Sunday, 15 July 2007

Dorothy L. Sayers, Nine Tailors (Gollancz, 1934)

It is with a little embarrassment that I admit to reading only now the crime fiction of Dorothy Sayers. It was with her work on Dante that I was first acquainted, and only later saw that she was a such an accomplished crime novelist. The novel I started with is a late one in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and it is a very enjoyable read. The prose is getting a little creaky, and Wimsey himself is a funny character and not entirely one that you can believe or sympathize with. However, the story is marvellous, and its dénouement reminds me a lot of Murder on the Orient Express, only a little better because it's more shocking in many ways. Having spend a very short time ringing bells once in Dublin I was totally absorbed in all the bell stuff, and you've got to be to enjoy the book. The story is also very complicated, which requires immense skill to keep control of, to prevent it from dissolving. I shall certainly read soon Murder Must Advertise and Gaudy Night. And it was with delight and shock with equal measure that I read about her work as a copywriter on the Toucan Guinness adverts. I'll never drink a pint the same way again.

Also just read another of the Jonathan Argyll series by Iain Pears, Giotto's Hand (HarperCollins, 1994). I find these very enjoyable, though they are very light and frothy things. Great for a lazy Sunday when you're not in the mood for the papers and you've had a late night. Next on my list is Dibdin's last, and that will get a review certainly.

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