A fleeting killer's green mustache. A corpse clutching a note with misplaced vowels. A telephone with the unmistakable ring of death. A hopeful heir's dreams of fortune done in when nature beats him to the punch. A playwright's unwatered-down honor that is thicker than blood.
In each case, the murder baffles the local authorities. For his Lordship and the spirited salesman-sleuth Montague Egg, a corpse is an intriguing invitation to unravel the postmortem puzzles of fascinating...read more --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful: Grows on you, if you don't insist on Lord Peter, November 25, 2001 Reviewer: M. L. Worley from Kingdom of the Mouse, United States If you're only interested in short stories featuring Lord Peter, be advised that 1) this book only contains 2 Lord Peter stories, 2) the complete set of such short stories is available in the collection _Lord Peter_, and 3) that this book doesn't overlap with _Lord Peter Views the Body_, _Hangman's Holiday_, or _Striding Folly_ (which together contain the stories making up _Lord Peter_). The Wimsey stories in this volume are not Sayers' best, but if you give the other stories herein a chance, the book pulls its weight. No one has to date assembled a collection featuring only Montague Egg, partly because there are so few stories featuring him (5 appear in this volume). Monty is a traveling salesman for Plummett & Rose (fine wines and spirits). Sayers had definite opinions about making sure that amateur sleuths had legitimate reasons to travel, meet the necessary people (what better person to visit the local pub?), and so on. The remaining 10 stories feature neither major character. Sayers liked to have fun with the conventional formula of a detective story; sometimes a death isn't murder, or a mystery doesn't involve a death. Sometimes nobody's guilty of anything, or (treason!) they actually get away with it. "In the Teeth of the Evidence" - Wimsey's dentist has been called upon to identify one of his predecessor's patients from dental work - a fellow dentist found dead in the charred remains of his car. Wimsey comes along, never having had a corpse-in-blazing-garage case before. "Absolutely Elsewhere" - Wimsey and Parker are up against what appears to be a cast-iron alibi. "A Shot at Goal" - The head of the local soccer committee (a big man at the local factory) is found with his head beaten in after being called away from the pub where Monty had been trying out his sales pitch. One is spoilt for choice for motive here. "Dirt Cheap" - Monty and his fellow traveling salesman are stuck at the Griffin, since their usual hotel has had a fire; it's no surprise that Pringle (after his heavy meal of bad food) should be making noises in the night, enough to wake Monty next door. But the next morning he finds Pringle dead and robbed of his jewelry sample-case - the man he spoke to through the door in the night must have been the killer. "Bitter Almonds" - Upon hearing that an eccentric old customer has died suddenly in a nearby town, Monty attends the inquest - partly beccause the deceased was drinking one of Monty's products when he died. "False Weight" - Monty is called on to identify the corpse of Wagstaffe, a traveling salesman for a jeweller's firm who had a wife in every other town on his route. The trick here isn't to find someone with a motive, but to find a solution that fits all the physical evidence in the bar where he died. "The Professor's Manuscript" - A colleague, upon failing to sell soft drinks to the professor who just moved in, passes him along to Monty as a prospect. Monty makes the sale, but notices several incongruities about the elderly professor and his home. See if you can spot them before they're pointed out to you. "The Milk-Bottles" - Hector Puncheon (a young reporter from the Lord Peter stories) thinks he's onto a hot story when a young couple disappears from their apartment and the milk-bottles begin piling up outside. "Dilemma" - Everyone's heard the question: if you could have a million dollars by pushing a button and killing a stranger a thousand miles away, would you do it? In this case, a doctor had to choose between saving 1) a dead man's research on sleeping sickness or 2) a drunken butler on the night of a fire. "An Arrow O'er the House" - Failed author Mr. Podd begins wracking his brain for flamboyant schemes to draw publishers' attention to his work (other than dismal rejection notices). "Scrawns" - Susan took the job of house-parlourmaid at Scrawns without an interview, not expecting such a gloomy, run-down, deserted country house... "Nebuchadnezzar" - This game is charades raised to about the 3rd power - act a word, whose initial letter, in turn, forms part of the final word. Markham, whose wife Jane died of gastroenteritis about 6 months ago, begins to brood while watching her old friends act out Jezebel (J), Adam (A), ... "The Inspiration of Mr. Budd" - Mr. Budd, a skilled barber who is losing his struggle against the flashy establishment across the street, yearned for a chance at the evening paper's reward posted for help in catching a murderer. But how could he earn it against such a strong and brutal man, anyway? "Blood Sacrifice" - The playwright hated what actor-manager Garrick Drury had done to his first professional sale, although it played to packed houses. His generous compensation merely meant that he had no leverage to protest the mutation of the script into an almost unrecognizable form, which was ruining his reputation among the Bloomsbury types he moved among. (If the playwright's character interests you, try Sayers' _Strong Poison_, whose artistic crowd produced similar unsaleable work, or _Gaudy Night_, where professional ethics have a major role in the story.) "Suspicion" - Mr. Mummery has been very careful to stick to a health-food diet lately, since his stomach began playing him up. He and his wife had accepted their new and experienced cook as a gift from heaven, without checking up her references, but now he's feeling uneasy. "The Leopard Lady" - As a Smith & Smith (Removals) story, the reader should come into this story aware that, unless a client turns nasty, nobody will be charged, let alone convicted, for the removal. In this instance, Tressidier stands as guardian and residuary legatee for his small nephew, but Mr. Smith knows just how much of Tressidier's own money was lost in the Megatherium crash and at the track. (They never approach anyone unless they're sure of him.) "The Cyprian Cat" - The narrator is speaking to his defense counsel: "It's funny that one should be hanged for shooting at a cat." (A Cyprian cat is actually a tabby.) This story breaks the rules about not throwing in magical overtones. If you like it, you might consider Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" or Howard's "The Hyena". --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title