Devotees of Dorothy L. Sayers's impeccable sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, will want to pour themselves "two large whiskeys" to toast the release of this 1974 miniseries based on one of Sayers's most popular novels. Ian Carm... more »ichael stars in his signature role as the future aristocratic detective, who, as a young soldier en route to the battlefield, becomes embroiled in "a very distressing story." Someone has stolen "a king's ransom" in uninsured emeralds from the estate of Sir Charles (Desmond Llewelyn, better known to James Bond fans as "Q") on the night of his son's wedding. No mystery here: In this case, the butler really did do it. But that's only the beginning in a puzzler that will span 20 years, when Wimsey inadvertently returns to the scene of the crime and steps into some "damn bad business" involving a recently discovered mutilated body. He discovers at the bottom of a well and in a church tower baffling clues that harken back to that fateful robbery and the still-missing jewels. The nine tailors, by the way, refers to nine church bells and the arcane tradition of change ringing. This entry in the Wimsey series offers the usual pleasures of splendid acting, colorful characters, and intriguing story. We also get to see how Bunter became Wimsey's faithful manservant. Suffice to say, The Nine Tailors will really ring your bell. --Donald Liebenson« less
Isabella C. from HAWORTH, NJ Reviewed on 3/7/2008...
one of the best
Thou shalt pronounce this hideous thing....
Dianne Foster | USA | 08/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With cross and candle and bell-knelling....More than one of the characters in THE NINE TAILORS is haunted. Lord Peter Wimsey and his valet Bunter are haunted by their recent experiences in France, where they spent too many weeks in the trenches. Other characters are haunted by events that transpired before WWI. The nine tailors are a set of very old and large bells that hang in the tower of a church in East Anglia. Each of the bells was specially cast and each has a name. On high holy days in the Anglican Church, such as the Feast of the Epiphany, the bells are rung by a group of men. Wimsey takes part in the change ringing and it is glorious. Dorothy Sayers was intrigued with Anglican theology, and in her later years she abandoned mystery writing for the study of theology. Every chapter of THE NINE TAILORS is preceded by a quotation involving instructions to clergy, change-ringing, and the like. Each is a clue. I believe Sayers was haunted -- like P.D. James -- by East Anglia, that odd part of England with a long violent history. THE NINE TAILORS is the best mystery I've ever read. It will appeal to those who like a literal case, but it will also appeal to those who sense that life itself is a mystery, and that even the greatest sleuth cannot solve it. I read the book, saw the original dramatization of the story, and then haunted by this incredible story, I traveled in East Anglia searching for the church. It does exist, and it contains one of the most beautifully carved interiors in England. Ultimately, the church provides Wimsey with many of the clues he needs to solve several mysteries. For there are several mysteries involving the theft of priceless jewels, betrayal, and murder. The question as always is whether or not these mysteries are related, and whether or not the same individual is responsible for all the evil deeds. I have been waiting a long time for the DVD and I am so glad ACORN finally is ready to release it."
The series complete at last
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 07/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The release by Acorn Media on two DVDs of the 5th Lord Peter Wimsey mystery adaptation, , brings to completion the series of Wimsey videos telecast back in the 70s and eagerly awaited for nearly three decades by devotees. This story stands in relation to the other four as "The Yeomen of the Guard" stands in relation to the other Gilbert & Sullivan works. Both are darker than the others, far more serious, and ironic where the others are paradoxical (not to say whimsical). Very much like the situation in the classic "Trent's Last Case," every one of Wimsey's assumptions in "Tailors" proves to be wrong. He is mistaken in the identity of the handless, faceless victim (as the viewer will probably guess anyway) but also in the identity of the killer, which he learns in a most unusually dramatic way--but more I cannot say without ruining it all. The feeling of life in a very small English community is beautifully brought across by the usual superb acting of even the most minor characters, especially the pretty postmistress. The plot, which is (face it) the most important feature of any mystery, is fairly convoluted but nothing as complicated as that of "Five Red Herrings" in which the whereabouts of several characters have to be kept in mind along with several train schedules. Here we know, for the most part, several things Wimsey does not; but not enough for us to be certain about the more important events. The question at the back of the murder is to what extent a person might be justified in committing a crime when the victim is evil and not committing it would lead to undeserved personal degradation. But again, I cannot reveal too much. Ian Carmichael is far less Bertie Woosterish in this episode, his Bunter (Glyn Houston) as Jeevish as ever without being comically so, and the local Reverend (Donald Eccles) for once not a sanctimonious bore. And so, now that we have all five sets, the first three only on tape but soon to be on DVD, the last two in both formats, allow me to recommend them in this order for those who have none yet: "Murder Must Advertise," "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club," "The Nine Tailors," "Clouds of Witness," and "Five Red Herrings." They are all very good indeed, so I am using a somewhat ambiguous "enjoyability" factor in my ordering of them."
They saved the best for last.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 07/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many viewers who have seen the various titles that have been filmed in the Lord Peter Wimsey series may be wondering how he met his manservant Bunter and how they formed their impressive partnership. Early in "The Nine Taylors" that mystery is solved as we watch Sargeant Bunter save the life of Captain Wimsey in the trenches in WWI. Later Bunter visits Lord Peter in London and hints that he would like to become Lord Peter's manservant. Bunter is far more than a servant in these stories, even though he understands his role as gentleman's gentleman and accepts it for what it is. In my opinion The Nine Taylors is one of Dorothy Sayers' best novels and the producers have been faithful in their adaptation of this mystery story. It is the also the best of the series which now is complete. Ian Carmichael is one of the reasons for the success of this series. He is the perfect Lord Peter. The English Monarchy might use him as a model for what a royal should be. His grace, charm, intelligence, and wit are always in the service of others and Carmichael brings out the nobility of the man who has not lost the common touch. Next, the producers are so lavish in their attention to detail that it seems like we have truly stepped through the looking glass into the world of the English gentry just after WWI. Nothing is overlooked and no expense is spared to recreate this lost time. Finally, the mystery is wonderfully intricate and complex and takes all of Lord Peter's keen observation and analytic powers to finally solve the case. "Brideshead Revisited" remains my choice as the finest television series ever made, but "The Nine Taylors" comes in a close second. This is television at its best and a special treat for a discerning audience."
Great British mystery but buyer beware
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 11/14/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love this series a lot and enjoyed the first half of this particular mystery however there was a problem with the disc. This is a two disc set and while the second disc is correctly marked, it is actually a duplicate of the first disc! This is obviously a mistake in the factory but it is highly frustrating since it happened not once, but twice. It's quite frustrating to be left on a cliff hanger and then have the second half of the mystery be unavailable. By all means, buy this wonderful mystery but note that there are some defective sets floating around. I have ordered my third set and hope to finally see the ending. All I can say is, Buyer Beware, check both discs right away so you can return it promptly if you need to."
meiringen | the Midwest | 08/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always liked this series with Ian Carmichael as Wimsey, and THE NINE TAILORS has always been my favorite. I am glad to see it on DVD, as my old videos are fading fast.Acorn Media took great care with the transfer of this title, and you'd never know it was originally shot back in 1974! It looks better than many of the recent transfers I've run across.The story adaptation is well-paced, Carmichael is marvelous as Wimsey, and the supporting cast (especially Houston as Bunter) are great, as well.If you have to buy one of these series as a first, even though it is out of order, buy THE NINE TAILORS. The background information on how Lord Peter and Bunter met, and how the story unfolds, is somewhat crucial to understanding the entire Wimsey/Bunter relationship.Bravo!"