Tag Archives: detective

“The Duchess was always of the greatest assistance to his hobby of criminal investigation, though she never alluded to it, and maintained a polite fiction of its non-existence.”

Sayers, Dorothy L. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1923. Print

Note: Refers to his own mother as “the duchess” distanced relationship, doesn’t really care about it/him? What is she really thinking? Is she just a busy-body or does she have ulterior motives?



Lord Peter’s Conciousness

“Ten to one he will overlook my trousers and mistake me for the undertaker. A grey suit, I fancy, neat but not gaudy, with a hat to tone, suits my other better self. Exit the amateur of first editions; new motive introduced by solo bassoon; enter Sherlock Holmes, disguised as a walking gentleman. There goes Bunter. Invaluable fellow— never offers to do his job when you’ve told him to do somethin’ else. Hope he doesn’t miss the ‘Four Sons of Aymon.’ Still, there is another copy of that— in the Vatican. It might become available, you never know—if the Church of Rome went to pot or Switzerland invaded Italy—whereas a strange corpse doesn’t turn up in a suburban bathroom more than once in a lifetime —at least, I should think not—at any rate, the number of times it’s happened, with a pince-nez, might be counted on the fingers of one hand, I imagine. Dear me! it’s a dreadful mistake to ride two hobbies at once” (4).

Sayers, Dorothy L. Whose Body? Mineola: Dover Publications, 1923. Print


Discovery of the Body

“The body which lay in the bath was that of a tall, stout man of about fifty. The hair, which was thick and black and naturally curly, had been cut and parted by a master hand, and exuded a faint violet perfume, perfectly recognisable in the close air of the bathroom. The features were thick, fleshy and strongly marked, with prominent dark eyes, and a long nose curving down to a heavy chin. The clean-shaven lips were full and sensual, and the dropped jaw showed teeth stained with tobacco. One the dead face the handsome pair of gold pince-nez mocked death with grotesque elegance; the fine gold chain curved over the naked breast. The legs lay stiffly stretched out side by side; the arms reposed close to the body; the fingers were flexed naturally.” (8)

Sayers, Dorothy, in Whose Body, Dover Editions, 2009

Well, it could have been burglars…

“…All I said was: ‘It might have been burglars,’ I said, ‘remember that, next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man,’ I said, ‘and that’s unpleasant enough, but next time it might be burglars,’ I said, ‘and all of us murdered in our beds.'” (6).

Note: the philosophy of “it could have been worse,” understatement, the idea of a dead body only being unpleasant.

Sayers, Dorothy L,. (2009). Whose body?. (p. 8). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, INC.

Nonsensical detective stories

“Then making the noise usually written ‘Tut-tut’…” (8)

Notes: Sayers writing about her own language, hypersensitivity & close attention to sounds, forces reader to become aware of these details

“‘Look here, Wimsey—you’ve been reading detective stories; you’re talking nonsense” (20).

Notes: draws attention to genre, is this story we’re reading ‘detective’? What makes it so? Characteristics? Rejects/downplays ‘detective’ genre as serious (“nonsense”), meta level of addressing own work

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? New York: Dover, 2009.