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Dorothy L. Sayers Locked Room Titles


Dorothy_L_Sayers_1928The daughter of an English clergyman, Dorothy Sayers was born at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford in 1893 and grew up in the rather pleasant rural parish of Bluntisham-cum-Earith in Huntingdonshire. In 1912 she won a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford, and later became one of the first women to receive a degree from Oxford. She worked for a time in advertising, lectured and wrote poetry, wrote several popular works on the Christian faith, and considered her translation of Dante to be her greatest achievement. As part of ‘The Socrates Club’ at Oxford, she was close friends with C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, while as a founding member of The Detection Club, she associated with most of the great authors of the Golden Age of British mystery fiction.

Her first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Whose Body?, was released in 1921, and proved to be immensely popular. This is where the story of Lord Peter begins, complete with his love of rare books, his struggle with shell shocked nerves, and his ambiguous feelings about the consequences of amateur sleuthing. It also introduces the Wimsey clan, his friend Inspector Parker, and the ever dependable Bunter.

Sayers’ writing has been criticized as both shallow and as popular work dressed up in literary pretensions. Dorothy Sayers died suddenly of a heart condition in 1957, never having returned to writing her Wimsey novels after the horrors of WWII convinced her that murder should not be trivialized in detective fiction.

(Edited from Wikipedia: Dorothy L. Sayers and other sources)

More on Dorothy L. Sayers (Wikipedia)

More on Dorothy L. Sayers (Gadetection)

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See all Lord Peter / Sayers titles at GoodMystery.com


Dorothy L. Sayers Locked Room Novels


Have his CarcaseHave His Carcase (1932)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey

 

 

Locked Room Review
*****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. Part of ‘Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries’ BBC TV series.

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Note: An impossible murder on the beach

Harriet Vane is on a hiking holiday near Wilvercombe, shortly after her acquittal, when she discovers the body of a man, with his throat slit and the blood still wet, lying on an isolated rock along the shore. No footprints mar the sand, except those of Harriet and the victim. She takes a few photos and preserves some evidence, before going for help, but the carcase is washed away long before the authorities arrive. Still resenting her indebtedness to Wimsey, she is reluctant to bring him into the case, but when the press alert Lord Peter, they finally join forces to investigate. The dead man is Paul Alexis, a resort dance partner, who is engaged to a foolish old widow, much to the displeasure of her son. The motive is not an issue, but the means and opportunity seem quite impossible in this variation of a locked room puzzle!

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Busmans HoneymoonBusman’s Honeymoon (1937)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey

 

 

Locked Room Review
*****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions. An early film version was disowned by Sayers. Not part of either TV series.

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Note: A locked room honeymoon!

Lord Peter and Harriet Vane have finally married and are spending their honeymoon at Talboys, an old farmhouse Lord Peter has bought for his new bride. They arrive to find a locked house that has not been made ready for their arrival, and the body of the former owner long dead in the cellar. An excellent locked room mystery with all the usual Sayers charm.

More on Busman’s Honeymoon


Dorothy L. Sayers Locked Room Short Stories


Hangman HolidayThe Necklace of Pearls (1933)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Collection: Hangman’s Holiday

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook and paperback editions. New Audible edition in June 2015. Hangman’s Holiday is available on-line as ‘A Treasury of Dorothy Sayers Stories’ at Gutenberg.

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Note: A precious necklace is missing!

Sir Septimus Shale loved christmas, which happily coincided with the birthday of his daughter, Margharita. Each year he had presented her with a perfect pearl, and this year he added the twenty-first pearl to the necklace! The country house party was busy celebrating with drawing room games, when the necklace suddenly went missing. As no one had left the area of the drawing room, the pearls could not have gone far, but were still missing after a very thorough search, leaving Lord Peter to solve the puzzle before they disappeared permanently and ruined the holiday. Not a proper locked room tale, listed by the French bibliographer Lacourbe, but not by Robert Adey – but still a great story with a classic solution to this impossible disappearance.

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Hangman HolidayThe Poisoned Dow ’08 (1933)
Series: Montague Egg
Collection: Hangman’s Holiday

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook and paperback editions. New Audible edition in June 2015. Hangman’s Holiday is available on-line as ‘A Treasury of Dorothy Sayers Stories’ at Gutenberg.

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Notes: A vintage locked room puzzle?

Montague Egg arrives at the home of Lord Borrodale, to find the police in charge. Lord Borrodale was found in his study, with the door locked from the inside and windows protected by burglarproof locks – dead due to nicotine poisoning added to a bottle of wine. The sealed bottle had been opened in front of Borrodale and no one, other than the victim, had the opportunity to add the poison. Egg finds an explanation for this seemingly impossible crime.

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Hangman HolidayThe Image in The Mirror (1933)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Collection: Hangman’s Holiday

 

Best Review
****

Available in ebook and paperback editions. New Audible edition in June 2015. Hangman’s Holiday is available on-line as ‘A Treasury of Dorothy Sayers Stories’ at Gutenberg.

Book  eBook  Audible   Amazon.ca

Note: An evil twin?

Not a true locked room puzzle, but it does deal with a seemingly impossible situation where a man appears to be committing crimes during blackouts. The solution is entirely unique, though based on a faulty theory which is no longer considered scientifically credible. Mirror image twins do exit, but this is a very rare occurrence, and not as near a certainty as described in the story.

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Striding FollyThe Haunted Policeman (1939)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Collection: Detection Medley (1939); Striding Folly (1972)

Best Review

****

Available in ebook, paperback & audible formats

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Note: The missing corpse!

On the very night that his first child, Bredon, is born, Wimsey is visited by a baffled constable who saw a dead body through a keyhole – only to have the corpse and the room entirely disappear by the time he gains access! 

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Striding FollyTalboys (1942)
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Collection: Striding Folly

 

Best Review
****
Available in ebook, paperback & audible formats

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Note: A peach of a puzzle!

The Whimsey’s are at Talboys when young Bredon lifts a couple of Mr. Puffet’s prize peaches on a dare. Apologies are offered and the situation is resolved – until the next morning when all the peaches are gone! This time it wasn’t Bredon – the peaches were stolen from a walled garden – without leaving a single footprint!

More on ‘Striding Folly’


Dorothy L. Sayers Bibliography


Good Mystery: Wimsey / Sayers Page


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