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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death comes to the office
Lord Peter Wimsey is one of the greatest of all fictional detectives and 'Murder Must Advertise' presents us with one of his most intriguing mysteries. Set in the confines of 1930's advertising agency, Pyms Publicity. Lord Peter is called in to investigate the death of copywriter Victor Dean.
Not only is the story first rate, with all the expected twists and turns,...
Published on 31 July 2002 by Mr. Robert Kelly

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder must advertise
Not a bad book but not a great one either. Far too long to get going and too elaborate with the story line
Published 13 months ago by NEALE


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death comes to the office, 31 July 2002
By 
Mr. Robert Kelly "robert_kelly" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
Lord Peter Wimsey is one of the greatest of all fictional detectives and 'Murder Must Advertise' presents us with one of his most intriguing mysteries. Set in the confines of 1930's advertising agency, Pyms Publicity. Lord Peter is called in to investigate the death of copywriter Victor Dean.
Not only is the story first rate, with all the expected twists and turns, but the atmosphere of the agency drawn from Sayer's own experience is vividly real. Sayers' was arguably the most complex of the pre war 'Queens of Crime' and this book certainly works on a number of levels. For those who are unfamiliar with either Sayers or Wimsey, this book makes an excellent introduction, and demonstrates why their popularity has persisted.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful sketch of 1930s English society, 18 April 2001
By 
Jess E. (Madison, WI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
One of my favourite Dorothy L Sayers novels (only to be topped by Five Red Herrings and The Nine Tailors), Murder Must Advertise is a clever mystery that takes you inside several layers of London society in the 1930s. It differs from Sayers' other novels in so far as our dectective, Lord Peter Wimsey, becomes part of the advertising agency he is investigating, instead of standing aloof from the situations, as he often does in his other novels. In fact, sole of the aspects I enjoy most about the novel are those related to Wimsey "playing" at being a copy writer. A fun read and a great twist at the end.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They start new copywriters at four quid a week--about enough to pay for a pair of your shoes.", 17 Jun 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
When Lord Peter Death Breden Wimsey, privately investigating the "accidental" death of an employee of an advertising firm, takes a copywriting job there, he raises curiosity among the female employees. Known on the job only as "Breden," he is regarded as "a cross between Ray Flynn and Bertie Wooster, " complete with silk socks and expensive shoes, and obviously not from the same background as the rest of the staff. Assigned to advertise Dairyfield's Margarine and "domestic" tea, he occupies the dead man's office, churning out slogans while poking into relationships and possible motivations for murder. He soon discovers that the dead man, with limited resources, actively participated in the drug culture of upperclass parties, though how he became involved is an open question.

Lord Peter, as aristocratic as his title would imply, is adventurous and imaginative, a man of action and intelligence who does not hesitate to get down and dirty if necessary (though he'd prefer not "too" dirty). With a "tongue that runs on ballbearings," he can talk his way into and out of almost any situation, and as an ad agency employee, he provides the reader with some terrific one-liners and quips as he tries to sell products. Author Dorothy Sayers, who worked in an advertising agency herself for seven years, brings the agency to life with all its petty infighting and cynicism, creating a vibrant environment in which Wimsey's familiar wordplay and cleverness can be highlighted during his investigation of the murder--and the gruesome murders which follow in its wake.

