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Re: Sayers

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  • Wyatt James
    Sayers is also far more liberal about sex than writers like Christie who skirt the subject often a very prim way. While her characters display some
    Message 1 of 22 , May 6, 2005
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      Sayers is also far more liberal about sex than writers like Christie
      who skirt the subject often a very prim way. While her characters
      display some characteristics that are very un-modern and dated by our
      standards, especially about what they used to call 'honor', they are
      at least as open about sex as we are (without the explicitness that is
      often too distracting in current detective stories).

      --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Wyatt James" <grobius@s...> wrote:
      > Since getting out of hospital, I have been re-reading the Dorothy
      > Sayers mysteries that I had put off for several years (having recalled
      > them as tediously dull). She is actually a much better writer than
      > that and most of her flaws relate to her romantic concern with Wimsey
      > and Vane, which at best is distracting from the detection and at worst
      > is really cloying. Her real forte, suprisingly (to me) is a comic
      > approach to character and situation, very typical of the Wodehouse
      > era; some of her writing is very funny indeed, even when Wimsey is
      > insufferable in his blitherings and his concern with proper menswear
      > for the occasion. The plot hooks are generally pretty good, if not
      > always classic (well, in fact, she invented some of the classic plot
      > features, which misleads one into thinking cliche, when in fact she
      > was a pioneer). On the other hand, she tends to be over-precise and
      > nit-picking, especially when it comes to breaking down alibis, etc. --
      > something GAD writers were often too obsessed with to maintain the
      > reader's interest during the dull middle bits of the story.
      >
      > Right now I'm reading "Murder Must Advertise" and "Five Red Herrings"
      > simultaneously (they are quite different in theme and approach),
      > having read all the others except for the maligned "Gaudy Night" that
      > I am saving for last.
    • MG4273@aol.com
      My favorite Sayers novels: Whose Body? The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Murder Must Advertise The Nine Tailors Still have not yet read Gaudy Night . I
      Message 2 of 22 , May 6, 2005
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        My favorite Sayers novels:
        Whose Body?
        The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
        Murder Must Advertise
        The Nine Tailors

        Still have not yet read "Gaudy Night".
        I also love many of Sayers' short tales, including the Montague Egg ones.
        Some of these are models of puzzle plot, fair play ingenuity. And they are
        endlessly colorful and inventive.

        Mike Grost
      • Wyatt James
        Good choice. PS. I ve had a surfeit of Sayers and have suspended reading Murder Must Advertise and Five Red Herrings for the time being. It got to the
        Message 3 of 22 , May 7, 2005
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          Good choice.

          PS. I've had a surfeit of Sayers and have suspended reading "Murder
          Must Advertise" and "Five Red Herrings" for the time being. It got to
          the point where I couldn't tell the difference between any of the
          characters, let alone keep track of what they were up to.

          --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:
          > My favorite Sayers novels:
          > Whose Body?
          > The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
          > Murder Must Advertise
          > The Nine Tailors
          >
          > Still have not yet read "Gaudy Night".
          > I also love many of Sayers' short tales, including the Montague Egg
          ones.
          > Some of these are models of puzzle plot, fair play ingenuity. And
          they are
          > endlessly colorful and inventive.
          >
          > Mike Grost
        • Nicholas Fuller
          The trouble with Red Herrings, of course, is that it doesn t have any characters - it s one of the very few purely Croftsian works complete with railway
          Message 4 of 22 , May 7, 2005
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            The trouble with Red Herrings, of course, is that it doesn't have any characters - it's one of the very few purely Croftsian works complete with railway timetables and unbreakable alibis that is vaguely entertaining - largely because Sayers is such a good writer and enthusiastic about her material in a way that Crofts never was. (When Crofts is enthusiastic, he descends into bathos - cf, or rather don't, The Cheyne Mystery, which concludes with the "Moral of the Book" in a way reminiscent of Victorian writers at their utmost worst.)

