The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Series #9)

The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Series #9)

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The Nine Tailors is Dorothy L. Sayers's finest mystery, featuring Lord Peter Whimsey, and a classic of the genre.


The nine tellerstrokes from the belfry of an ancient country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call the famous Lord Peter Whimsey to investigate the good and evil that lurks in every person. Steeped in the atmosphere of a quiet parish in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a tale of suspense, character, and mood by an author critics and readers rate as one of the great masters of the mystery novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156658997
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/28/1966
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey Series , #9
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 81,333
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.05(d)
Lexile: 910L (what's this?)

About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers is the author of many novels, short stories, and essays, as well as the editor of many more volumes, but she will forever be remembered for creating the brilliant, idiosyncratic Lord Peter Wimsey. Sayers was widely hailed for taking the novel of detection to new heights of literary and popular achievement, but, much to the frustration of her fans, wrote only eleven books featuring Lord Peter. Sayers died in Essex, England, in 1957.

Date of Birth:

June 13, 1893

Date of Death:

December 17, 1957

Place of Birth:

Oxford, England


B.A., Oxford University, 1915; M.A., B.C.L., 1920

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The Nine Tailors: Lord Peter Wimsey Series, Book 11 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
charleyey More than 1 year ago
This is a great read all by itself so you don't have to have read any Lord Peter before. The problem is engaging, the people real. You want to be along for the trip. I find it the most satisfying of all the Lord Peter books. It stands by itself. The reviews for all the Lord Peter works are pretty good and this one is no different. I noticed someone saying that the author was trying to hard to be literature. Frankly, this is literature. It is also a very rewarding mystery from the Golden Age of British mystery. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, Peter Wimsey is at his best and it seemed appropriate that he'd know how to do change ringing of church bells. I knew nothing about it and had fun looking up how it works. It takes real concentration and focus to do it for hours like they did in the beginning of the book. Second, I was unfamilar with the setting of the Lincolnshire area of the England and was able to learn more about the flooding and drainage issues that provided some of the book's action. Finally, I thought I knew how the victim died early on in my reading although I didn't think it could be that simple. It was believable to me that it took a while for the characters in the book to determine what happened because no one would think about doing it that way. All in all an enjoyable read. I like to re-read books and this one is definitely one I'd read again in a few years. Glad it's in my library now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is in my top ten nystery novels. The writing is atmospheric and the plot confounding. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Dorothy Sayers as a writer and to me this is one of her best mysteries, lots of ups and downs and much information on bell ringing in Great Britain. A great mystery!
kpet More than 1 year ago
Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter find themselves in East Anglia after a car accident, one New Year's Eve. They are taken in by the Rector of Fenchurch St. Stephans, and spend the New Year ringing bells. Six months later, a mystery arises and Lord Peter is on the case. One of Dorothy Sayers' more intriging mysteries, and a very good read. Lots of interesting characters and situations. Highly Reccomended!
RonMA More than 1 year ago
Just as great now as when I read it for the first time. Superior detective story from one of the greats.
harperbruce More than 1 year ago
I've read several others of the Lord Peter Wimsey canon by Dorothy L. Sayers, but none have satisfied me as much as "The Nine Tailors." Perhaps it is because there doesn't seem to be an in-between on this book; you either love it for life, or dismiss it as inaccurate fluff. There is much debate on whether a person could be killed in the manner described in the denouement. But I believe the characterizations are superb; and, though I could wish for more of Bunter, a greater gentleman's gentleman than Jeeves, I generally find this book excellent. In brief, Lord Peter and Bunter are stranded in the small village of Fenchurch St. Paul when their car breaks down. Four months or so, a body is dug up in a grave that is being opened for the husband of a woman who had died while Wimsey was in the area. Wimsey and Bunter may have seen deceased on their way out of Fenchurch, and get called into the case to determine the man's identity, and how he was killed. The entire matter seems to be mixed up with the theft some 20 years before of a valuable emerald necklace, as well as with the bells of the village church, which figure prominently throughout the book. More twists and turns are found here than on a mountainside switchback. The identity of the corpse will surprise, as will the way in which deceased met the end. The sections on change ringing may be hard to understand for someone not used to the English method of ringing "music" on church bells. You can consult the Wikipedia article on the subject; however, much more can be said about this than will fit in a Wikipedia article. I would suggest "Change Ringing: The Art and Science of Change Ringing on Church and Hand Bells" by Wilfrid G. Wilson. It has some easier chapters before you get into the heavy work, and the terminology explained will help clarify some of what is going on in "The Nine Tailors." (Wilson's book does not appear to be available from Barnes & Noble. Try your local library.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Dorothy Leigh Sayers is the best mystery novelist ever. (Christie, on the other hand, is only a mystery _writer_.) Considered by many to be the best Lord Peter book ever. I enjoyed it, thoroughly. The plot is carefully done, and Lord Peter Wimsey is his usual ferociously enjoyable self. Read it.
