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First dip in Sayers waters

  • Jan 9, 2013
I added "anything by Dorothy Sayers" to my reading wish list based on my reading of Jacques Barzun's amazing From Dawn to Decadence (my best book of 2012).  Sayers was a multi-path genius of the first half of the 20th Century, responsible for short stories, poetry, and nonfiction essays and translations on religious and spiritual topics, in addition to her better-known series of murder mysteries.  I received this Lord Peter Wimsey mystery as a Christmas gift and found it a fun and fast diversion.

Amateur sleuth Lord Wimsey and his police friend Charles Parker are interrupted by a restaurant patron who overhears their discussion of a doctor's responsibility if he suspects foul play.  This unknown gentleman just happens to be a doctor with a tale from his own recent past that serves as the catalyst for this mystery.  From this casual beginning the story builds slowly at first, and rises to a classic and classy climax.

Along the way, the focus is on logic, conversations, relationships, and humor.  The murders (yes, from the simple suspicion arise a compound complex of crime) all take place off-camera but there is real danger and suspense in the resolution.  And Sayers is able to work in profound and humorous references to Dickens, Shakespeare, religion, and issues of gender (two pairs of female partners hint at female independence if not at subtle suggestions of lesbianism), and the towering genius of the still-recent Sherlock Holmes.

With this introduction I will continue to work my way through both the fiction and nonfiction entries in the Sayers catalog.

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January 09, 2013
Interesting perspectives!
About the reviewer
Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #36
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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"One of the greatest mystery story writers of this century." ----Los Angeles Times

"Suspense, wonderful plotting, first-rate detection." ----Cincinnati Enquirer
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