Gaudy Night PDF/EPUB ¼ Paperback

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


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    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 churchesRather 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 lifeThe 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 incidentI wish at this point I had read the book The Madwoman in the Attic so that I could give scholarly 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 was striking to meI’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 much devastating 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 my pedestrian brain I think I needed the Norton editionI 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 weddingbaby 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 showerbad 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