            From being someone who couldn't stick Sayers at any price (probably because I was too young - Innes and Sayers were two writers whose work I found obscure until I tried Lament for a Maker and Murder Must Advertise respectively at the age of sixteen), I've become a great Sayers fan, and like almost all her books except for Clouds of Witness, which is underwhelming. Busman's Honeymoon has a good locked room murder, but is rather soppy (and I prefer my Donne unadulterated). I think her first-class books are:

            Unnatural Death (fast-paced and almost thrillerish; good villainness and a really clever murder method - which has now been disproved?)
            The Documents in the Case (borrows Wilkie Collins's device of telling the story through letters; good characterisation and a really interesing philosophical discussion)
            Have His Carcase (a classic of the genre and the best of the Harriet Vanes - tide and time-tables, very clever bloody murder; only problem is the bits with the code are rather dull to a non-mathematician - I prefer Van Dine or Queen's musings on symbols and literary devices any day)
            Murder Must Advertise (splendid portrayal of an advertising agency and good use of the Bright Young Sinners)
            The Nine Tailors (goes without saying)
            Gaudy Night (if only university were as satisfying!)

            Reading too many books by an author can be very tiring - I nearly went off the detective story altogether after reading several decidedly sub-par humdrums (not that humdrums are bad - writers like the Coles, Connington, Rhode and Wade can produce sterling stuff, particularly the latter - but too many books relying on plot rather than characterisation and in which the solution is obvious from the beginning get very boring very quickly). This, of course, is one of the problems with reading authors in order of appearance - no doubt if I'd varied my detective diet (although I was reading only three a month out of a dozen or so books a month) I would have enjoyed them more. I think that Bailey and Christie (1920), Sayers (1923), Van Dine (1926), Allingham (1928), Mitchell, Punshon and Queen (1929) are the only first-rate writers of the 1920s; the rest are generally good second-raters at best, capable of producing the odd classic here and there but not with the steady batting order of
            the others. (Henry Wade comes very close, mind.) Happily I'm now into the late 1920s, when things begin to get really interesting! The 1930s are, I think, the really classic period of the detective story - the time when there were a lot of prolific authors experimenting with the detective story, not only with the technical details of alibi and method, but with its very structure and genre - above all, the time when the detective story became fun.

            Cheers,

            Nick


            "You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."




            ---------------------------------
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          • vegetableduck
            1. The Five Red Herrings (yes, the one everyone hates) 2. Have His Carcase (Yes, the other one everyone hates, except for the Harriet and Peter love spats) 3.
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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              1. The Five Red Herrings

              (yes, the one everyone hates)

              2. Have His Carcase

              (Yes, the other one everyone hates, except for the Harriet and Peter
              love spats)

              3. Strong Poison
              4. Murder Must Advertise
              5. Whose Body?

              CJE
            • Nicholas Fuller
              I think Have His Carcase is excellent.  The idea of the murderer s alibi coming unstuck is bloody ingenious - one of Sayers s most inspired ideas, and
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                I think Have His Carcase is excellent.  The idea of the murderer's alibi coming unstuck is bloody ingenious - one of Sayers's most inspired ideas, and brilliantly clued.  What I don't like is the Playfair cipher, which is far too mathematical and convoluted for me.














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              • refaust@ntlworld.com
                ... Not me, they re my favourite two as well :-) For me they re the perfect combination of the really complex puzzle plot, out Crofts ing F W Crofts with the
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                  On 9 Nov 2008, at 10:03, vegetableduck wrote:

                  > 1. The Five Red Herrings
                  >
                  > (yes, the one everyone hates)
                  >
                  > 2. Have His Carcase
                  >
                  > (Yes, the other one everyone hates, except for the Harriet and Peter
                  > love spats)
                  >


                  Not me, they're my favourite two as well :-) For me they're the perfect
                  combination of the really complex puzzle plot, out Crofts'ing F W
                  Crofts with the high quality writing that marked her later books.

                  R E Faust


                  > 3. Strong Poison
                  > 4. Murder Must Advertise
                  > 5. Whose Body?
                  >
                  > CJE
                  >
                  >
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • candle_lit
                  I always think it is funny because I read one with Harriet and Peter before going back and reading the earlier ones. I am not sure if I would have been such a
                  Message 8 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                    I always think it is funny because I read one with Harriet and Peter
                    before going back and reading the earlier ones. I am not sure if I
                    would have been such a big fan if I had started out with 'Whose Body'.

                    I guess I wish there were more with just Harriet since she was the
                    character I liked most in the series. I like that they were all
                    'intelligently written', I guess that is the phrase, and had
                    interesting plots.

                    Maria
                  • Jeffrey Marks
                    I didn t mind 5 Red Herrings, but I ended up reading it aloud because I struggled so with the accents. Jeff Jeffrey Marks www.jeffreymarks.com Check out my
                    Message 9 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                      I didn't mind 5 Red Herrings, but I ended up reading it aloud because I struggled so with the accents.

