Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The 'Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection' Offers Pleasant Escapism

From PopMatters:  The 'Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection' Offers Pleasant Escapism

Lord Peter Wimsey, an invention of Dorothy Sayers, is one of the more memorable detective characters of the 20th century. He’s a classic English gentleman detective, enjoying his inherited good life and assisting the police in murder cases, which he solves through a combination of intuition and cerebration. Wimsey’s world, of posh city clubs and grand country houses, is a pleasant place to escape to for a few hours, without any need to worry too much about whether it bears more than a passing resemblance to any historical reality.

Ian Carmichael created a memorable Wimsey in a series of five BBC mini-series in the ‘70s, despite being about 20 years too old for the part. Carmichael mastered the art of appearing perpetually surprised (his modern-day heir in that department is Robert Downey, Jr.), while being able to switch effortlessly into know-it-all Sherlock Holmes mode. There’s just a touch of Bertie Wooster, another role Carmichael played to great effect, in his portrayal of Wimsey, but he keeps it sufficiently under control so you never fear that Wimsey will descend to the level of being a silly ass.

Wimsey’s most important relationship is with his butler, Mervyn Bunter, who assists Wimsey in his work while also being the perfect gentleman’s gentleman. It seems a bit odd today that so able a person should be content, based on an accident of birth, to serve another of no greater intelligence or accomplishment, but these stories are absolutely products of their time (the first Wimsey novel was published in 1923). Within their world, the English class system is a fact of life, a hierarchy that functions smoothly by having a place for everyone, with everyone in his or her place. Working within these boundaries, Glyn Houston creates the definitive Bunter in the “The Nine Tailors”, “Clouds of Witness”, and “Five Red Herrings”, while Derek Newark is adequate, but less memorable, in “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club” (Bunter does not appear in “Murder Must Advertise”).

The five Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries are substantial mini-series, consisting of four 52-minute episodes each, with “Clouds of Witness” weighing in at five episodes. The good news is that they never seem rushed, while the bad news is that they sometimes feel a bit slow. The two liveliest are “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club” and “Murder Must Advertise”. The title of the former, in a case of classic British understatement, refers to the death of an aged club member who passed away in his favorite chair before the fire, and wasn’t discovered for some time—as the old joke goes, how could they tell? However, it becomes critical to establish the time of his death, because his sister died the same day, at home, and the terms of a will rest on the order of their deaths. John Quentin steals the show as George Fentiman, a shell-shocked World War I veteran.

In “Murder Must Advertise” Wimsley goes undercover to work in an advertising firm, passing himself off as just another bright young thing. Carmichael’s age-inappropriateness is most obvious here—he must be the oldest junior copywriter in the history of the world, and when holding the slingshot (or “catapault” in the script) that plays a key role in this story, he looks like an old perv who’d probably like to dress up in knickers and have his behind paddled. Other than that objection, “Murder Must Advertise” is great fun, informed by Sayers’s years of experience in the advertising trade (she developed the Guinness “zoo” ads and the Colman’s “Mustard Club” promotions).

Bells figure prominently in “The Nine Tailors”—the title refers to the nine peals rung to announce that a man has died, and change ringing also plays a key role in the story’s central mystery. The bells theme also supplies a plum role for Donald Eccles as a vicar who is really, really into change ringing. “The Nine Tailors” also provides the backstory for Wimsey and Bunter’s relationship, which dates back to their mutual service in World War I.

In “The Five Red Herrings”, Wimsey takes on the case of an unpopular painter who is found dead at the base of a cliff. There are six suspects, all painters, but, as the title suggests, five are red herrings. The story is set in Galloway, Scotland, and makes the most of the potential for local color, but feels the slowest of all the series on these disks. “Clouds of Witness” also feels slow, with Wimsey investigating the murder of his sister’s caddish fiancĂ©, for which his brother is the chief suspect.

The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries were originally broadcast between 1972 and 1975, and the picture quality is about what you would expect—frequently soft and sometimes washed out, although the indoor scenes have generally have lasted better than those shot outdoors. 