The author's total control is obvious as she carefully introduces quirky and memorable characters, provides Wimsey/Breden with a sounding board for his discoveries (his brother-in-law, a police superindendent), integrates him successfully into all levels of society, and creates a realistic picture of life in the 1930s--while keeping the reader completely engaged with the mystery and with Wimsey's shrewdness. The wordplay and dry humor throughout the novel are delightful, and the conclusion, in which Wimsey/Breden finds a unique way of bringing the investigation to a satisfying resolution comes as a surprise. Described on several Sayers web sites as the best of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, this novel is a classic--as entertaining now as it was when it was written in 1933. n Mary Whipple
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 10 May 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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This wonderful book is the eighth Peter Wimsey novel, published in 1933. Most of the action takes place in an advertising agency. Wimsey is asked for help by Pym's Publicity, a very respectable firm. (It is based, apparently, on a firm called S. H. Bensons, where Dorothy Sayers worked for some years. ) Victor Dean, an employee, fell down some stairs and died, leaving a half-finished letter to Pym's management suggesting wrongdoing at the firm.
Wimsey pretends to be an advertising copywriter and investigates the office staff. He turns out to be extremely good at the job and even develops a very successful advertising campaign. Is there anything this man cannot do?
He discovers that Dean was socially involved with posh cocaine users. They are linked, through a Major Milligan, with a cocaine-selling ring which is under investigation by Parker, Wimsey's brother-in-law, who is a senior policeman.
Needing to infiltrate the posh group, Wimsey dresses up as a masked harlequin, and by his amazing stunts, he gets the attention of Dian de Momerie, the group's leader. Once again, he proves himself incredibly gifted, a born athlete and acrobat, an ideal man. So he investigates both the group and the firm and, after many twists and turns of the plot, he solves the murder.
Dorothy Sayers wrote that she was merely filling in time while writing this book because she did not yet have enough information to write `The Nine Tailors.' She didn't think it was an entirely convincing story, because she did not know the drugs world at all. She knew the advertising world, though, and she makes that come very much alive. She was good at creating character, too, and she knew the upper crust world very well. I think this is a very successful and entertaining novel. As always with Sayers, whose books are much more than whodunnits, there is plenty to enjoy and think about. She is funny and erudite and writes telling phrases and little incidental comments which I find very enjoyable.
Dorothy L. Sayers worked in an advertising firm for seven years and she clearly enjoyed it very much. After leaving, she had an affair and a baby, a son whom she always described as her nephew and who was brought up by a cousin. Life was very different for her than it had been when she was a part of sophisticated London life. She depicts it with great affection.
Murder Must Advertise is one of my favourite Sayers novels. I love its humour and the picture of a way of life now gone but highly attractive in its way. A really good book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They start new copywriters at four quid a week--about enough to pay for a pair of your shoes.", 16 Dec 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
When Lord Peter Death Breden Wimsey, privately investigating the "accidental" death of an employee of an advertising firm, takes a copywriting job there, he raises curiosity among the female employees. Known on the job only as "Breden," he is regarded as "a cross between Ray Flynn and Bertie Wooster, " complete with silk socks and expensive shoes, and obviously not from the same background as the rest of the staff. Assigned to advertise Dairyfield's Margarine and "domestic" tea, he occupies the dead man's office, churning out slogans while poking into relationships and possible motivations for murder. He soon discovers that the dead man, with limited resources, actively participated in the drug culture of upperclass parties, though how he became involved is an open question.

Lord Peter, as aristocratic as his title would imply, is adventurous and imaginative, a man of action and intelligence who does not hesitate to get down and dirty if necessary (though he'd prefer not "too" dirty). With a "tongue that runs on ballbearings," he can talk his way into and out of almost any situation, and as an ad agency employee, he provides the reader with some terrific one-liners and quips as he tries to sell products. Author Dorothy Sayers, who worked in an advertising agency herself for seven years, brings the agency to life with all its petty infighting and cynicism, creating a vibrant environment in which Wimsey's familiar wordplay and cleverness can be highlighted during his investigation of the murder--and the gruesome murders which follow in its wake.

The author's total control is obvious as she carefully introduces quirky and memorable characters, provides Wimsey/Breden with a sounding board for his discoveries (his brother-in-law, a police superindendent), integrates him successfully into all levels of society, and creates a realistic picture of life in the 1930s--while keeping the reader completely engaged with the mystery and with Wimsey's shrewdness. The wordplay and dry humor throughout the novel are sheer delight, and the conclusion, in which Wimsey/Breden finds a unique way of bringing the investigation to a satisfying resolution comes as a surprise. Sometimes described as the best of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, this novel is a classic--as entertaining now as it was when it was written in 1933. Mary Whipple
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best read as light entertainment., 23 Jan 2004
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
Dorothy L Sayers’ detective fiction output was not large. From the total of eleven novels, two at least have never been regarded as highly by critics and readers as have the others. “Murder Must Advertise” is one of them.
Re-reading it recently, I decided that most of its weaknesses are less apparent if it is treated as a light entertainment. Why should I expect the scholarly Miss Sayers to always provide verisimilitude, evidence of thorough research and scientific investigation? It soon becomes clear, in this book, that the pukka, debonair Lord Peter Wimsey is highly unlikely to be doing a stint as an advertising copywriter, that he would be fool enough to dive from a great height into a fountain, and that a murder such as the one he is investigating could ever be committed.
Deciding not to take these things seriously, I enjoyed my time with the book, especially the description of Lord Peter Wimsey winning the cricket match for his advertising agency. It became impossible, however, at the end to regard the book as light entertainment. The tone changes. Miss Sayers is forced to meet the problem of dispensing justice to the killer, once identified. Her solution is heavy-handed.
Ah! well, many whodunits have disappointing endings. Approach this one as I have suggested, and you’ll enjoy most of it. Don’t expect Harriet Vane to feature, however. Dorothy L Sayers never mentions her by name, only referring to the woman in Lord Peter’s life who is being “deliberately excluded from these pages”.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, 16 Jan 2009
This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
Wimsey undercover; he adopts the name of Death Bredon, the persona of a mildly wealthy man seeking employment, and takes up a position as a copywriter at an advertising firm in order to Investigate Strange Goings On. He manages the second part perfectly well, of course, with a convoluted plot involving cocaine-smugglers, blackmail and murder emerging, but it's the first part that really makes the book. Wimsey turns out to have an unexpected flair for advertising, and his work and the office around him is a delight.

