Category Archives: Sayers, Dorothy L.

Piffle: Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

“If anybody ever marries you, it will be for the pleasure of hearing you talk piffle,” said Harriet, severely. Strong Poison was the first Peter Wimsey novel I ever read. It was the right one for me to start with, as it is the first one that features Harriet Vane, who is superb from the […]

“All of a Doo-Dah”: Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase

“Well, really, don’t you know.” Wimsey screwed his monocle more firmly into his eye. “Really, old fellow, you make me feel all of a doo-dah, what?” Do you have books you reach for when you’re feeling low, books you just know will cheer you up? For me, Have His Carcase is a sure thing when I need […]

“I Have Married England”: Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman’s Honeymoon,” Part II

Now for the things I don’t love about Busman’s Honeymoon. [If you missed it, Part I, “Love with Honour,” explains the things I do love.] Some of these I’ve always noticed, some stood out particularly on this reread; some are small irritations, and some make me uneasy that, in spite of them, I still love the book. In […]

“Love with Honour”: Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman’s Honeymoon (Part I)

I’ve written at length about my love for Gaudy Night, but I have never really tried to sort out my views on its sequel, Busman’s Honeymoon. As I have owned and loved Busman’s Honeymoon as long as I have Gaudy Night (I have them in matching editions, inscribed to me on my 13th birthday), I thought it would be […]

This Week in My Classes: Am I Making Excuses for Gaudy Night?

I’ve confessed here before that I can have trouble staying “objective and professorial” during discussions of Gaudy Night because I love the novel so much.  I have loved it pretty much since the first time I read it, which is a long time ago: my personal copy is from a 1978 edition, and though I can’t see any […]

Not Quite Cricket: Dorothy Sayers, Murder Must Advertise

Murder Must Advertise is my fourth favourite Dorothy Sayers novel, after Gaudy Night (first, of course!), Busman’s Honeymoon, and Strong Poison and Have His Carcase (tied at third, because though neither of them is as good as I could wish, both do have Harriet Vane, and that’s such a lot for any novel to have). […]

Barbara Reynolds, Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul

I finished Barbara Reynold’s biography of Dorothy Sayers this evening feeling as if I know a lot more about both Sayers’s life and her personality. I already knew a little bit of the biographical outline–Somerville, a child “out of wedlock,” a turn to religious writing, translations of Dante–but because in my life she has always […]

“The book I wanted to write”: Dorothy Sayers on Gaudy Night

I’ve been reading (and enjoying) Barbara Reynold’s biography of Dorothy L. Sayers. Much as I enjoy some of the other Peter Wimsey novels, it’s Gaudy Night that I love, so much that I’ve had trouble staying objective and professorial in seminar discussions with students who don’t get how completely fabulous it is (see? hardly dispassionate). […]

Boston by the Books

I’m back from a wonderful five days in Boston and it seems only fitting to post first (as I did following last year’s jaunt to New York) about the books that came home with me. It was a great bookish trip, thanks to the guidance but also the company of my co-editors at Open Letters […]

This Week in My Classes: Head and Heart

Both of my class readings for today focus on conflicts–real, assumed, or perceived–between the demands of the head and the demands of the heart. In Women and Detective Fiction, it was our first session on Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night. The novel opens as Harriet Vane revisits Oxford for her college’s Gaudy celebrations. She is pleased […]

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