The extras package includes a 2000 interview with Ian Carmichael (about 30 min. total, split into four segments), in which he discusses his work in musical revues and comedies and shares his thoughts on Sayers’ novels and the Wimsey character (he says Wimsey was the “ideal man” for himself as well as for Sayers). There are also text biographies of Ian Carmichael and Dorothy Sayers, and text production notes in the form of a Q & A between Acorn and Ian Carmichael; among other points of interest, these notes explain the logic behind the order in which the mini-series were filmed, and how Carmichael came to play Wimsey despite being somewhat too experienced, shall we say, to match the character’s age in Sayers’ novels.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Take your blood pressure medication!

Spent most of yesterday in the hospital, where my mother was admitted. Her doctor had changed her blood pressure medication a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't doing the job. Unfortunately her doctor was out of town and a home therapist said we should take her to the Emergency Room.

Bad idea, as far as I'm concerned. Put her back on her old medication which was working, just causing her to cough.

Instead we brought her to the emergency room, and since she's old and deaf, this got her more stressed out and scared than ever, because they were all gathered around her shouting questions and wanting to run tests and I'm sure she thought she was dying or something, which sent her blood pressure even higher.

She spent the night there, and is still in today for more tests, which I don't think she needs but I guess since they've got her in there they want to get their money's worth out of our insurance...  she's in a private room which must be costing a fortune....

The reason for my headline... she was about 40 when she was first diagnosed with high blood pressure...took pills for a couple of days but didn't like how they made her feel....so she stopped taking them and tried to do the "natural remedy" thing.

Result, 20 years later she had congestive heart failure, and now instead of taking 1 pill a day she has to take 4. And has to go into the hospital periodically on occasions like these.

Moral of the story - go get your blood pressure checked, and if you have high blood pressure make sure you take your meds, otherwise believe me you'll wish you had, when it is too late...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

and never agree to transcribe 20 hours of meetings from an Australian business meeting.

That's what I've been doing for the last 4 days...utter nightmare. Could NOT understand their accents. Making it worse were the bad audio levels and the fact that a lot of the people preesnt insisted on talking over each other from all around the room except in front of the microphone... I will never transcribe ANYTHING every again.

Anyway, so sorry to be MIA from my blogs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Favorite Dorothy Sayers Quote

From Patheos: My Favorite Dorothy Sayers Quote
The Quote: “The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore – on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mile,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”
The Source: Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957), renowned English crime writer, poet, play-write, essayist, translator, and Christian. She is best known for her mysteries, novels and short stories.
The Wow: From the first time I heard a fellow Christian minister and church leader cite this quote, I have drawn so much from reflecting on it. It challenges me to the truth that not only is my “God too small”, my Christ is often too small in my mind

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Murder at the British Library

From the Spectator:  Murder at the British Library

John Gielgud is an unexpected star of the British Library's small but perfectly formed exhibition on crime writing, 'Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction'. Image: Getty.
John Gielgud is an unexpected star of the British Library's small but perfectly formed exhibition on crime writing, 'Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction'. Image: Getty.
If you happen to be passing through King’s Cross and can spare 10 minutes, drop by the British Library to see Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction, a small but perfectly formed exhibition about crime writing. The exhibits range from first editions of famous classics, such as a copy of Dorothy L Sayers’ The Nine Tailors that has been loved a little too well or the crispy pages of a 1926 issue of The Sketch magazine, the first to feature Miss Marple; to brief thematic studies on subjects like the development of the female detective over 150 years or the true crime sub-genre; to memorabilia such as private photographs of John Gielgud, who devoured trashy detective novels, revelling on the set of Morse or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immaculate manuscript for The Adventure of the Retired Colourman (what a gift to be able to write so well without need of emendation!).
This show is not a history of crime writing; rather, it is a selection of revealing curiosities designed to surprise even crime devotees. It is successful in this aim. I did not know, for instance, that high-quality jigsaw puzzles forming part of a detective novel’s narrative were manufactured between the wars as after-dinner entertainment. Seeing one in the flesh puts fresh gloss on the tired ‘murder mystery party’: the technicoloured pieces still glistening like wet blood 80 years on. And, although I knew that Dennis Wheatley had, in the early 1930s, designed the ‘crime dossier’ (a box of clues) with which readers were to solve a mystery, I had never seen one before, such is their rarity. The dossier looked engrossing; I wanted to touch it. Today’s publishers would probably fail if they tried a similar gimmick online because I don’t see how it would work without being able to turn the contents over in your hands.
These detours away from dust jackets and foxed copies produced so many pleasant surprises. I have always imagined that John Gielgud’s eccentricity was not mere play acting, so it was delightful to find his script for Murder on the Orient Express (1974) decorated with sprawling, Dali-esque doodles: testament to the persistence of boredom on a film set. The script was also pocked-marked by his professional foibles. He copied out his lines in the adjacent margin, in handwriting that must have been easily legible only to him, and he marked the tricks of his characterisation in imperative capitals. ‘SPECTACLES ON,’ he demands of himself on one page.
The exhibition is made by such weird and wonderful artefacts. Each one speaks of the simple joys that the genre has brought. They remind you that people both large and small have been thrilled by crime writing, a great leveller. Murder in the Library made me smile on an otherwise bleak midwinter day.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