We get a beautifully-executed portrait of the politics of a small firm in the early 1930s, from the directors down to the Cockney messenger boys, with an intricate interplay of personalities. The industry itself is also well-shown - it's quite clear how the advertising system worked - and Wimsey's (and Sayers'!) ruminations on the grandiose pointlessness of it all fitted quite neatly with Galbraith's discussion of much the same thing yesterday. Likewise, the somewhat seedy world of the rich and lazy "bright young things" is brought out in sharp focus, and - a nice touch - deliberately sensationalised the one time we have it seen through the eyes of a quiet, respectable, normal narrator.

From the point of view of the series as a whole, it's interesting to see Peter working for once (he is quite proud of his "four honest quid a week"), and the two very passing references to Harriet Vane buried in the narrative caused me to sit up and laugh. This is almost the end, I think - one more before Gaudy Night - and I'm a little sorry I didn't try to read them in order.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great detective story, 30 July 2008
This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
I don't know how many times I've read this over the years and thoroughly enjoyed each read. I'm re-reading it again just now!

I have read most of Ms Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey output and consider this book to be one of her best. It's great fun when you know the book spotting the clues she drops in front of you and seeing how the author reaches the conclusion. It does have its dark side - this is one of the first detective novels surrounding the drug scene - and while certainly there are improbabilities the quality of the writing and the integrity of the book within itself outweigh these.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a really good detective story and enjoys working out the solution as they go. Unlike one or two other authors of the same period who always seem to select the least likely character and then make the story fit however unlikely, Dorothy L Sayers gives you all the clues so it's possible to work out whodunnit just by reading the story carefully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy doings at staid old Pymms, 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
A suspicious death at Pymm's Advertising Agency is just the start of it all. Something untoward is afoot, and the unseemly curiosity of the latest recruit to the copywriting team is stirring up more trouble than anyone suspected could exist in such a steady old firm.

I found that the joy of this novel was the vivid and totally convincing description of a 1930's advertising agency. The sights and sounds, the office etiquette, the different practicalities of working life 75 years ago are fascinating. And how little the unscrupulous advertising world has changed!

Yes, the murder itself is rather preposterous, but Peter Wimsey is his usual self - a rather buttoned-up, old school Englishman, but a charmer nonetheless. This story isn't the perfect murder mystery, but it is great fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inside story of advertising folk, 28 Dec 2009
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (Paperback)
If this is the first of Dorothy L Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novels you have read then you could be forgiven for being a little confused at the beginning. If you have read some of the other novels featuring the noble sleuth you will immediately identify Death Bredon as Peter Wimsey. He takes up employment at Pym's advertising agency at the request of the owner of the firm following the death of a member of staff - Victor Dean. Wimsey takes to the work like a duck to water and starts writing advertising copy for the princely sum of four pounds a week. As well as doing the job he starts ferreting around to try and find out whether Victor Dean's death was accident or murder.

The portrait of an advertising agency, from the messenger boys to the directors is excellent. Office politics and rivalries serve to muddy the waters of Wimsey's investigation. He gets involved with the bored and drug taking socialite Diane de Momerie, because the late Victor was a member of her sophisticated set, to try and find out what is going on amongst the glitterati. Masquerading as a masked harlequin and his own dissolute cousin, Wimsey ultimately puts himself in danger to unravel the mystery of Victor Dean's death and the connection of the fast set with Pym's Publicity.

There are some fascinating characters in the book from Ginger the messenger boy who wants to be a detective to the slightly pompous but good hearted Mr Pym himself. I loved the banter between the staff and clash of personalities which occurs in any office. While the mystery might be too complex to unravel before the intriguing denouement it is still a well written story. If you read it a second time you can see the clues are all there but most readers may well miss them. Perhaps it is not in the same class as 'Gaudy Night' or 'The Nine Tailors' but it is still worth reading.
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Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)
Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) by Dorothy L Sayers (Paperback - 1 Sep 1983)
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