My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I always enjoy Sayers novels, but this one was not one of my favorites. The story centers around 6 artists, one of whom may be a murderer (the other 5 are the herrings), but they weren't distict enough characters to keep them sorted out amongst all the train schedules, bicycles, and painting tools. The solution to the mystery is handed to the reader when Lord Peter finds the body, but is buried among lots of distractions (herring anyone?) and is easily missed. When it was explained at the end I couldn't belive I missed something so obvious, but I did.
The writing is very sharp and full of references and inside jokes for the observant reader. There is an entire section where everything Lord Peter says is dialog from MacBeth. I also love how Sayers pops in now and again with commentary on the detective novel form.
"See here, Whimsey, you're not going to turn round now and say that the crime was committed by Mrs. Green or the milkmam, or somebody we've never heard of? That would be in the very worst tradition of the lowest style of detective fiction." (p.273)This book, c1931, counts toward the Vintage Mystery Challenge in the category of Murder by the Numbers.