Never realized I hadn't posted in over 2 weeks!

Sorry, folks

Things have just gotten away from me the last week and a half...posting should be back on schedule starting this weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clouds of Witness ch 9 cont

                “Now, Polly, old girl,” said Peter, “cut out the sob-stuff. I accidentally ran into this Goyles chap last night at your Soviet Club. I asked that Miss Tarrant to introduce me, but the minute Goyles heard my name, he made tracks.
                I rushed out after him, only meanin' to have a word with him, when the idiot stopped at the corner of Newport Court, potted me, and bunked. Silly-ass thing to do. I knew who he was. He couldn't help gettin' caught.”
                “Peter——” said Mary in a ghastly voice.
                “Look here, Polly,” said Wimsey. “I did think of you. Honest injun, I did.

Honest Injun
In the 1800s, Europeans romanticized the Native American as a “noble savage.” They were typically believed to be more honest than white men (who made treaties and then broke them, time and again.). The phrase is not politically correct today.

The term noble savage (French, bon sauvage) expresses the concept of an idealized indigene, outsider, or "other" and refers to the literary stock character. In English, the phrase first appeared in the 17th century in John Dryden's heroic play, The Conquest of Granada (1672), wherein it was used by a Christian prince disguised as a Spanish Muslim to refer to himself, but it later became identified with the idealized picture of "nature's gentleman", which was an aspect of 18th-century sentimentalism. The noble savage achieved prominence as an oxymoronic rhetorical device after 1851, when used sarcastically as the title for a satirical essay by English novelist Charles Dickens, whom some believe may have wished to disassociate himself from what he viewed as the "feminine" sentimentality of 18th and early 19th-century romantic primitivism

                I haven't had the man arrested. I've made no charge at all—have I, Parker? What did you tell 'em to do when you were down at the Yard this morning?”
                “To detain Goyles pending inquiries, because he was wanted as a witness in the Riddlesdale case,” said Parker slowly.
                “He knows nothing about it,” said Mary, doggedly now. “He wasn't anywhere near. He is innocent of that!”
                “Do you think so?” said Lord Peter gravely. “If you know he is innocent, why tell all those lies to screen him? It won't do, Mary. You know he was there—and you think he is guilty.”
                “Yes,” said Wimsey, grasping her with his sound hand as she shrank away. “Mary, have you thought what you are doing? You are perjuring yourself and putting Gerald in peril of his life, in order to shield from justice a man whom you suspect of murdering your lover and who has most certainly tried to murder me.”
                “Oh,” cried Parker, in an agony, “all this interrogation is horribly irregular.”
                “Never mind him,” said Peter. “Do you really think you're doing the right thing, Mary?”
                The girl looked helplessly at her brother for a minute or two. Peter cocked up a whimsical, appealing eye from under his bandages. The defiance melted out of her face.
                “I'll tell the truth,” said Lady Mary.
                “Good egg,” said Peter, extending a hand. “I'm sorry. I know you like the fellow, and we appreciate your decision enormously. Truly, we do. Now, sail ahead, old thing, and you take it down, Parker.”

