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02 January 2017

Book Review: The Documents in the Case

The Documents in the CaseThe Documents in the Case by Dorothy L. Sayers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mystery told only in correspondence. Kind of like an adult version of Kate Klise. Or, I guess, Kate Klise is a young adult version of this (with more puns and plays on words, of course)

Mystery aside (and I solved this one on a hunch about 20 pages in) I most enjoyed the letters John Munting wrote to Elizabeth Drake. If fleshed out, they strike me as a couple that could hang out with Lord Peter and Harriet Vane. Strong individuals, luckily and messily in love. Frankly, I could have done without the mystery at all and just read Munting's letters.

Munting is a writer by trade, so his letters are full of great description, deep-yet-shallow philosophy, and, of course, whining about having to write;

"...he wears his forehead well over the top of his head..."

"I am increasingly not clear whether I am a mess of oddly-assorted chemicals (chiefly salt and water), or a kind of hyper-trophied fish egg, or an enormous, all-inclusive cosmos of solar-systematically revolving atoms, each one supporting planetfuls of solemn imbeciles like myself."

"Only a fortnight now and I shall be seeing you. Praise God (or whatever it is) from (if direction exists) whom (if personality exists) all blessings (if that word corresponds to any percept of objective reality) flow (if Heraclitus and Bergson and Einstein are correct in stating that everything is more or less flowing about)."

"...I am enjoying a magnificent illusion of importance and busy-ness."

Late in the book, a charwoman bribing someone else with the existence of written incriminating evidence says, "I was never one for writin' letters myself. A word's as good and leaves nothin' but air be'ind it, that's wot I say."

Wink and a nod from Sayers; thank heavens for letters. And books. The keepers of our history.

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