nohablo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There's a lean, clever detective story at the heart of Nine Tailors. Too bad Dorothy Sayers smothers it to death with page after page of obsessive minutiae about bell-ringing (EGH) and the British canal system?! Soggily paced and, in the end, limp and unsatisfying. BLAH.
horacewimsey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love it when a novelist goes to the trouble of researching the setting of her novel. Here Sayers has given us a superb bit of detective fiction built on the science of changeringing.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amateur detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, is snowbound in a small English town on New Year's Eve. He helps the town's people ring in the new year on their church bells. Three months later Wimsey is called upon to solve the mystery of a dead body found in the churchyard. The 20-year-old theft of an emerald necklace lies at the heart of the case. The book's title comes from a specific ringing of the church bells to note a death in the parish. This is my first experience with Sayers and the infamous Wimsey. I really enjoyed it. It's a delicious English detective story, complete with polite inquiries and afternoon tea. It's certainly not fast-paced and can lag a bit as they toss ideas back and forth, but it pays off in the end. I'll have to pick up more of Sayers' work, but mysteries and other essays she's well known for. "Bells are like cats and mirrors, always queer, doesn't do a thing to think too much about them."
ben_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nine Tailors moves at a deliberate pace, and, like most good mysteries, is more notable for incidentals than for puzzle-box logic. A fine book, but it never became a page-turner (in the positive sense).
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On New Year's Eve, Lord Peter Wimsey is driving through the East Anglia countryside, when a flat tire causes him to stop in a local village. The village bell ringers are about to perform, and Wimsey fills in for one of the ringers who can come down with the flu. The nine tailors of the title are the nine bells that are rung upon someone's death. When a local man dies several months later, and his grave is dug, it's discovered that there's already a dead body in that grave--the body of an unknown man who was seen tramping about the countryside in January by Lord Peter himself. Who is the strange man? How is he connected to the theft of some emeralds that took place in 1914? It's a mystery that stumps even Lord Peter, and it's pretty ingenious--read it and see for yourself. Dorothy Sayers's novels are such a treat because she really knew how to pull a mystery together--she won't kill off one of her characters simply because she can. There's a backstory to everything, and Sayers leaves no stone unturned in this book. The Nine Tailors is as perfect a murder mystery as you're going to get.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of Ms. Sayers' best. A good mystery, good characters, a wonderful backdrop of well-described England served up with great writing style.
lahochstetler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This books is the epitome of the English countryside murder mystery. There's a mysterious dead body, an old parish church, a bumbling rector, and lots of foul weather. When Lord Peter Wimsey's car breaks down in Fenchurch St. Paul he is taken in by the rector. When an unidentified body turns up in the churchyard, Lord Peter is on the case. In Fenchurch St. Paul Sayers weaves a gripping and atmospheric mystery. At the heart of the mystery are the ancient church bells. They are tended by a close-knit and somewhat suspicious coterie of bell-ringers, who display an almost-slavish devotion to their ringing. More broadly, the book is fully infused with bell-ringing culture. The bells give their name to the the book; each has a name and together they are called 'The Nine Tailors.' In all honesty, there was more about bell-ringing than I needed to know. Still, this is a gripping mystery.
LARA335 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not sure i would have added it to the 1000 books you must read - convoluted plot, and an awful lot of information about bell-ringing composition, without actually explaining it. Sayers is said to have lifted the murder mystery from a puzzle to a literary novel. This was certainly well-written, Wimsey is charming, but I didn't feel engaged / concerned about any of the characters.
