Book Review: Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers (Four Stars)


Book Review: Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Four Stars

“I can believe a thing without understanding it.” “Your explanations are more incredible than the problem.”

Perhaps the best Lord Peter mystery yet. Opening the book in the point of view of a female mystery writer gives the story a verisimilitude wanting in previous Lord Peter works, even those featuring Harriet Vane. Her reflections on how this “real” mystery compares with her fictional ones gives the story extra substance. Her critique of detectives in general and Lord Peter in particular entertains.

“–the halcyon period between the self-tormenting exuberance of youth and the fretful carpe diem of approaching senility.”

Why only four stars? As the story progress, Vane is shoved to a supporting role. Too many recapitulations. Probably realistic, but boring.

“We’ll all be having a little white stone over us before long and it don’t matter so much how or when.”

Sayer’s eagerly displays local dialect again, to the detriment of readability. Many casual racial slurs at “dagos”, who seem much broader than people of Mediterranean origin.

“I suppose every man thinks he’s only got to go on being superior and any women will come trembling into his arms. It’s disgusting.”

Her 1930s take on women’s liberation, especially from the male perspective adds depth. “Return to womanliness” “On the basis of economic dependency”

“You’ve determined it should be murder.” “Well, suicide seems so dull.”

(Apologies for this binge on Lord Peter. Previous binges on Brother Cafael, Uthred, Kvothe, Elvis Cole, and Odd Thomas didn’t find their way into this blog.)