A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

Clouds of Witness 1
Murder Must Advertise 1
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club 1
Gaudy Night 1

A Bad Place To Start

Busman's Honeymoon 2
Nine Tailors 1
Five Red Herrings 1


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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Dorothy L. Sayers

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

sharonervin April 16th, 2007 02:03 PM PST

STRONG POISON is the first of the four-book Sayers series featuring Harriet Vane as Lord Peter Whimsey's love interest. I recommended it several years ago to my literary study group. Surprisingly, several of the women were not familiar with Sayers' work. Some critics hail her as the greatest mystery writer of the 20th century. Her methods of murder are unique. Other books in the Vane series are HAVE HIS CARCASE, GAUDY NIGHT and BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON. An old interview with Sayers indicated she was annoyed with the public's clamor for more of Harriet Vane after STRONG POISON. The article said she wrote the others rather grudgingly, after having done two more without Harriet. GAUDY NIGHT, which is my all-time favorite book, is almost entirely Harriet. Another news account said that every British soldier in WWII was given a copy of BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON to carry in his hip pocket. Sayers prefaced HONEYMOON by describing it as "A love story with detective interruptions." Her quirky sense of humor catches me off-guard throughout. I read her work again and again. After HONEYMOON, she began doing C.S. Lewis-type works, which apparently never caught on. She died in 1957. I was a kid and had not heard of her in 1957, but I'm pretty sure I felt her pass. I credit Harper, which re-issues her books periodically, for linking me to her. There is something about her thoughts that are terribly familiar. It's as if she speaks to me personally with no regard for time or distance. She may do the same for you.


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Lifted from the DLS Society website:

Dorothy Leigh Sayers: born at Oxford 1893, the only child of the Rev. Henry Sayers, a headmaster. Won a scholarship to Oxford; graduated with first class honours in modern languages. Worked in publishing and advertising.
In 1923 she published her first novel, Whose Body, which introduced Lord Peter Wimsey, her hero for fourteen volumes of novels and short stories. She also wrote four other novels in collaboration and two serial stories for broadcasting.

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