On Our Bookshelves:
Gaudy Night

NOVEL: Gaudy Night

AUTHOR: Dorothy L. Sayers



Completists won’t want to start this series midstream, so they can begin with Whose Body?  if they must.  But it isn’t nearly so good.

To my mind, this is Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane at their absolute best, in his tenth appearance, and her third. The gentleman sleuth and the mystery novelist with a complicated personal life team up here to investigate a series of unfortunate events and cruel pranks at a women’s college at Oxford, trying to avert a scandal, or even worse, a murder.  They also resolve their own relationship, after they’ve settled the ghastly and scurrilous matters at the college.

Although today she’s known best as Wimsey’s creator, Sayers was also an accomplished essayist and scholar, a translator of Dante, and a theologian of some repute.  Her erudition shows: this 1936 novel is full of quotations, literary references, advocacy for women’s education, and even criticism of Nazi doctrine.  Don’t let the serious themes alarm you, though…it’s a delight to read.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): Four-and-a-half Whistles




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Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

Longbourn, Jo Baker

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, Saki

Up At The Villa, W. Somerset Maugham


Art Courtesy of photocreative/Shutterstock.com


Laura LaVelle can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com