm in the Fenland. They seek help at the nearest house, the vicarage, and soon kind, bewildered Reverend Venables has engaged Lord Peter to assist the local bell ringing team who are struck by a severe flu. They have ambitious plans to ring a nine-hour peal (for more information, read the story). The ringing is carried out very successfully, but in the course of the night the squire´s popular wife dies.
Of course this is not only a story about campanology. Around Easter the squire himself dies, and when the sexton finds an extra – mutilated – body in his wife´s grave, the perplexed vicar asks Lord Peter for assistance. It appears that the dead man is connected to a case about some emeralds that were stolen several years ago, and an important clue is a cipher which seems to be related to bell ringing.
What is so excellent about the story is the way the old bells and the crime story are intertwined, for example in the title which refers to the nine ´tellers´ which are rung when a man dies. And as usual, Ms Sayers is able to keep up the excitement without employing too much blood and gore.