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Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Harriet Vane Collection (Strong Poison / Have His Carcase / Gaudy Night)

4.5 out of 5 stars 232 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries (DVD)

Three elegant murder mysteries adapted from the crime novels of Dorothy L. Sayers which chronicle the relationship of amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane unfolds in a realm of romance and intrigue. Includes the mysteries: "Strong Poison," "Have His Carcass" and "Gaudy Night."

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Three Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries involving amateur sleuth extraordinaire Lord Peter Wimsey and the lovely Harriet Vane are realized to perfection in these 1987 BBC adaptations. In Strong Poison, Harriet (Harriet Walter) is on trial for murder. Lord Peter (Edward Petherbridge) becomes enchanted by her and decides she cannot possibly be guilty. What follows are the twin stories of Lord Peter's search to find the real killer and his romantic pursuit of Harriet. Both are charming. As always, Sayers has plotted her story brilliantly, with a satisfying mystery and a sly comic touch (a gentle poke at the spiritualist movement is particularly fun). The period atmosphere is pulled off naturally and with close attention to detail, and the adaptation has a careful reverence for Sayers's novel. The performances are all remarkably strong. Petherbridge is perfect as Wimsey, revealing his brilliance and allowing him to be hopelessly in love without ever damaging his dignity. Walter plays Harriet with rich nuance, saying as much with her silences as she does with her lines, and Richard Morant is quietly fantastic as the remarkable Bunting.

Harriet, fresh from the trial, tries to get away from it all and ends up stumbling over a recently killed body in Have His Carcass. Unable to resist a crime (or, for that matter, Harriet), Lord Peter is soon on the case. In Gaudy Night, Lord Peter is still proposing at frequent intervals, and Harriet, though unable to say yes, is also unable to send Lord Peter entirely away. But enough with the romance. As Wimsey heads off for some foreign service work, Harriet visits her Oxford alma mater and lands smack in the middle of a poison-pen scandal. Harriet's status as a mystery writer, naturally, means she's the one who should investigate. Sayers clearly had fun writing this one, using Harriet to gently tweak her own profession, at the same time both parodying and defending the cloistered life at a women's college. --Ali Davis


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Petherbridge, Harriet Walter, Richard Morant
  • Directors: Christopher Hodson, Michael Simpson
  • Writers: Dorothy L. Sayers, Philip Broadley, Rosemary Anne Sisson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 513 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062XDX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,196 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Harriet Vane Collection (Strong Poison / Have His Carcase / Gaudy Night)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am unbelievably excited that this is finally to be released in DVD, or any format for that matter. This has been and probably always will be my favorite PBS series - my family has worn out two VHS taped-from-TV copies (It will be wonderful to have the picture match the sound again!)
The first two stories are reasonably faithful to the books, and although the "Gaudy Night" episodes are sort of a Dorothy Sayers Lite, they do make a good introduction for someone who is not familiar with the books. These episodes introduced me to Dorothy L. Sayers (my favorite author along with Jane Austen) and in that way, have greatly influenced my life.
The casting and the acting of these is perfection (thank you Edward Petherbridge, Harriet Walter, and Richard Morant!)- there is no cheekiness that bothers me about the Ian Carmichael versions of some of the other novels.
My only complaint is that they couldn't do "Busman's Honeymoon" for this series (someone in Hollywood wouldn't release the copyright - but have they done anything with it??? NO.)
HOORAY!!!
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This is the boxed set of three of the four mystery novels Dorothy Sayers wrote about her sleuth, Lord Peter Whimsey, and Harriet Vane, the mystery writer who eventually became his wife. These are the DVD's of the BBC productions of "Strong Poison," "Have His Carcase," and "Gaudy Night," starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter. Unfortunately, the BBC was unable to obtain permission to produce the final novel, "Busman's Honeymoon," much to our loss.
I have already written reviews of the individual performances separately, and will focus here on matters that affect the entire set. For reference, these performances cover the period from Wimsey's successful efforts to free Harriet from suspicions of murdering her lover to Peter's proposal to her at Oxford several years later.
Both of the stars of this series do remarkable work. Petherbridge is almost too perfect for the role, and has managed completely to supplant my own imagined version of Lord Peter completely. My only quibble is that he seems more a man in his fifties rather than the forties I thought was Wimsey's age. Since I am in my fifties myself, I found this quite easy to forgive. As for Walter's depiction of Harriet Vane, she really is exactly as she should be. Richard Morant's approach to Bunter, Lord Peter's man, is more problematic, being well acted, but not quite in character. As far as the lesser characters, the casting is, for the most part, impeccable. The few exceptions to this rule are still more than acceptable.
What makes the novels unique for their time is that Sayers wrote them are not simply as mystery stories with a romantic aspect.
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Format: DVD
I like both Lord Peter actors, Ian Carmichael puts the "whimsy" in Lord Peter Wimsey but Edward Petherbridge puts the 'Lord Peter' into his portrayal. Petherbridge reminds the reader that the character is fragile and was seriously shell-shocked during WWI and still suffers delayed stress syndrome -his meeting with Harriet Vane is painful and he is desperate to save her while keeping his arm's distance like a gentleman -at her request. Watching the tortured role played, one can't help thinking that his gentlemanly distance is kept more at his insecurity about his emotional stability. He is strong but is the strength his title and wealth? I think anyone who has read and loved her books will enjoy the intellectual challenge Petherbridge delivers. On another note, Dorothy L. Sayers married Arthur Fleming in 1926, contrary to another reviewer's claim that she never married. For a more complete bio: [...]
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
How wonderful that BBC has released this delightful trio on DVD. As a longtime Sayers fan -- and particularly of the Peter/Harriet books -- I dropped everything to absorb this series' first airing in 1987. Edward Petherbridge is so nearly a perfect Peter (just a bit too old; if only they'd shot these 10 years before with him instead of Ian Carmichael, Sayers enthusiasts all over the globe would have rejoiced). Harriet Walter's Harriet Vane is a bit less satisfying -- she gets Harriet's intelligence and wit quite well, but lacks some of the gravitas and intensity that comes across in the book -- as well as the lovely, deep voice that I keep wanting to hear (Emma Thompson comes to mind).
But physical quibbles aside, these films do get the developing relationship between Harriet and Peter -- the cautious probing of emotions hampered by nervous reserve on his part and defensiveness on hers.
Another strong plus is the casting of the supporting characters in each story. Each is wonderfully realized by the BBC "stable" of fine actors. The settings and period details are also dead on.
My only real disappointment in the set is the truncating of "Gaudy Night". Admittedly, this is the most complex of all Sayers' books. The numerous subplots, while perhaps seeming irrelevant to the casual reader, are actually an intricate counterpoint of encounters and relationships, each of which provides a vital piece to one of the two puzzles to be solved in this novel: how Harriet and Peter will resolve their personal dilemma or (much less important) who is sending obscene poison pen letters to the Shrewsbury College community. Unfortunately, the screenplay for this film version of "Gaudy Night" leaves out many of the subplots not relating to the mystery.
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