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Summary

The best of the golden-age crime writers, praised by all the top modern writers in the field, including P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers created the immortal Lord Peter Wimsey. But in this thrilling murder story, she tells her story instead through the letters of the victim and the suspects.

The bed was broken and tilted grotesquely sideways. Harrison was sprawled over in a huddle of soiled blankets. His mouth was twisted.... Harrison had been an expert on deadly mushrooms. How was it then that he had eaten a large quantity of death-dealing muscarine? Was it an accident? Suicide? Or murder?

The documents in the case seemed to be a simple collection of love notes and letters home. But they concealed a clue to the brilliant murderer who baffled the best minds in London.

"She combined literary prose with powerful suspense, and it takes a rare talent to achieve that. A truly great storyteller." (Minette Walters)

©1927 Trustees of Anthony Fleming (deceased) (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

What listeners say about The Documents in the Case

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book.

If you could sum up The Documents in the Case in three words, what would they be?

Slow but exciting.

What other book might you compare The Documents in the Case to, and why?

None.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator was irritating, too many inappropriate pauses which made the narrative difficult to follow. Would rather have heard it narrated by a man

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Found it initially very slow to get to the point, but eventually very exciting. I couldn't put it down!

Any additional comments?

Very different from other Dorothy L Sayers writings, but nonetheless, very enjoyable apart from the reading.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

What would have made The Documents in the Case better?

. . A different speaker

What was most disappointing about Dorothy L Sayers and Robert Eustace ’s story?

The speakers voice never changed one had no idea who was who, her voice was flat monotone

How could the performance have been better?

No one could have done worse

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Yes anger, teeth grinding.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Perfect WhoDunnit!

If you are reading through all of the reviews, I'm presuming it's in the hope of deciding whether or not to pursue the purchase of this novel. My suggestion, is yes!

However, you have to do two things:-
1. Forget that this is a Dorothy Sayers novel. This should be easy enough to do because there is no Lord Peter Wimsey, or any of the characters One would associate with his novels.

2. Approach this as a new author's murder mystery novel that you are just embarking on. You will enjoy it immensely without the burden of thinking that this is not your usual Dorothy Sayers book.

The narrative and concept of this book is both original and extremely clever! The way that it is read is really easy to enjoy and immerse yourself in. At the beginning pay particular attention to the date, place & author of the first few letters, so that it becomes 2nd nature to do so!

You DO find out whodunit, eventually HOW it was done, but the brilliance of this novel is in the method of collating and presenting the evidence!

Many of the other reviewers absolutely adored this book, I am one of them. But there are a good few who did not enjoy it, and I sincerely believe that that is because this is not, absolutely NOT your usual Dorothy Sayers fare & they couldn't get their minds around this.

This is why I say, "Forget Dorothy Sayers and give this book a chance. You'll love it!"

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Only for die-hard fans!

The first thing to say is that, contrary to the claim made on the cover, this is *not* a Lord Peter Wimsey, but a standalone epistolary novel about a case of poisoning by mushrooms. The story is clever, but is developed far too slowly, with a lot of unnecessary discussion of other topics, including the theories of Einstein - yes, seriously!

The narration is also poor. The reader has a rather monotonous voice, regularly puts the wrong stress on sentences, and completely mispronounces several words. A very amateurish performance of a rather tedious book.

6 people found this helpful

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Not a perfect Sayers

For me, the end of this book wasn't worth the painful wading through the letters that went on for the first half of the book. The book had more interest for me in Sayers social and scientific commentary than in the murder mystery itself.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

This is very long winded. It lacks the pace and clarity of Dorothy L Sayers. I also think it should be more carefully edited as there were some glaring mis pronunciations .

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, gripping and a great performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, definitely. It is full of really interesting scientific information combined with a great story. The narrator is excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

It was very detailed and a real mystery right to the end. Dorothy Sayers at her absolute best and one I hadn't actually read in book form.

Have you listened to any of Jane McDowell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No but will certainly look for others of hers.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it was far too long but I listened to it on a couple of long car journeys and wanted to keep on listening.

Any additional comments?

It is quite intellectually challenging and does need some concentration to grasp all the intricacies of the plot and the documents of the case!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A novel in letters

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed listening to this novel. The rather unusual ploy of narrating the story through the correspondence between the main characters makes for an interesting take on the various angles on solving the crime.

Would you recommend The Documents in the Case to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommend it to someone who apart from enjoying a good crime novel also likes the natural science aspects that underlie the crime and it's solution.

What does Jane McDowell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She manages to portrait the different characters by changing her voice and speech patterns to give each character it's very individual touch.

Could you see The Documents in the Case being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Possible- though I would think it might be quite difficult to allow so many different points of view to be aired.
Perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch as Munting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Worst D L Sayers ever!

This book was such a disappointment. I skipped over large areas of mind numbing text just to get to the solution to the crime.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shame about the performance.

For once, a different kind of Dorothy L Sayers whodunnit without the wit of Lord Peter Wimsey! Intriguing, but tricky to keep up with picking out the clues from the correspondence through which the story ifs told.

The one glaring failing for me was the string of mispronunciations of words I would have expected a reader for Audible to be, or to make themselves, familiar with. If faced with an odd looking Scottish place name such as Kirkcudbright, I would find out how it’s locals referred to their home and not read it out loud as Kirk-cud-bright but as Kir-coo-bry; when referring to what might well be the name of a college of Cambridge university, I would research the name of Caius College (part of Gonville and Caius College), which is not pronounced Kie-us but Keys!

These were the most glaring mispronunciations, but there were unfortunately several more. The odd one could be smiled at, but I’m afraid it is a feature of this reader’s performance. Sorry if this seems harsh - I wait to hear of other readers’ reactions!