                      Jeff


                      Jeffrey Marks
                      www.jeffreymarks.com
                      Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of the month
                      Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
                      Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
                      Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- now out


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Carola Dunn
                      I enjoy all the Wimsey novels except--you ve guessed it--Five Red Herrings, where I simply can t be bothered to follow the details of train timetables. There s
                      Message 10 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                        I enjoy all the Wimsey novels except--you've guessed it--Five Red
                        Herrings, where I simply can't be bothered to follow the details of train
                        timetables.

                        There's one short story that is truly horrifying IMHO, The Incredible
                        Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey.

                        Carola
                        www.geocities.com/CarolaDunn/ Facebook
                        Daisy Dalrymple mysteries-England 1920s-hc,pb,audio,LP
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                      • refaust@ntlworld.com
                        There s an excellent full reading by Patrick Malahide which is well worth tracking down, His accents are excellent, much better than Ian Carmichael attempts at
                        Message 11 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                          There's an excellent full reading by Patrick Malahide which is well
                          worth tracking down, His accents are excellent, much better than Ian
                          Carmichael attempts at French in the 'Nine Tailors' audio book :-)

                          R E Faust


                          On 9 Nov 2008, at 21:19, Jeffrey Marks wrote:

                          > I didn't mind 5 Red Herrings, but I ended up reading it aloud because
                          > I struggled so with the accents.
                          >
                          > Jeff
                          >
                          > Jeffrey Marks
                          > www.jeffreymarks.com
                          > Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of
                          > the month
                          > Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
                          > Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
                          > Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- now out
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • vegetableduck
                          Oh, do you do that too? Thank goodness, I was afraid I was eccentric! ;) Yes, I think the Scots dialect is more challenging than the timetables! Curt ...
                          Message 12 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                            Oh, do you do that too? Thank goodness, I was afraid I was
                            eccentric! ;)

                            Yes, I think the Scots dialect is more challenging than the
                            timetables!

                            Curt

                            --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Jeffrey Marks <Jeffrmarks@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > I didn't mind 5 Red Herrings, but I ended up reading it aloud
                            because I struggled so with the accents.
                            >
                            > Jeff
                            >
                            >
                            > Jeffrey Marks
                            > www.jeffreymarks.com
                            > Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of
                            the month
                            > Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
                            > Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
                            > Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- now out
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                          • vegetableduck
                            Hooray! Yes, if you are a humdrum fancier, these Sayers books are manna. In the one she out-Crofts Crofts, in the other she out-Rhodes Rhode. It s interesting
                            Message 13 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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                              Hooray!

                              Yes, if you are a humdrum fancier, these Sayers books are manna. In
                              the one she out-Crofts Crofts, in the other she out-Rhodes Rhode.
                              It's interesting how they are considered the most "male" of
                              detective fiction writers, yet Sayers mastered their idiom
                              triumphantly.

                              I hated Herringas the first time I read it, but experience with
                              Crofts proved helpful.

                              I like mid-period Sayers best, though I have a soft spot for Whose
                              Body?, the first I read by her, appropriately enough (actually I
                              statrted Five Red Herrings and put it down unfinished for years).

                              I used to like The Documents in the Case, but liked less on
                              rereading.

                              With her later books to me she is writing herself out of the mystery
                              genre and into that of the straight novel, like P. D. James.

                              Curt



                              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, refaust@... wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > On 9 Nov 2008, at 10:03, vegetableduck wrote:
                              >
                              > > 1. The Five Red Herrings
                              > >
                              > > (yes, the one everyone hates)
                              > >
                              > > 2. Have His Carcase
                              > >
                              > > (Yes, the other one everyone hates, except for the Harriet and
                              Peter
                              > > love spats)
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              > Not me, they're my favourite two as well :-) For me they're the
                              perfect
                              > combination of the really complex puzzle plot, out Crofts'ing F W
                              > Crofts with the high quality writing that marked her later books.
                              >
                              > R E Faust
                              >
                              >
                              > > 3. Strong Poison
                              > > 4. Murder Must Advertise
                              > > 5. Whose Body?
                              > >
                              > > CJE
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • Nicholas Fuller
                              Clouds of Witness is Sayers doing Doyle - lots of physical sleuthing (tyre tracks and footprints), Wimsey getting lost on the Grimpen Mire, and a vengeful
                              Message 14 of 22 , Nov 11, 2008
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                                Clouds of Witness is Sayers doing Doyle - lots of physical sleuthing (tyre tracks and footprints), Wimsey getting lost on the Grimpen Mire, and a vengeful farmer with an unfortunate wife.
                                 
