A literary review by Miss Cuddlywumps
First, let me reassure you that no cats are harmed in this story. There are in fact no actual cats in the story, though there is a motorcycle with a “feline shriek” and a “voice like a pleased kitten.” (Dorothy L. Sayers enjoyed riding motorcycles and had an affair with a biker which resulted in the birth of her illegitimate son. But that is a whole other story.)
“The Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag” is a Lord Peter Wimsey story, and if for some unfortunate reason you are not already acquainted with Lord Peter, you probably will not enjoy the story quite as much as if you were. (Also, what is wrong with you? Please get yourself a copy of Whose Body? and begin an acquaintance with Lord Peter.)
The story opens with a thrilling motorcycle chase that ends when a constable steps into the road and signals the two riders to stop. We then learn that the second rider has been chasing the first in a well-meaning effort to return a “small, stout bag” he had seen fall from the back of the first motorcycle.
Things get interesting when a split seam reveals something rather gruesome inside the bag and both riders immediately claim complete ignorance of the bag’s contents. I will not tell you what the item is; just know that it is something you do not want to find when you open a strange bag.
Enter Lord Peter, who just happens to be searching for a similar bag, only the object of his search is filled with stolen jewels. This sounds at first like more confusion, but Lord Peter, because he is who he is and he does what he does, quickly puts the pieces together to understand what has happened.
“The Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag” is quick-paced short read, perfect for when you need a little shot of Wimsey, though if you are hoping for a story about a cat, you will be disappointed. You can find the story in the Dorothy L. Sayers mystery collection titled Lord Peter Views the Body.