“Well, it really all started years ago with George. You were at the Front then, Peter, but I suppose they told you about it—and put everything in the worst possible light.”
                “I wouldn't say that, dear,” put in the Duchess. “I think I told Peter that your brother and I were not altogether pleased with what we had seen of the young man—which was not very much, if you remember. He invited himself down one week-end when the house was very full, and he seemed to make a point of consulting nobody's convenience but his own. And you know, dear, you even said yourself you thought he was unnecessarily rude to poor old Lord Mountweazle.”
                “He said what he thought,” said Mary. “Of course, Lord Mountweazle, poor dear, doesn't understand that the present generation is accustomed to discuss things with its elders, not just kow-tow to them. When George gave his opinion, he thought he was just contradicting.”
                “To be sure,” said the Dowager, “when you flatly deny everything a person says it does sound like contradiction to the uninitiated. But all I remember saying to Peter was that Mr. Goyles's manners seemed to me to lack polish, and that he showed a lack of independence in his opinions.”
                “A lack of independence?” said Mary, wide-eyed.
                “Well, dear, I thought so. What oft was thought and frequently much better expressed, as Pope says—or was it somebody else? But the worse you express yourself these days the more profound people think you—though that's nothing new. Like Browning and those quaint metaphysical people, when you never know whether they really mean their mistress or the Established Church, so bridegroomy and biblical—to say nothing of dear S. Augustine—the Hippo man, I mean, not the one who missionised over here, though I daresay he was delightful too, and in those days I suppose they didn't have annual sales of work and tea in the parish room, so it doesn't seem quite like what we mean nowadays by missionaries—he knew all about it—you remember about that mandrake—or is that the thing you had to get a big black dog for? Manichee, that's the word. What was his name? Was it Faustus? Or am I mixing him up with the old man in the opera?”
                “Well, anyway,” said Mary, without stopping to disentangle the Duchess's sequence of ideas, “George was the only person I really cared about—he still is. Only it did seem so hopeless. Perhaps you didn't say much about him, mother, but Gerald said lots—dreadful things!”
                “Yes,” said the Duchess, “he said what he thought. The present generation does, you know. To the uninitiated, I admit, dear, it does sound a little rude.”
                Peter grinned, but Mary went on unheeding.
                “George had simply no money. He'd really given everything he had to the Labour Party one way and another, and he'd lost his job in the Ministry of Information: they found he had too much sympathy with the Socialists abroad. It was awfully unfair. Anyhow, one couldn't be a burden on him; and Gerald was a beast, and said he'd absolutely stop my allowance if I didn't send George away. So I did, but of course it didn't make a bit of difference to the way we both felt. I will say for mother she was a bit more decent. She said she'd help us if George got a job; but, as I pointed out, if George got a job we shouldn't need helping!”
                “But, my dear, I could hardly insult Mr. Goyles by suggesting that he should live on his mother-in-law,” said the Dowager.
                “Why not?” said Mary. “George doesn't believe in those old-fashioned ideas about property. Besides, if you'd given it to me, it would be my money. We believe in men and women being equal. Why should the one always be the bread-winner more than the other?”
                “I can't imagine, dear,” said the Dowager. “Still, I could hardly expect poor Mr. Goyles to live on unearned increment when he didn't believe in inherited property.”
                “That's a fallacy,” said Mary, rather vaguely. “Anyhow,” she added hastily, “that's what happened. Then, after the war, George went to Germany to study Socialism and Labour questions there, and nothing seemed any good. So when Denis Cathcart turned up, I said I'd marry him.”
                “Why?” asked Peter. “He never sounded to me a bit the kind of bloke for you. I mean, as far as I could make out, he was Tory and diplomatic and—well, quite crusted old tawny, so to speak. I shouldn't have thought you had an idea in common.”

Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada. Historically it also had exponents in former parts of the British Empire, for instance the Loyalists of British America who sided with Britain and the Crown during the American Revolutionary War. The Tory ethics can be summed up with the phrase 'God, King and Country'. Tories generally advocate monarchism, are usually of a High Church Anglican religious heritage, and are opposed to the radical liberalism of the Whig faction.

The Tory political faction emerged within the Parliament of England to uphold the legitimist rights of James, Duke of York to succeed his brother Charles II to the throne. James II was a Catholic, while the state institutions had broken from the Catholic Church—this was an issue for the Exclusion Bill supporting Whigs, the political heirs to the nonconformist Roundheads and Covenanters. There were two Tory ministries under James II; the first led by Lord Rochester, the second by Lord Belasyse. Some were later involved in his usurpation with the Whigs, which they saw as defending the Anglican Church. Tory sympathy for the Stuarts ran deep however and some supported Jacobitism, which saw them isolated by the Hanoverians until Lord Bute's ministry under George III.

Conservatism emerged by the end of the 18th century—which synthesised moderate Whig positions and some of the old Tory values to create a new political ideology, in opposition to the French Revolution. Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Younger led the way in this. Due to this faction eventually leading to the formation of the Conservative Party, members of that party are colloquially referred to as Tories, even if they are not traditionalists. Actual adherents to traditional Toryism in contemporary times tend to be referred to as High Tories to avoid confusion.           

 “No; but then he didn't care twopence whether I had any ideas or not. I made him promise he wouldn't bother me with diplomats and people, and he said no, I could do as I liked, provided I didn't compromise him. And we were to live in Paris and go our own ways and not bother. And anything was better than staying here, and marrying somebody in one's own set, and opening bazaars and watching polo and meeting the Prince of Wales. So I said I'd marry Denis, because I didn't care about him, and I'm pretty sure he didn't care a halfpenny about me, and we should have left each other alone. I did so want to be left alone!”
                “Was Jerry all right about your money?” inquired Peter.
                “Oh yes. He said Denis was no great catch—I do wish Gerald wasn't so vulgar, in that flat, early-Victorian way—but he said that, after George, he could only thank his stars it wasn't worse.”
                “Make a note of that, Charles,” said Wimsey.
                “Well, it seemed all right at first, but, as things went on, I got more and more depressed. Do you know, there was something a little alarming about Denis. He was so extraordinarily reserved. I know I wanted to be left alone, but—well, it was uncanny! He was correct. Even when he went off the deep end and was passionate—which didn't often happen—he was correct about it. Extraordinary. Like one of those odd French novels, you know, Peter: frightfully hot stuff, but absolutely impersonal.”
                “Charles, old man!” said Lord Peter.
                “That's important. You realize the bearing of that?”
                “Never mind. Drive on, Polly.”
                “Aren't I making your head ache?”
                “Damnably; but I like it. Do go on. I'm not sprouting a lily with anguish moist and fever-dew, or anything like that. I'm getting really thrilled. What you've just said is more illuminating than anything I've struck for a week.”

Peter quotes from the poem the Belle Dame sans Merci: La Belle Dame sans Merci (French: "The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy" ) is a ballad written by the English poet John Keats. It exists in two versions, with minor differences between them. The original was written by Keats in 1819. He used the title of a 15th century poem by Alain Chartier, though the plots of the two poems are different. The poem is considered an English classic, stereotypical to other of Keats' works. It avoids simplicity of interpretation despite simplicity of structure. At only a short twelve stanzas, of only four lines each, with a simple ABCB rhyme scheme, the poem is nonetheless full of enigmas, and has been the subject of numerous interpretations.

