Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Documents in the Case

Title: The Documents in the Case
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers and Robert Eustace
Genre: Mystery
Published: 1930
Rating: 7/10

Review: I received The Documents in the Case as a birthday gift. I've never read anything by Sayers before, though I've heard of her Lord Peter Wimsey series. This book is not part of that series, but rather a standalone mystery taking place in the late 1920s.

The most interesting part of the novel is the format in which it's written. The case is put together through the letters that various characters write to each other. At the heart of the novel are Mr. and Mrs. Harrison who lend rooms to two young men: Harwood Lathom and John Munting. The first part of the story is told through the letters of Harrison's housekeeper, Agatha Milsom, to her sister. Later, it turns out to be a case of unreliable narration.

I found the first part of the novel quite enjoyable. But then the letters switched to those of Mrs. Harrison and I found her style just painful to read. While it does a good job exposing her character, I just found myself slogging through that part of the story. Eventually, the narration switches again and my pace picked up once more.

What's interesting is that there isn't so much a whodunnit type of twist in the story. It's pretty obvious from the start who did it. It's much more of how was it done and how do we prove that, story line. That's interesting, but didn't feel quite as dramatic as some of the modern mystery fiction. On the other hand, it didn't feel as cliched either. Altogether, it was a fresh reading experience, with a solid plot, and some interesting story telling devices.

1 comment:

  1. Fresh and non-cliched sounds good. This book was brought to my attention because supposedly the mystery isn't solved until the end, and that the true nature of the murderer and victim are never exposed. All that probably has nothing to do with anything, but those were the elements that made the title stick in my head.

    Sounds like you kinda liked it ish…