maggie1944 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just read The Nine Tailors and enjoyed it greatly. The main reason I do not read mysteries, as a favorite genre, is because I can't be "bothered" to try to second guess the author and come to "who did it" before the end of the book; however, in this book's case, I did guess the answer to the mystery which I think most readers probably would. But I clearly did not enjoy the book the less for the obviousness of the solution to the mystery. The book has many, many additional charms.Firstly, it is a wonderful period piece which describes life in a small English village and some of the Characters who live there perfectly. Not that I've ever lived in one, but based on other books, movies, and other sources of impression, I think Dorothy L. Sayers got it just right! The rector of the village church and his wife were a perfect pair, he a bit absent minded but totally a kind and giving man, she spot on the admistrator of all things organized in their home, and in the church. I fell completely in love with them.Secondly, all of the potential criminals were drawn carefully to not be too, too evil and thereby were totally believable people. Both clever, and not so clever, these folks had all of the weaknesses and foibles of country folk read about since the English novel threw light on villiage life. I was happy with the outcome.So, I recommend this book to readers who like mysteries, who like English village life, and who like good writing without some of the more modern tricks.
JaneSteen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Where I got the book; from my bookshelf.The Nine Tailors, I have noticed, is the book people often mention in connection with Dorothy L. Sayers. It's a perennial favorite, mostly, I suspect, because of the solution to the mystery of Geoffrey Deacon's murder--(view spoiler)--but as murder mysteries go, I find it unsatisfactory.As a novel, however, it's a great read. I love it because of the setting; the flat, watery fens (every time Wimsey's outside I can feel the damp wind whistling past my ears), the isolated little villages, the nexus of classic English village life--the pub, the church, the big house where many of the villagers work as servants, the blacksmith and the smallholders scratching a living from poorly-run farms. Sayers' father was a clergyman, and I suspect that this life was something she knew well; she certainly understood the ins and outs of the Rector's life, with his constant concern for visiting the sick, his efforts toward improving conditions of life in the village, and his officially disapproving yet privately understanding attitude toward the sins of the flesh. If we all came under the care of pastors like that, I suspect more people would turn up at church on Sunday. I also find the story wonderfully enjoyable and clever, despite my reservations about the murder mystery itself. By "the story" I mean the tale of the missing emeralds (DLS seems to have a thing about emeralds) that forms a background to the mystery and still resonates in the lives of the villagers. Right to the end the story keeps moving at a fast pace, never allowing for a dull moment. Even the decrypting of the Letter That Gives It All Away (second time DLS uses this device in short order) moves swiftly; lessons have been learned from the overlong scene in Have His Carcase.And the 'em. The Rector and his wife, Potty Peake, Hezekiah Lavender and Superintendent Blundell are little gems of sharp characterization in few words. And does anyone else think that Hilary Thorpe is another depiction of DLS, this time a youthful version? It seems to me that Strong Poison opened the floodgates to the writer inhabiting her own work, to the point where she pretty much takes over in Busman's Honeymoon.The most memorable image, of course, is the bells. I don't think any reader can quite look at church bells the same way again after this. There's a Norman church in Rye, East Sussex, with a bell tower you can climb, and I've been doing so since I was in my teens. The climb up the belfry ladder always, always makes me think of this book and shiver.
LaurieRKing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful language, gloriously ridiculous plots, and the first to bring the emotional life of her characters into the fore of the mystery. (Even though she did insist on apologizing for it.)
Smiley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Best Sayers Wimsey mystery I've read. Whodunit to the last couple of pages. Wonderful sense of place and an introduction to that very British hobby, change ringing as an added treat.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dorothy Sayers wrote this book having intimate knowledge of the fens and of bell ringing. Her father was a rector at a church there. Her love comes through in the atmosphere of this story. Her humorous, yet loving descriptions of the local villagers and especially Reverend Venables and his wife are fun to read. The details of change-ringing may still be a mystery to me, but I enjoy them. The bells truly become characters with their own personalities. This is one of my favorite Lord Peter mysteries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a clever mystery with many red herrings. One reader found the bell ringing material too confusing, so they gave up trying to read the book. I, like (probably) the majority of the readers, am unfamiliar with the science and art of bell ringing. It does not matter. Set the science/art of ringing aside and look at the mystery without the distraction of the bells. Once you've done that, let the bells ring again. If you do, you'll figure out the assorted "who's", "how's", and "why's'". Whether Ms. Sayers did it intentionally or not, the bell ringing is both a clue and a distraction. Enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much as I admire her genius, I gave up halfway through. Too much work to follow it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
vanlyle More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the actual story line and the way they try to solve the mystery, but there were many borung parts. I would rather have learned about the techniques if ringing the bells and how the numbers related to playing the music.