                “Really!” Mary stared at Peter with every trace of hostility vanished. “I thought you'd never understand that part.”
                “Lord!” said Peter. “Why not?”
                Mary shook her head. “Well, I'd been corresponding all the time with George, and suddenly he wrote to me at the beginning of this month to say he'd come back from Germany, and had got a job on the Thunderclap—the Socialist weekly, you know—at a beginning screw of £4 a week, and wouldn't I chuck these capitalists and so on, and come and be an honest working woman with him. He could get me a secretarial job on the paper. I was to type and so on for him, and help him get his articles together. And he thought between us we should make £6 or £7 a week, which would be heaps to live on. And I was getting more frightened of Denis every day. So I said I would. But I knew there'd be an awful row with Gerald. And really I was rather ashamed—the engagement had been announced and there'd be a ghastly lot of talk and people trying to persuade me. And Denis might have made things horribly uncomfortable for Gerald—he was rather that sort. So we decided the best thing to do would be just to run away and get married first, and escape the wrangling.”
                “Quite so,” said Peter. “Besides, it would look rather well in the paper, wouldn't it? 'Peer's Daughter Weds Socialist—Romantic Side-car Elopement—“£6 a Week Plenty,” says Her Ladyship.'”
                “Pig!” said Lady Mary.
                “Very good,” said Peter, “I get you! So it was arranged that the romantic Goyles should fetch you away from Riddlesdale—why Riddlesdale? It would be twice as easy from London or Denver.”
                “No. For one thing he had to be up North. And everybody knows one in town, and—anyhow, we didn't want to wait.”
                “Besides, one would miss the Young Lochinvar touch. Well, then, why at the unearthly hour of 3 a.m.?”

Marmion is an epic poem by Walter Scott about the Battle of Flodden Field (1513). It was published in 1808.

Scott started writing Marmion, his second major work, in November 1806. When Archibald Constable, the publisher, learnt of this, he offered a thousand guineas for the copyright unseen. William Miller and John Murray each agreed to take a 25% share in the project. Murray observed: "We both view it as honourable, profitable, and glorious to be concerned in the publication of a new poem by Walter Scott." Scott later said that he thoroughly enjoyed writing the work. He told his son-in-law, Lockhart, "Oh, man, I had many a grand gallop among these braes when I was thinking of Marmion."
                Lochinvar was a character in that poem.

