The other day (or month) hubby came home with an amazing book: Lord Peter: A Collection of All the Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers. I pounced. Literally. Snatching the book from his hands I exclaimed “Lord Peter Wimsey! Where did you find this?” It had been donated to the local book drop and he had chanced to see it. Thinking immediately of me and my disappointment with a recent more modern mystery series (I won’t name the author here, but she’s pretty popular right now), he thought this might be better, despite not being familiar with the author. I knew her name immediately, though (thus the pounce). What a treasure! And what a great time to put the kettle on to steep some tea to enjoy while reading!
Sayers is one of three female British mystery authors I love. Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and P.D. James have several things in common: they write/wrote world-renowned murder mysteries, are/were British, and look like they could/did bake up a nice batch of cookies…uh, I mean “biscuits” as they’re called in the UK. Their mysteries are hardly the soft-boiled grandmotherly kind. James is especially adept at creating visual images of victims in her novels. Sayers’ are a bit more toned down. In any event, these three rule the roost for British murder mysteries. At least as far as I’m concerned. Wimsey, Poirot, and D’Algliesh have their personal eccentricities, which seem to make them more adept at solving crimes. Humdrum folks seem too placid, too accepting of the obvious, too unable to “think outside the box.” A monocle, an excessively neat moustache, and a penchant for writing poetry aid each of these sleuthers in their sleuthing.
Maybe Sayers, Christie, and James thought up some of their plots while baking those cookies (biscuits). Maybe while waiting for the kettle to boil and the tea to steep. Whatever the case, it was certainly time well spent. And the novels and short stories also give us a view of British life during the time each author was writing (the career of each spanned decades).
The best thing is that they are all perfect tea time reading. Wimsey is especially so (quite whimsical, which might be why Sayers gave her character that name), guaranteed to keep you enthralled but not grossed out. So, put the kettle on, prep that teapot, and get ready for a lovely sitdown with Lord Peter Wimsey. Bunter, his man servant, will cater to your every whimsy as Wimsey solves one baffling case after another, each sure to leave you saying, “How clever! Another cuppa, Bunter.”
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