Review – The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

Posted 4 February, 2016 by Nikki in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy SayersThe Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy L. Sayers

Featuring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, Peter Jones as Bunter, and Gabriel Woolf as Inspector Parker

This has never been my favourite of the books, though it does touch on some of the horrors of war (in the figure of George Fentiman) and there are some interesting moral issues — particularly because this is one of those books in which Peter chooses to offer someone a “gentlemanly way out”. On the one hand, it bothers me because the guy is basically painted into a corner: his guilt has been figured out, and now here comes Lord Peter to make him write a full confession and then gently hint that he should shoot himself, rather than face due process and be condemned by a jury. Of course, the death penalty is probably his ultimate destination, and yet… who is Lord Peter to decide? To offer a way round the law?

It’s one of those stories in which Peter is asked whether he’s a detective or a gentleman, and he pretty much dodges the issue.

The radioplay is a fun enough adaptation, though the pacing is bizarre. Just as you think it must be approaching the denouement, it turns out that no, there’s still half the story to go. It feels very odd, even when you know it’s coming.

As usual, the voice acting is pretty excellent, and there was no desperate overacting by extras in this one, either. Hurrah.

Rating: 3/5

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