                                Bellona Club is Sayers doing Freeman - analyses of dust, Bunter doing his best impersonation of Polton, and a central situation (confusion over a will and the deaths of a brother and a wealthy sister) which is practically identical to that in 31, New Inn.

                                I don't think, though, that Documents in the Case is Sayers doing LT Meade!














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                              • Nicholas Fuller
                                What about Gladys Mitchell?  She has one story written entirely in dialect ( Juniper Gammon , from memory).  Lots of Scottish dialect in My Father Sleeps,
                                Message 15 of 22 , Nov 11, 2008
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                                  What about Gladys Mitchell?  She has one story written entirely in dialect ("Juniper Gammon", from memory).  Lots of Scottish dialect in My Father Sleeps, which prompted the TLS to remark:
                                  What is most pleasing about the author’s admirable style is the dialogue.  She ought to write a book on local peculiarities of speech in the British Isles.















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                                • Sandy Kozinn
                                  ... All the Sayers novels have references to Sherlock Holmes, either direct (the name, quotes) or indirect (catch phrases, situations). Most, but not all, of
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Nov 11, 2008
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                                    >Clouds of Witness is Sayers doing Doyle

                                    All the Sayers novels have references to Sherlock Holmes, either
                                    direct (the name, quotes) or indirect (catch phrases,
                                    situations). Most, but not all, of the short stories do as well.

                                    There are, quite literally, hundreds of such references, but then
                                    Sayers was very fond of the Holmes stories, being among the first to
                                    comment upon them and to enjoy doing so.

                                    Sandy
                                  • Henrique Valle
                                    This thread has set me on a re-reading of all DLS short-stories (in fact, the pile of GAD recommended books is up and running). One aspect I wasn t fully aware
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Nov 12, 2008
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                                      This thread has set me on a re-reading of all DLS short-stories (in fact, the pile of GAD recommended books is up and running). One aspect I wasn't fully aware of until now is the heavy influence of G.K. Chesterton in DLS writing. Among the short-stories I've already re-read, the most blatant cases are perhaps "The man with copper fingers" (the beginning could *almost* have been written by GKC and) and "The man in the mirror" (very Chestertonian plot elements).
                                      Henrique Valle



                                      ________________________________
                                      From: Sandy Kozinn <skozinn@...>
                                      To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:55:54 PM
                                      Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Re: Sayers



                                      >Clouds of Witness is Sayers doing Doyle

                                      All the Sayers novels have references to Sherlock Holmes, either
                                      direct (the name, quotes) or indirect (catch phrases,
                                      situations). Most, but not all, of the short stories do as well.

                                      There are, quite literally, hundreds of such references, but then
                                      Sayers was very fond of the Holmes stories, being among the first to
                                      comment upon them and to enjoy doing so.

                                      Sandy






                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Henrique Valle
                                      In my previous email I meant to write The image in the mirror instead of The man in the mirror Henrique ________________________________ From: Henrique
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Nov 12, 2008
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                                        In my previous email I meant to write "The image in the mirror" instead of "The man in the mirror"
                                        Henrique



                                        ________________________________
                                        From: Henrique Valle <vallehenrique@...>
                                        To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                                        Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 4:55:09 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Re: Sayers


                                        This thread has set me on a re-reading of all DLS short-stories (in fact, the pile of GAD recommended books is up and running). One aspect I wasn't fully aware of until now is the heavy influence of G.K. Chesterton in DLS writing. Among the short-stories I've already re-read, the most blatant cases are perhaps "The man with copper fingers" (the beginning could *almost* have been written by GKC and) and "The man in the mirror" (very Chestertonian plot elements).
                                        Henrique Valle

                                        ____________ _________ _________ __
                                        From: Sandy Kozinn <skozinn@optonline. net>
                                        To: GAdetection@ yahoogroups. com
                                        Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:55:54 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Re: Sayers

                                        >Clouds of Witness is Sayers doing Doyle

                                        All the Sayers novels have references to Sherlock Holmes, either
                                        direct (the name, quotes) or indirect (catch phrases,
                                        situations). Most, but not all, of the short stories do as well.

                                        There are, quite literally, hundreds of such references, but then
                                        Sayers was very fond of the Holmes stories, being among the first to
                                        comment upon them and to enjoy doing so.

                                        Sandy

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                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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