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The Great Dorothy L Sayers Is Considered By Many To Be The Premier Detective Novelist Of The Golden Age, And Her Dashing Sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, One Of Mystery Fiction S Most Enduring And Endearing Protagonists Acclaimed Author Ruth Rendell Has Expressed Her Admiration For Sayers S Work, Praising Her Great Fertility Of Invention, Ingenuity, And Wonderful Eye For Detail The Third Dorothy L Sayers Classic To Feature Mystery Writer Harriet Vane, Gaudy Night Is Now Back In Print With An Introduction By Elizabeth George, Herself A Crime Fiction Master Gaudy Night Takes Harriet And Her Paramour, Lord Peter, To Oxford University, Harriet S Alma Mater, For A Reunion, Only To Find Themselves The Targets Of A Nightmare Of Harassment And Mysterious, Murderous Threats Oh, my GOD, Dorothy L Sayers is quite the snob 2011 has been Mystery Year, it being when I started officially working as an attorney and having to read just to be entertained and this piece of crap made me want to swear off British whodunits forever Luckily, Dame Agatha and Ngaio Marsh still deliver The truth is, I like my mysteries to be about murders and this fricking bore was a crappy who sent those ghastly, tastleless anonymous letters affair No murders about, and by page 20 I was ready for the main character to be murdered in the bloodiest fashion imaginable. A couple of years ago I thought as a gesture to God saying something like, Hey, we don t disagree about everything and anyway what do I know about life that I would start going to a certain church where the pastor was an ex football star When I say it now it doesn t sound like a very good idea, but I did a lot of things at that time that sound stupid now Sometimes it s better to go with what you know, even if it s very little I say all of this because the ultimate falling out I had with the pastor of that church reflects the central conflict of the great and wonderful mystery story, Gaudy Night, so I m going to use this review as a venue to air my grievances, which will hopefully be entertaining enough that you can bear with me In fact, this book brings up a couple of stories I have about churches, so I should probably say as a disclaimer that Gaudy Night is not religious at all in its topic, but deals mostly with the role of women in society That just happens to be something about which I tend to get pissed off at churches.Rather than preaching topically, this football pastor had decided that the entire church which may not be fully of mega church size, but is by no means small would read through the Bible together in a year, like you do, and he would pull the sermons from our reading assignments On Mother s Day, we had just finished the book of Esther, so I was hopeful There are a lot of troubling things about Esther, but also some really fascinating things Also, it s about a woman, so there are many good ways you can go with that Nope I should have known he would skip Esther entirely only to pick a random section from Judges to illustrate his spiritual message, which, as far as I could tell, was that he really liked when his mom would scratch his back before bedtime when he was in high school, so women shouldn t work because they re silly and it takes away time they could devote to scratching their family s backs As the sermon went on, I felt sure there would be some kind of uprising in the congregation I was ready to get out my stash of pitchforks and torches and burn something down, but I didn t want to leave because I might miss the end of his message where I hoped he would reveal that he was faking us all out to prove some point or another His passion about the message culminated when he pulled out a quote from Some Woman, who is reputed to have said, If all women CEOs quit their jobs, men could feed their families I looked around, hoping to see the scores of other women in the audience who would be equally shocked and appalled rushing for the door, when suddenly there was cheering and a woman in the back of the church yelled, AMEN I don t think I ve ever felt so betrayed in my life.The redemptive Psych never came, so I drove home in a rage, pulled my copy of Backlash off its shelf, wrote a letter of complaint to the pastor in its inside cover, drove back to the church, and slammed it on the desk in his empty office He never acknowledged the incident.I wish, at this point, I had read the book The Madwoman in the Attic, so that I could givescholarly opinions about Gaudy Night From what I know of that line of analysis, Dorothy Sayers s villain in this novel, the poisen pen haunting the women of Oxford, is along the lines of the 19th century Madwoman think Jane Eyre She characterizes female sexuality, but also a loathing of female sexuality as castrating and destructive, so she is this horrifying repressed monster Grendel s Mother, maybe In Gaudy Night this character terrorizes the cloistered professors in the women s college at Oxford It really makes for a delightful read Sayers presents the varied personalities of the dons and students of the university with a lot of color and flair The fun and thoughtful discussion Dorothy Sayers presents in Gaudy Night on the topic of women being intelligent humans in their own right was vindicating and cathartic for me to read She illustrates both the freedom and the shame that successful women feel, and does it in this funny, charming, British way that I adore Harriet Vane is wonderful Sayers doesn t pretend that all women are in favor of having rights, nor does she pretend that we are all a bunch of catty bitches Some characters do become savage in their hatred of independent women, and those independent women become shrill in their suspicion of one another s virginity or sexuality Sayers shows these aspects as momentary weaknesses, however, which are secondary to the overall trust and regard that the women show each other They are not caricatures, but have their own flaws and charms I m making this sound like the whole story is purposeful critical analysis, which it may be, but it definitely comes off as natural within the overall mystery story I don t even usually like mysteries, and I don t have a sense of suspense, so it is surprising how much I love this book, but that s probably why the social aspect wasstriking to me.I m not fully with her in her use of classical quotations, which I take as an Oxford thing Lord Peter Whimsey makes his appearance to be useful, charming, and supplicating He doesn t appear to be an overly realistic character maybe too determinedly glad that Harriet is as smart as she is , but I am in favor of wonderful authors writing people as they wish them to be, if not as they are especially in the area of gender relations Also, I love the way Sayers explores how women think of themselves It would have been an unnecessary distraction to go into what men think of us It was muchdevastating to hear the woman shout Amen at the back of that church, than to hear the male pastor go on about how women are good at scratching