Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories



Er Stephen Fry with a monocle and Egg is a clever human version of Disney s Jiminy Cricket all eagerness and propriety The stories are all mysteries although some like The Abominable History of the Man with the Copper Fingers and The Cyprian Cat tend towards thriller others are puzzles like The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager s Will and there s hint of science fiction too in The Image in the Mirror and The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba There s an echo of GK Chesterton in The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran and one of Conan Doyle in The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach But Sayers isn t in any way erivative She s ingenious It s obvious reading through the stories that this is a writer who loved mystery fiction who studied it and who knew how to write for the best effect which includes building up and then neatly turning our expectations against us The introduction by American mystery critic James Sandoe gives a concise summary of Sayers and her life s work but it s through reading her stories that you see how Sayers Several Strangers develops as a writer moving through the academic style of the early Wimsey stories to the clever intricacies of plot and then finally on to the power of a sparser style There is only one negative about this collection itoesn t come in hardcover to endure repeated reading Terrific and surprising collection of stories The Lord Peter Wimsey stories make up about the first 23 of the book They re predictable only in that you know Wimsey is going to brilliantly put together the clues you Lillian Toos Little Book Of Feng Shui didn t even notice and solve the puzzle and that his reputation and position mean the authorities will give him respect and any help he might need The situations and the puzzles themselves are wonderfully varied Lots of fun to read theseThen there s a section of Montague Egg stories These were my favorites Egg is a traveling wine and spirits salesman they called them commercial travelers in England in thoseays apparently who runs into interesting mysteries in his travels sometimes accidentally and sometimes when he s curious and inserts himself into a situation because To serve the Public is the aim of every salesman worth the name He has an appropriate rhyme from the Salesman s Handbook for every occasion The salesman who will use his brains will spare himself a world of pains Discretion plays a major part in making up the salesman s art for truths that no one can believe are calculated to The Winter Warrior deceive and so on When there s nothing in the handbook Egg will make one up for himself The last group of stories are one offs and they re mucharker than the Wimseys and the Eggs There are stories told from the murderer s point of view stories about suspicion that oes or oesn t turn out to be justified and stories with a supernatural twist It s a bit like reading a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories followed by some Wodehouse and finished off with some I Toffees night noises don t know Poe or DuMaurier or Conrad The order is unsettling and I m glad I finished the book inaylight If I read these again I probably pepper the last group of stories in between some of the cheerful fare and make sure to end on a nice light Egg storyThey re all gems and as a bonus they give you a glimpse into England in the early twentieth century There are train trips and motoring jaunts public houses and inns newspapers and The Strand magazine flower shoes and follies And class privilege poverty bigotry and the aftereffects of war. Ce of pearls In the teeth of the evidence Absolutely elsewhere Striding folly The haunted policeman Talboys MONTAGUE EGG STORIES The poisoned ow '08 Sleuths on the scent Murder in the morning One too many Murder at Pentecost Maher shalal hashbaz A shot at goal Dirt cheap Bitter almonds False weight The professor's manuscript OTHER STORIES The man who knew how The fountain plays The milk bottles Dilemma An arrow o'er the house Scrawns Nebuchadnezzar The inspiration of Mr Budd Blood sacrifice Suspicion The leopard lady The Cyprian

