Tag Archives: Sayers

Unusual Characterization in “Whose Body?”

“His long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola” — Sayers, 1

“Mr. Alfred Thipps was a small, nervous man, whose flaxen hair was beginning to abandon the unequal struggle with destiny.” — Sayers, 4

Notes: unusual description of characters, comical details, metaphor, characterization, bold imagery used in peculiar ways. What is the reader supposed to make of these “first impressions” of these characters?

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.


“The secretary, a sandy-haired young man with a long chin and no eyebrows, silently did as he was requested. Lord Peter looked from the bald head of Mr. Milligan to the redhead of the secretary, hardened his heart and tried again” (Sayers 42).

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

Notes: Focused on what is physical.