Review: Busman’s Honeymoon

Busman's Honeymoon is the last of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, and it's an odd book. In fact, it's three books in one, each with a distinctly different tone.The first book is an extended epistolary novel concerning Lord Peter's nuptials with Harriet Vane, in which we get to hear from everyone involved (and many who are not), from Lord Peter's delightful mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, to Lord Peter's egregious sister-in-law, the current Duchess of Denver; it's all … [Read more...]

Review: Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers

In Gaudy Night, the penultimate Peter Wimsey novel, Sayers returns her attention to Lord Peter's beloved Harriet Vane—almost to the exclusion of Peter himself. As with Have His Carcase, I first read this under the influence of SRDS (Sleuthly Romance Derangement Syndrome); which is to say, I first read it in order to find out what happens to Lord Peter and Harriet, rather than to enjoy the mystery. On that first reading I found it long, confusing, and full of all manner of extraneous hoohaw t … [Read more...]

Review: The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy Sayers

The next of Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries is The Nine Tailors, which I enjoyed thoroughly this time around, and more than the first time I read it. And the most interesting thing about it is that the mystery is the least interesting thing about it.Lord Peter is traveling through the Fen Country on New Year's Eve, and has a flat tire in the snow; and once rescued by the vicar of Fenchurch St. Paul finds himself dragooned to spend the night ringing bells. It seems that one of the … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: The Great Nutrax Row

IT WAS ON THE Friday of the week in which all these stirring incidents occurred that Pym’s Publicity, Ltd. became convulsed by the Great Nutrax Row, which shook the whole office from the highest to the lowest, turned the peaceful premises into an armed camp and very nearly ruined the Staff Cricket Match against Brotherhood’s, Ltd.— Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must AdvertiseHorrors! Not the Staff Cricket Match! Something about this passage just makes me happy. … [Read more...]

Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy Sayers

Unlike the last couple of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels, about which I had mixed feelings, I returned to Murder Must Advertise with no qualms and great anticipation of pleasure—and I was not disappointed. As the tale begins, a man named Death Bredon takes a job as a copywriter at an advertising agency called Pym's Publicity. We, of course, recognize him immediately: Lord Peter's full name is Peter Death Bredon Wimsey. An employee of the firm has died, falling down a steep spiral staircase, … [Read more...]

Have His Carcase, by Dorothy Sayers

The next of Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries is Have His Carcase; it is also the second which involves mystery novelist Harriet Vane, the first being Strong Poison.This is one of the first few Wimsey novels I read, very shortly after Strong Poison, and while there were bits I liked I'm afraid I found it long, tedious, and confusing. Consequently, I was surprised and pleased to find the book completely entertaining on this go round.Harriet Vane is out on a walking tour of the … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Solitary Rocks

A solitary rock is always attractive. All right-minded people feel an overwhelming desire to scale and sit upon it.— Dorothy Sayers, Have His Carcase. … [Read more...]

The Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy Sayers

In Galloway, according to Dorothy Sayers, everyone either fishes or paints or both. This is her introduction to The Five Red Herrings, a fiendish mystery novel involving seven painters and fishers, one of whom is dead, one of whom killed him, and five of whom didn't. All six of the living painters have alibis, one of which needs to be broken. There are a great deal of cars and trains and bicycles—oh, the bicycles—, far too many train schedules, and a great many investigators, only one of whom … [Read more...]

Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey series takes an abrupt left turn with the fifth book, Strong Poison. Detective novelist Harriet Vane is on trial for the murder of her lover by arsenical poisoning. She had opportunity; they had been lovers. She had motive; she'd left him due to something he'd done. And she has know-how: she's just written a novel involving arsenical poisoning, and is known to have had possession of some arsenic. Lord Peter, on the other hand is not so sure. It might have been … [Read more...]