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Dorothy Sayers is a fantastic mystery writer She presents wonderful characters with clever puzzles and often solves the mysteries with a bit of humor In this collection I preferred the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries He is by far her best character There are also several Montague Egg mysteries although I find him less entertaining The collection wraps up with a series of mysteries with no specific character leading them which makes you realize why she created Lord Peter I hadn t read much Sayers before this collection I certainly knew about the Lord Peter Whimsey stories and I knew that she s seen as one of the grandmasters of the classical genre but I hadn t waded into her work before This book makes a nice survey of it It encapsulates all the Whimsey stories that aren t novels all the Montague Egg traveling salesman of wine and spirits stories and a few others to boot A few thoughts The Whimsey stories are generally satisfying as character studies but not as mysteries for me Usually the mystery turns on some bit of tomfoolery or obscure knowledge that the reader couldn t or wouldn t happen on but the scenarios are enjoyable and The Covent Garden Ladies: The inspiration behind ITV show HARLOTS diverse By contrast the Monty Egg stories are much closer to being Fair Game mysteries and are thus enjoyable I also like the character of the genial liuor salesman who uotes extensively from The Salesman s Handbook The remaining stories in the collection often work on twists in the way that stories with continuing characters cannot These last operate much like Roald Dahl s interesting stories or perhaps some of the non supernatural stories from Alfred Hitchcock Presents All the novels give strong insight into the British culture of the 20th century Lord Peter s stories are consistently haunted by the war whichamaged so many of his peers including Whimsey himself The Egg stories also highlight the stratification of the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins different roles One moment in particular worked well when Egg turns on his lady of the house charm for an housekeeper realizing that the normal attitude he takes with servants won to for this lady I was also pleased to see at least two maybe three references to Dr Crippen the renouned wife murderer who tried to flee to America and was caught using Marconi s wireless Ever since I read Erik Laarsen s Thunderstruck I m startled by how often I see references to Crippen He s the Dahmer of his Flaunting, Extravagant Queen (French Revolution, day or perhaps the Scott PetersenA good set of stories I look forward to reading a couple Sayers novels at some point So much funI was given this for Christmas and I read a story or three at bedtime everyay until I was Pages From Bee Journal done That s how to read this book enjoy it a bit at a timeI often find that I can t get into short stories by writers whose novels I ve liked they re good ateveloping the plot slowly while acuainting you with the characters in full and short stories Stones of Witness don t have room for all that But I had nothing to worry about with Sayers in fact these stories were at times fun than some parts of her novels And it s not all because I was already familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey et al through the novels since there are plenty of excellent non Wimsey stories in this collection tooThe stories are from three collections publisheduring Sayers lifetime Lord Peter Views the Body Hangman s Holiday and In the Teeth of the Evidence Possibly there are also stories that are not from these books but I can t tell the one My Indian Kitchen disappointing lack in this edition is that of a list of credits or copyr. A sure treat for Dorothy L Sayers's legions of fans The Complete Stories is the ultimate collectible Thiselightfully gruesome collection captures all of Sayers's short stories in one volume The tantalizing puzzles and baffling cases will provide mystery lovers with a sumptuous feast of criminal oings and all those amusing and appalling things that happen on the way to the gallowsLORD PETER WIMSEY STORIES The abominable history of the man with copper fingers The entertaining espisode of the article in uestion The fascinating prob.

Ights There is a bibliographical essay at the beginning by James Sandoe which is useful if you re confused about the order of the Wimsey novels but barely seems to have been written for this particular volumeNearly half of the stories feature Lord Peter Wimsey the rest are either about Montague Egg another amateur etective whose regular employment is as a traveling salesman of fine wines or about nobody in particular While all the stories are mysteries this last section is mostly not etective stories the viewpoint character is often the criminal or the victim A few of these stories are as much horror as mysteryThere is such a satisfyingly large number of stories that of course some of them are bad My least favorite were The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey and Scrawns both of which create an atmosphere of horror through lurid escriptions of people who are ill or Fantasy Man disabled In the second of these the story turns out to be a critiue of this practice but the reader is still expected to buy into theescriptions at first and I resent being asked to The Flame Of Adventure do so The Incredible Elopement has the addedisadvantage of being set for plot purposes in a remote mountain village full of hopelessly superstitious and naive peasantsHowever I ll re read most of these stories with pleasure I enjoyed many of these stories but this took me a while to get through I had to renew it three times I m glad that I read it and really glad that I finally finished These really are superb Took me over a year to read alongside other things but well worth reading this nearly 800 page collection of short stories I think Lord Peter Whimsey and Montague Egg are my favourites I think I like Dorothy Sayers better as a short story writer than as a mystery novelist These shorts were really exceptional Most of the stories feature the eccentricities of beloved aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey then there is a good chunk of tales whose mysteries are put to rights by traveling wine salesman Montague Egg lastly there are some stand alone stories that are among the most excellent of the bunch What a treat for this lover of the British mystery For the most part lighthearted Lord Peter is charmingly flippant Monty Egg sincere and touching The final collection are miscellaneous mysteries and because they were not always told from the perspective of the etective instead sometimes from that of the murderer or the hunted were arker and psychologically gripping These last were particularly inventive where Sayers isplays her ability to keep fresh a theme no matter how many times she uses it My particular favorite for this reason was An Arrow O er the House I was astounded at her vast knowledge throughout of wines medicine herbology and particularly classical history and literature Despite my education in classics she freuently went well over my head This was my Sunday book for a long time and I will miss it I would love to read her novels someday Clever fun interesting short mysteries by a master of the genre Her characters are a elight the stories are Frog and the Treasure devious and the final twists are amazing A great book to read Dorothy L Sayers was a genius and if you read this the first complete collection of her short stories you will see what I mean The stories fall into three categories those that feature the voluble Lord Peter Wimsey those that feature eager travelling salesman Montague Egg and those that stand alone In my mind Wimsey is a younger blond. Lem of Uncle Meleager's will The fantastic horror of the cat in the bag The unprincipled affair of the practical joker The undignified melodrama of the bone of contention The vindictive story of the footsteps that ran The bibulous business of a matter of taste The learned adventure of theragon's head The piscatorial farce of the stolen stomach The unsolved puzzle of the man with no face The adventurous exploit of the cave of Ali Baba The image in the mirror The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey The ueen's suare The neckla.

Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author translator student of classical and modern languages and Christian humanistDorothy L Sayers is best known for her mysteries a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey However Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Co