Book Review: Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey #12) by Dorothy L. Sayers
“He has been about as protective as a can opener.”
Excellent. Best story of the series. Engaging plot and exposition. Sayers’ voice sounds more authentic when the point-of-view character is Harriet Vane, a writer of murder mysteries. Lord Peter has added depth, including a real purpose, the secrecy about which is also explained. The setting, a fictional woman’s college at Oxford, is drawn with perception.
“… mentally turning the incidents of the last hour into a scene in a book (as is the novelist’s unpleasant habit).”
The Lord Peter stories can be read in any order. If you read no other, read this one. However, if you do you will spoil the previous two stories in which Harriet vane appeared.
“You all believe in your hearts that we should abase ourselves before any woman who has fulfilled her animal functions.”
Sayers writes a striking feminist work in 1937, which explores several sides to issues of career, family and men. Some of the voices hark back to the nineteenth century, but some sound very twenty-first. Sayers includes bits of current culture, politics, even Hitler, which grounds the book in its age. Generational distinction also are not unique to our age.
“Learning and literature have a way of outlasting the civilization that made them.”
Sayers was a literary author, despite her choice of genre. Allusions to literature, history, philosophy and psychology abound.
“Everyone sneers at restrictions and demands freedom, till something annoying happens, then they demand angrily what has happened to discipline.”
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