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Book Report: Clouds of Witness

All right, so why is it that Your Humble Blogger likes Lord Peter Wimsey, but doesn’t actually like the Lord Peter books very much? The latest reread to disappoint was Clouds of Witness, which wasn’t really bad, but wasn’t particularly good, either, and the annoying bits were really very annoying. Lady Mary particularly.

Maybe it’s a time-of-life thing. Perhaps what I should do is decide not to pick up another one until I’m forty-five (all too soon). On the other hand, my instinct is to reread the two novels I haven’t read in a long time, The Five Red Herrings and Whose Body?, to see if I like them more than I think I will (since I don’t have fond memories of those). Or to read some the short stories, which seems like less of an investment.

Bye the bye, I came across another reference to the nephos marturon of Hebrews 12:1 recently in the letters of Robertson Davies, but he refers to a crowd of witnesses. I have no Greek, myself, but I understood that the original is, in fact, a metaphor, kept in the Latin and in all the English I have ever looked at. I hadn’t, though, realized that Ms. Sayers reversed the KJB cloud of witnesses to clouds of witness. Why? There is not, in fact, a great cloud of witnesses in the plot, and although the people presumed to be witnesses do cloud the picture somewhat, still they are witnesses, not witness, and why clouds rather than a cloud?. Paul’s witnesses are martyrs, at least in the sense of witnessing, and largely in the sense of martyrdom; is Ms. Sayers doing something with that? If so, I don’t see it. Furthermore, the verse itself conjures the cloud of witnesses in order to pressure us to run with patience the race that is set before us. Who is so abjured in the novel? Lord Peter? The Duke of Denver? Lady Mary? Captain Cathcart? Anyone? Bueller?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


P'raps she means the truth being occluded by or from witness? And the allusion to the KJB comes as a freebie?

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