Gaudy Night (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) Paperback – 1 Mar 1987
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She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit. (P. D. James)
D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers. (E. C. Bentley Daily Telegraph)
I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail. (Ruth Rendell)
A truly great storyteller. (Minette Walters)
The classic British detective series featuring amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"It would be idle to deny that the city and University of Oxford (in aeternum floreant) do actually exist...." But, "Shrewsbury College, with its dons, students and scouts, is entirely imaginary; nor are the distressing events described as taking place within its wall founded upon any events that have ever occurred anywhere. Detective-story writers are obliged by their disagreeable profession to invent startling and unpleasant incidents and people, and are (I presume) at liberty to imagine what might happen if such incidents and people were to intrude upon the life of an innocent and well-ordered community.... Certain apologies are, however, due from me: first to the University of Oxford, for having presented it ... with a college of 150 women students, in excess of the limit ordained by statute. Next, and with deep humility, to Balliol College--not only for having saddled it with so wayward an alumnus as Peter Wimsey, but also for my monstrous impertinence in having erected Shrewsbury College upon its spacious and sacred cricket-ground."
That passage will give you a feeling for Sayers' rather grand, even lofty (by detective story standards, anyway) prose style, as well as the tongue-in-cheek, in-your-eye amusement that lurks behind her formal persona.
When I first encountered Sayers and fell into a binge of reading her works, I was a teenager. With the breezy assurance of that age, I confidently ranked "Gaudy Night" as her feeblest work and "The Nine Tailors"--or maybe "Murder Must Advertise" as her best. If anyone at the time had asked me why I had done so, I would have pointed out that the mystery element was only a strand among many in "Gaudy Night," and far from the most important one.Read more ›
Not only is this a fantastic crime novel it is also one of the best philosophical novels Sayers wrote. If you have any interest in Wimsey, in womens position in society or in the movement of women into academia this book is definitly for you! The suspense is gripping, will Harriet's heart over rule her head? Can a women have both a career and a meaningful relationship based on honesty? For perhaps the first time this writer has shown that the solving of the crime is not the end of the story, there are always consequences. Without a doubt this is one of the best books Sayers ever wrote.
Set in a fictitious Oxford College - Shrewsbury - the story features an outbreak of graffiti and poison pen letters sent to students and staff at the college. Shrewsbury is Harriet Vane's alma mater and she is asked to try and help the dons unravel the mystery. Harriet returns to Oxford to attend the college Gaudy (reunion) and finds no one pays attention to her own chequered past (see `Strong Poison'). When she receives an unpleasant anonymous letter the thing becomes personal and she feel compelled to get involved.
There is tension around the issue of married women not putting their jobs before their families and much ill feeling between certain members of the college on this issue. Should women have careers or should they have families? Can they have both and do both well? There are examples, good and bad, of all situations in the novel. Truth and honesty are also philosophical questions which are involved in the story. Should people be punished for suppressing facts which interfere with their theories especially if the punishment adversely affects their dependents?
Relationships between men and women and the proper basis for these are also explored. Harriet values honesty in herself and others and does not see her role in society as looking after a man and bringing up his children. Should women always put their husband and children first?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First of all I should say that the book should have five stars. I have to give this Kindle edition four because it's full of typos; as another reviewer says, sloppy... Read morePublished 3 days ago by SALLY KATE
Enjoying the story so far but irritated by the number of misprints in the Kindle version, some easy to guess, others less so, and quite often bad punctuation.Published 28 days ago by Mrs. B. Hughes
I read this as a teen and found it hard going, now I'm a woman of a certain age it's very thought provoking and interesting. Great book.Published 4 months ago by Frankie10
One of my all time favourite detective series. Gentle, humorous but with a bite. The supposedly effete Wimsey, aided by the ineffable Bunter are unbeatable.Published 4 months ago by Mr. Eric Smith
The scanned book has appalling spelling mistakes. It spoils the book and this edition should be removed.Published 5 months ago by Poppy55
Very enjoyable with plenty of twists and turns while capturing the atmosphere of academic Oxford in the twenties and thirties.Published 5 months ago by JohnF
There are, first and foremost lots of typo's in this kindle edition, which the publisher should address. Gaudy Night, is a little cumbersome and wordy for modern readers. Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Brain
The book is a classic, and I will not comment on it, since it does deserve its place in the timeless masterpieces. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dilane