backs and only that Anyway, I think I ve decided that maybe the use of classical quotations has to do with the battle of wits between Whimsey and Harriet, showing the equality of their intelligence and education I like that, even though it was frustrating for mypedestrian brain I think I needed the Norton edition.I was given this book at a housewarming shower , held for me by a really wonderful woman, who is the pastor of a subsequent church I attended Shower because I am over 25 and unmarried, and it is presumed that I would be sad that I haven t had any wedding baby showers Men were uninvited to the event, and the humorous theme of the shower was to give me books I would hate This made my friends who came a little stressed out because they know how much I love books, so they felt all this pressure contrary to the theme to get me books I would love that I hadn t read yet Also, to me, shower bad Other than stuff on my cat, I think this was the most successful book from that evening, and it actually makes all of the uncomfortable female judgment worth it I kind of love that this book was given to me in this really awkward event that only women were allowed to come to Even though the evening was pretty fun, and I really do love most of the women who came, the concept of the shower said so much about my failure in being an independent, educated woman This book has so much to say to the contrary I love irony. Book Review4 of 5 stars to Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers, a strong and talented writer of detective mysteries in their Golden Age of publication This was truly an excellent book Upon finishing my third year at college, I d taken all the required courses and a variety of electives to complete my double majors My advisors and professors, knowing I had an affinity for reading and writing mystery stories, encouraged me to do an independent study on this era of literature but they also told me I wouldn t be allowed to select any of the books I had to read She would pick two per month for me to read and discuss And this was one of the very first ones she was a big Dorothy Sayers fan and thought this was the author s most popular book Despite it being in the middle of a series, which I severely dislike, I read it without enjoying the prior installments And it turned out OK.Though it s hailed as a Lord Peter Wimsey book, it s really about Harriet Vane young wife accused and jailed for murdering her husband but she s been released when Wimsey proves her innocence And they begin their own little flirtation and romance Harriet goes on to be a writer and plans to visit her alma mater, a women s college in the 1930s what an intriguing concept Full of some feminism, some mystery, some romance, some education I loved it, even tho at times it was a little too eyes slanted down one s nose for my taste.The writing is fantastic The mystery is complex And it sabout proving false clues, sometimes revisiting them, but always applying sound logic Sayers helped pave the way for many future female authors of detective stories Christie is still my preference, but I thoroughly enjoyed Sayers approach and character creation If you enjoy 75 year old stories, give this one a chance It s really quite psychological and introspectiveAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators. Published in 1936, this 12th novel in the Lord Peter Wimsey Series is a big story Dorothy L Sayers created an entire women s college called Shrewsbury in the large complex known as Oxford University It is near an associate college called Queen s and also near Balliol College, which is where Lord Peter Wimsey attended his university years With Oxford University composed of 38 colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls, it is not difficult to imagine Ms Sayers invention taking its place easily among the others.Harriet Vane is invited to her class reunion, known as a Gaudy She has not gone before but decides to do so this time in answer to pleas from some of her former classmates She surprises herself by enjoying the time away from home and renewing relations with various dons, Fellows, and classmates At the end of Gaudy night, she finds an offensive drawing on the grounds of the Quad She also finds an ominous note in the rolled up sleeve of her gown.When she returns home, she dives back in to writing her most recent novel, which has been giving her trouble Then, she receives a letter from the Dean of Shrewsbury, Miss Martin, who tells her about some ominous incidents that have been occurring since Gaudy Night Poison Pen notes, things set on fire, random vandalism, and so forth The Dean asks if Harriet Vane has any idea what it might be about.Harriet responds that she will return to the College and see if she can do anything to help.This is where we receive a taste of academic life that would be nostalgic for those who had gone to University, and like entering a new and fascinating world for those who had not gone to University The discussions cover the gamut from literary topics to history to philosophy and science I was obliged to search out many topics and references on the computer and had some great adventures.Both a reminiscence and reminder for some people as much as it is a new adventure for others yet underlying the academia, we have this mystery who is causing all the turmoil and terrors and why The focus seems to be the Seniors Common Room, so even the Dean, Treasurer, Warden, Bursar, and other dons and Fellows in the group are under suspicion Gradually, as further incidents occur, Harriet is able to start eliminating suspects based on cast iron alibis, but it is a slow and laborious process Lord Peter is away on the continent Rome and Warsaw and as Harriet Vane progresses in her investigations, she documents the details in a notebook However, a couple of attempts to hurt or kill people are causing her to wonder if she is equal to the task of finding this person before it s too late After a fewfrightening incidents, Harriet decides she can t do this alone and persuades the Dean to allow her to contact her detecting friend for help.I love it when these books include both Lord Peter and Harriet Vane Their chemistry is fascinating and over the five years of their acquaintance, their individual personal growth is most closely observed when they are working on a mystery together.This book is not a fluff piece or even close to being a cozy mystery or classic mystery for that matter This book stretched and expanded my mind Dorothy L Sayers is in a class of her own intellectually, she doesn t hold back Psychologically and even scientifically, she is well ahead of the pack in both what she knows and how she writes Until I lost my bookmarks and annotations, I was going to end this review with a brilliant quote about women that made me question how far have we travelled really with feminism Keeping in mind that this book was written 83 years ago, the answer is not very far Or maybe Dorothy L Sayers and her own set of classmates were simply decades ahead of the rest of the world.