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Murder Must Advertise: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) Paperback – December 2, 2014
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From the Back Cover
Dorothy L. Sayers classic tale of murder and scandal at a chic London advertising agency, featuring the dashing and brilliant Lord Peter Wimsey
When executive Victor Dean dies from a fall down the iron staircase at Pym's Publicity, a posh London ad agency, Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover to investigate. Before his tragic demise, the victim had tried to warn Mr. Pym, the firm's owner, about some scandalous behavior involving his employees.
Posing as a new copywriter, Wimsey discovers that Dean was part of an unsavory crowd at Pym's whose recreational habits link them to the criminal underworld. With time running out and the body count rising, Wimsey must rush to find the truth before his identity is discovered and a determined killer strikes again.
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.
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There's an enormous number of characters in this story, far more than most authors would attempt. It's a tribute to Sayers' talent that the reader can envision each one and keep them separate. The action throws unlikely characters together by accident, just like in real life, and those office politics were just as deadly in 1933 as they are in 2017!
The Harlequin is the only weak note. I get that Sayers needed a plot device to work in the villains, but it is an awkward element and never gets any less so.
While the world of advertising 100 years ago is somewhat dated to our eyes- it's also amazing how fresh it is! Sayers has a lot of fun with the ridiculous elements of the industry.
And, of course, there's a murder. And Lord Peter must go undercover as his wastrel distant relation, and get all caught up in things that are well below His Lordship's dignity- though Peter seems to be having a grand time.
I'd put it right up there with "Gaudy Night" as among Sayer's best.
More than a little tongue in cheek about the advertising business. Given Dorothy Sayers had first-hand experience of advertising, this is no surprise, including the comments about clients who are forever changing their minds, or deciding on irrational bases.
I must admit to re-reading this one recently because I remembered the cricket scene.
Just as Gaudy Night illuminates the world of university life at Oxford in an era long gone, so does this novel bring to life a business world quite different from today. This was the world of England between the two world wars, with a class system, but one that was disappearing. Drugs were seen as a problem, but really only a problem for the "fast crowd". It was written at the time, but today it still makes sense, because even the commonplace has been described.
Recommended if you like period murder mysteries, or if you are curious about the era.