                “He had a meeting on Wednesday night at Northallerton. He was going to come straight on and pick me up, and run me down to town to be married by special license. We allowed ample time. George had to be at the office next day.”
                “I see. Well, I'll go on now, and you stop me if I'm wrong. You went up at 9.30 on Wednesday night. You packed a suit-case. You—did you think of writing any sort of letter to comfort your sorrowing friends and relations?”
                “Yes, I wrote one. But I——”
                “Of course. Then you went to bed, I fancy, or, at any rate, turned the clothes back and lay down.”
                “Yes. I lay down. It was a good thing I did, as it happened——”
                “True, you wouldn't have had much time to make the bed look probable in the morning, and we should have heard about it. By the way, Parker, when Mary confessed her sins to you last night, did you make any notes?”
                “Yes,” said Parker, “if you can read my shorthand.”
                “Quite so,” said Peter. “Well, the rumpled bed disposes of your story about never having gone to bed at all, doesn't it?”
                “And I thought it was such a good story!”
                “Want of practice,” replied her brother kindly. “You'll do better, next time. It's just as well, really, that it's so hard to tell a long, consistent lie. Did you, as a matter of fact, hear Gerald go out at 11.30, as Pettigrew-Robinson (damn his ears!) said?”
                “I fancy I did hear somebody moving about,” said Mary, “but I didn't think much about it.”
                “Quite right,” said Peter, “when I hear people movin' about the house at night, I'm much too delicate-minded to think anything at all.”
                “Of course,” interposed the Duchess, “particularly in England, where it is so oddly improper to think. I will say for Peter that, if he can put a continental interpretation on anything, he will—so considerate of you, dear, as soon as you took to doing it in silence and not mentioning it, as you so intelligently did as a child. You were really a very observant little boy, dear.”
                “And still is,” said Mary, smiling at Peter with surprising friendliness.
                “Old bad habits die hard,” said Wimsey. “To proceed. At three o'clock you went down to meet Goyles. Why did he come all the way up to the house? It would have been safer to meet him in the lane.”
                “I knew I couldn't get out of the lodge-gate without waking Hardraw, and so I'd have to get over the palings somewhere. I might have managed alone, but not with a heavy suit-case. So, as George would have to climb over, anyhow, we thought he'd better come and help carry the suit-case. And then we couldn't miss each other by the conservatory door. I sent him a little plan of the path.”
                “Was Goyles there when you got downstairs?”
                “No—at least—no, I didn't see him. But there was poor Denis's body, and Gerald bending over it. My first idea was that Gerald had killed George. That's why I said, 'O God! you've killed him!'” (Peter glanced across at Parker and nodded.) “Then Gerald turned him over, and I saw it was Denis—and then I'm sure I heard something moving a long way off in the shrubbery—a noise like twigs snapping—and it suddenly came over me, where was George? Oh, Peter, I saw everything then, so clearly. I saw that Denis must have come on George waiting there, and attacked him—I'm sure Denis must have attacked him. Probably he thought it was a burglar. Or he found out who he was and tried to drive him away. And in the struggle George must have shot him. It was awful!”
                Peter patted his sister on the shoulder. “Poor kid,” he said.
                “I didn't know what to do,” went on the girl. “I'd so awfully little time, you see. My one idea was that nobody must suspect anybody had been there. So I had quickly to invent an excuse for being there myself. I shoved my suit-case behind the cactus plants to start with. Jerry was taken up with the body and didn't notice—you know, Jerry never does notice things till you shove them under his nose. But I knew if there'd been a shot Freddy and the Marchbankses must have heard it. So I pretended I'd heard it too, and rushed down to look for burglars. It was a bit lame, but the best thing I could think of. Gerald sent me up to alarm the house, and I had the story all ready by the time I reached the landing. Oh, and I was quite proud of myself for not forgetting the suit-case!”
                “You dumped it into the chest,” said Peter.
                “Yes. I had a horrible shock the other morning when I found you looking in.”
                “Nothing like the shock I had when I found the silver sand there.”
                “Silver sand?”
                “Out of the conservatory.”
                “Good gracious!” said Mary.
                “Well, go on. You knocked up Freddy and the Pettigrew-Robinsons. Then you had to bolt into your room to destroy your farewell letter and take your clothes off.”
                “Yes. I'm afraid I didn't do that very naturally. But I couldn't expect anybody to believe that I went burglar-hunting in a complete set of silk undies and a carefully knotted tie with a gold safety-pin.”
                “No. I see your difficulty.”
                “It turned out quite well, too, because they were all quite ready to believe that I wanted to escape from Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson—except Mrs. P. herself, of course.”
                “Yes; even Parker swallowed that, didn't you, old man?”
                “Oh, quite, quite so,” said Parker gloomily.
                “I made a dreadful mistake about that shot,” resumed Lady Mary. “You see, I explained it all so elaborately—and then I found that nobody had heard a shot at all. And afterwards they discovered that it had all happened in the shrubbery—and the time wasn't right, either. Then at the inquest I had to stick to my story—and it got to look worse and worse—and then they put the blame on Gerald. In my wildest moments I'd never thought of that. Of course, I see now how my wretched evidence helped.”
                “Hence the ipecacuanha,” said Peter.
                “I'd got into such a frightful tangle,” said poor Lady Mary, “I thought I had better shut up altogether for fear of making things still worse.”
                “And did you still think Goyles had done it?”
                “I—I didn't know what to think,” said the girl. “I don't now. Peter, who else could have done it?”
                “Honestly, old thing,” said his lordship, “if he didn't do it, I don't know who did.”
                “He ran away, you see,” said Lady Mary.
                “He seems rather good at shootin' and runnin' away,” said Peter grimly.
                “If he hadn't done that to you,” said Mary slowly, “I'd never have told you. I'd have died first. But, of course, with his revolutionary doctrines—and when you think of Red Russia and all the blood spilt in riots and insurrections and things—I suppose it does teach a contempt for human life.”
                “My dear,” said the Duchess, “it seems to me that Mr. Goyles shows no especial contempt for his own life. You must try to look at the thing fairly. Shooting people and running away is not very heroic—according to our standards.”
                “The thing I don't understand,” struck in Wimsey hurriedly, “is how Gerald's revolver got into the shrubbery.”