Written in 1930 when British society was still and unapologetically class based, Waters makes her amateur detective both upper class titled and open and friendly with all classes. Yes he has a manservant, but the loyal Bunter is as much a friend and Watson-to-Wimsey's-Holmes as he is a Downstairs servant.
Sayers also gives her middle class characters strength and that modern sensibility that surprises. Harriet Vane, the mystery writer who was researching arsenic poisoning for her next book, finds herself arrested and charged with the murder of her live-in lover by the same method. While some spectators to the trial comment negatively on her living arrangement, Sayers treats her sympathetically, and when Wimsey takes an interest in Vane's case and then sets out to prove her innocence, he falls hard for the imprisoned author with no condemnation of her lifestyle and an admission that he too is not a paragon of purity.
Humor, wit, intelligence, and timing are more important than action or violence in Sayers's mysteries, and this story is no exception. When Wimsey unmasks the real murderer, he does so in his library over tea and brandy, and actually says "What-ho!" while doing it. Great light fun.
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