Bookshelf Challenge No 2 – In the Teeth of the Evidence – Dorothy L Sayers

For the last few years, one of my besties has been doing the Unread Shelf challenge. The idea is (in part – it’s a bigger challenge than it looks) to use prompts to help a reader work through the Unread Titles on their shelves.

Inspired by her, I am in the midst of attempting to gain control over my unruly bookshelves, so have tallied up my UnRead Books.

Just fictional books – not including poetry, factual or eddyumacational books – ONLY fiction, you get me?

There’s 128 books.

That’s…that’s a bit much really.

So here’s where I tackle them, book by book – to finally figure out which are staying, which are going to be donated and which are going to be discarded unfinished. Oh yes, I’m in that sort of a ruthless mode!

My second choice is… drum roll please… a Dorothy L Sayers collection of short stories, featuring Lord Peter Whimsey…but only in two of them!

This collection of short stories includes two Lord Peter Wimsey Stories (“In the Teeth of the Evidence,” and “Absolutely Elsewhere”), five Montague Egg stories (“A Shot at Goal,” “Dirt Cheap,” “Bitter Almonds,” “False Weight,” and “The Professor’s Manuscript”). There are also several stories which feature neither of Dorothy L. Sayers main characters – “The Milk Bottles,” “Dilemma,” “An Arrow O’er the House,” “Scrawns,” “Nebuchadnezzar,” “The Inspiration of Mr Budd,” “Blood Sacrifice,” “Suspicion,” “The Leopard Lady,” and “The Cyprian Cat.”


Well, I’m glad that I went in forewarned that Lord Peter Wimsey was only in two of these stories ahead of time or I might have been just a teensy bit disappointed that what was billed as Lord Whimsey No 14 was in fact nothing of the sort.

Before I review, let me just say that I had one of those copies that just utterly perplexes. There was no contents page, so I had no idea going in what the stories were, if there was a main protagonist, how many and so on. It’s like the publisher were like ‘nope, that’s just one page to many to include!’. And that wasn’t my only ‘huh’ moment.

Structurally, this book is a bit strange for me. Nowadays, when I read short stories, the primary editors is either hidden in the middle or right at the end – the rest of the offerings whetting the appetite as it were. In this, it’s plonk – straight into the Lord Whimsey stories, then plonk – five Montague Egg stories all just one after the other. Then a series of sorties that are genuinely unsettling, but more psychological thriller than crime, per se.

Anyhoo, I really enjoyed the Wimsey pair, though they aren’t a patch on the full length novels. I’ve read 4 of the short stories featuring him now and they’ve all been grand, but nothing special.

This was my first foray into the world of Montague Egg and… you know…fine. He’s a fussy sort of specific character, which leads me to believe that a lot of men at that time must have been. But the mysteries were ok, just, not ones that you could possibly solve ahead of time. Always some book that only the protagonist had read, kind of thing. So, not great for me, the amateur detective.

The rest of the stories were a spooky mix of spooky, weird, horrifying and psychologically thrillery. Which isn’t bad, but again, not exactly what the cover seemed to promise.

Score – 6

3 for the writing, 3 for the plots

Another one down though! And going back onto the shelf. I have me a Wimsey collection now.


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