Wimsey's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, rings her son with news of 'such a quaint thing'. She has heard through a friend that Mr Thipps, a respectable Battersea architect, found a dead man in his bath - wearing nothing but a gold prince-nez. Lord Wimsey makes his way straight over to Mr Thipps, and a good look at the body raises a number of interesting questions. Why would such an apparantly well-groomed man have filthy black toenails, flea bites and the scent of carbolic soap lingering on his corpse? Then comes the disappearance of oil millionaire Sir Reuben Levy, last seen on the Battersea Park Road. With his beard shaved he would look very similar to the man found in the bath - but is Sir Levy really dead?
I've been hearing from Ro for so long about Lord Peter Wimsey and Dorothy L. Sayers that last month I couldn't resist grabbing the first book in the series. Lord Peter Wimsey is a gentleman; a younger son of a duke has a special interest in old books and in crimes. When his mother, the dowager Duchess phones him to announce that a dead body has been found in a bath tub wearing nothing but a pince nez he can't help but be intrigued and decides to investigate.
He doesn't get along with the Inspector in charge of the case but he is friends with another inspector, Parker, who is trying to solve another case. Convinced that both cases are linked Lord Peter and Inspector Parker join forces to investigate what is really going on.
I must confess that I did not warm to Lord Peter Wimsey as fast as I did for other fictional detectives like Poirot or Miss Marple. However as I kept reading I started liking him more and more. He is actually a funny character with his somewhat pompous manners and his witty remarks about life in general. Sometimes he is a bit of a know-it-all but as I got to know him better I did not mind, not even when I got a bit lost on all the information, because then you realise he is not as superficial as it might seem at first.
The mystery was interesting, I didn't guess the culprit and the why, but maybe that was because I felt it lacked a bit of suspense. There was no compulsion for me to try to guess. I did like what is shown of the period, both on a social level and the consequences of WWI. I was interested enough to want to read more books of this series, I particularly would love to revisit Bunter and the Dowager Duchess, and since I keep hearing the books get better I'll probably look for another one soon...