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Dorothy L. Sayers Paperback – July 23, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060084615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060084615
  • ASIN: 0060084618
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers was born in 1893. She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University, and later she became a copywriter at an ad agency. In 1923 she published her first novel featuring the aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey, who became one of the world's most popular fictional heroes. She died in 1957.


More About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was a playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries, best known for her books starring the gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Born in Oxford, England, Sayers, whose father was a reverend, grew up in the Bluntisham rectory and won a scholarship to Oxford University where she studied modern languages and worked at the publishing house Blackwell's, which published her first book of poetry in 1916.

Years later, working as an advertising copywriter, Sayers began work on Whose Body?, a mystery novel featuring dapper detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Over the next two decades, Sayers published ten more Wimsey novels and several short stories, crafting a character whose complexity was unusual for the mystery novels of the time.

In 1936, Sayers brought Lord Peter Wimsey to the stage in a production of Busman's Honeymoon, a story which she would publish as a novel the following year. The play was so successful that she gave up mystery writing to focus on the stage, producing a series of religious works culminating in The Man Born to Be King (1941) a radio drama about the life of Jesus.

She also wrote theological essays and criticism during and after World War II, and in 1949 published the first volume of a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (which she considered to be her best work).

Dorothy Sayers died of a heart attack in 1957.

Customer Reviews

Lots of fun to read and guess along.
Tara Chklovski
I read several of the stories along with my son so that we could discuss them, the characters, etc. but never finished the book.
MWCraft
Her characters are more interesting, and her writing more graceful.
Nick Morgan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tara Chklovski on March 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This one is a real gem ! It has one section devoted to non-Lord-Peter-Wimsey adventures and the stories are actually funny and have the most unexpected endings. Lots of fun to read and guess along. It also has the smart salesman, Montague Egg, running around in another section solving crimes. On the whole, a varied experience.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alexander W. Jech on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not a huge fan of mysteries; however, Sayers' writing in other fields, such as _The Mind of the Maker_, her book on writing, made me interested in investigating some of her mysteries. I began here rather than try to figure out which of the novels to begin with, and found the stories interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking (not to mention disturbing, from time to time). I didn't manage to complete the book before I had to return it to the library but I'm going to pick up a copy as soon as I can to read the rest of the stories. Sayers' prose sparkles and her wit is top-notch. The stories are awfully short but I'm willing to accept that for the quality of writing that Sayers' provides. Anyone looking for an introduction to Sayers or to mysteries could do a lot worse than this: indeed, I highly recommend this collection of stories to anyone interested in either of those things, or possessed of a cerebral bent. I rarely had the patience to try to solve some of her puzzles but I imagine that there are those who could get quite a bit out of them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Only Sometimes Clever on April 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Similar to another reviewer, my introduction to Sayers' works was through The Mind of the Maker. I tried to pick up her fiction at the time, but, as a 19yo college student, just couldn't get "into" it. Now that 15 years have added appreciation beyond standard quick-read bestseller-type mystery books, I recently thought I'd try Sayers again, starting with this book. I was very pleasantly satisfied with the book. As each section, with stories centering around its own investigator, came to an end, I found myself wanting more. Satisfied-but-wanting-more is a good place for an author to leave a reader, in my opinion.

Sayers is witty and clever, trusting her readers to think for themselves, causing them to dig and think a bit for most of the answers, instead of just laying it out. She's also decidedly English, which may be off-putting to some American readers, but in my opinion, only adds to the interest and charm.

I found almost all of the mysteries to be relevant, even in this era of CSI and Criminal Minds. Humanity and humor transcends innovation. It's rather like Jane Austen's novels are still worth a read, even though all her characters travel by horse, and we now use cars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KJ Hooten on October 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I heard that Agatha Christie said that her favorite mystery writer
was Dorothy L. Sayers, I avoided Sayers for years. You know the reason:
"You'll just LOVE her..." and you don't.
Then a Peter Wimsey story came on the radio. I listened. I took some books
out of the library; and was soon hooked for life.
I always liked Christie. I LOVE Sayers. Nice to know I was wrong. Nice to
be rewarded, anyway.
The only problem I have with Sayers is that she died and stopped writing; or
she stopped writing and died... Why do the best writers keep doing that?
The worst ones do too, but that is forgivable.
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37 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you're reading this, you don't need to know that Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series is great. You may want to know that this edition contains the same LPW stories as LORD PETER. Unfortunately, it doesn't contain THE WIMSEY PAPERS (BEING THE WAR-TIME LETTERS AND PAPERS OF THE WIMSEY FAMILY) published in THE SPECTATOR in weekly installments in 1939 and 1940. They're mentioned in Sandoe's intro. Perhaps Harper couldn't get the rights to print them.
This volume also doesn't contain THE WIMSEY FAMILY, highlights from the Wimsey family history written by C. W. Scott-Giles. Granted, it wasn't written by Sayers. However, it was published by Harper & Row and this "complete" edition was also published by Harper. Including THE WIMSEY FAMILY, which is OP and VHTF, would have made this edition a "must have" for LPW fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David R. Eastwood on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Dorothy L. Sayers was a brilliant, eccentric woman who wrote quirky mystery novels and short stories, edited three huge anthologies of crime stories (plus a much shorter anthology), and translated Dante's DIVINE COMEDY.

Although she could write Fair-Play Puzzle Stories the way her contemporary Agatha Christie usually did, with her short stories Sayers often wrote "mysteries" that have alternative formats that are very different. Chief among them is what can be called the "Premise Story," which is built around the disclosure of some unusual or even weird idea rather than around a normal beginning-to-end plot (for example, WHAT IF ... a murderer hides his victims inside metal and keeps them as "statues"? or WHAT IF ... spies impersonated Lord Peter Wimsey while Lord Peter impersonated someone else? or WHAT IF ... circumstances that SEEM to be a murder mystery turn out to be totally innocent? etc. etc). Such stories, which are akin to the formats of many science fiction works, can be serious or humorous, and Sayers was happy to provide many of these. Examples include "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste," "The Leopard Lady," "The Inspiration of Mr. Budd," "The Milk-Bottles," "Nebuchadnezzar," and many more.

Another format Sayers enjoyed using is what could be called the "Unsolvable Puzzler," where one or more solutions are presented, but there is no way for readers to determine which one (if any) is the correct one. Examples include "Blood Sacrifice," "The Cyprian Cat," "The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face," "Dilemma" (perhaps), and a few others.

On rare occasions, her "mystery" stories are built on the format of Heroic Fantasies or Heroic-Erotic Fantasies (daydreams on paper, akin to Ian Fleming's James Bond stories).
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