Thursday, January 26, 2023
Friday, January 13, 2023
Friday, December 30, 2022
Friday, December 23, 2022
Thursday, December 8, 2022
All of the story choices were quite good and most were more suspenseful than I was expecting. Because of my enormous love for all things related to John and Charles Wesley, I got a huge kick out of the mention of their family ghost in Edmund Crispin’s story.
In spite of the title, I would not classify this as a cozy read. I can only remember one story that was light-hearted. An example of the general tone of the stories can be found in this paragraph from “Cambric Tea.” Bevis Holroyd went angrily upstairs; he felt as if an invisible net was being dragged closely round him, something which, from being a cobweb, would become a cable; this air of mystery, of horror in the big house, this sly secretary, these watchful servants, the nervous village doctor ready to credit anything, the lovely agitated woman and the sinister sick man with his diabolic accusations, - a man Bevis had, from the first moment, hated – all these people in these dark surroundings affected the young man with a miasma of apprehension, gloom and dread.
This collection is part of the British Library Crime Classics. Some writers from the golden age of detective fiction have not held up well, but after this anthology I’d be willing to trust any book put together by Martin Edwards.
Friday, November 25, 2022
If you are looking for a cracking good mystery, you may be disappointed with all the dialogue about marriage, but for me those conversations were what made the book my favorite of all the Lord Peter novels. Sayers herself described it as “a love story with detective interruptions.”
Sayer’s novel are loaded with scrumptious literary references. Lord Peter and Inspector Kirk cheerfully exchange quotes from the Bible, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Browning, Keats, etc. I wish I could find an annotated version of this novel to save me time from looking up translations of the Latin and French, but as it was, I looked up about half the references and was richly rewarded in discovering their meaning. Frankly, most of them were discreet reference to sexuality that would have made me blush considerably in my younger years.
There is a lot of (discreet) talk about previous liaisons, expectations for the wedding night, etc., which I could appreciate after my three decades of marriage because they showed Peter and Harriet wrestling with every aspect of their marriage, not sugar-coating the past, but showing their growth in understanding of what true love entails. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them come to grips with the tough realities and indescribable joys of marital commitment.
In spite of all the fancy quotes, Lord Peter finally concludes: And what do all the great words come to in the end, but that? – I love you – I am at rest with you – I have come home.
As if the love story weren’t enough, the mystery is quite good. AND BUNTER GETS HIS DUE as the devoted, unruffled servant - so much so that Harriet jokes that maybe she should have married him instead of Lord Peter. I don’t know a thing about wine, but the care with which Bunter handled the liquor in this book was laugh-out-loud hilarious.
A delightful read from start to finish. This is not a stand-alone novel. It is necessary to read the previous novels to get the full impact of how Harriet and Lord Peter are piecing their new lives together. Bravo to Dorothy Sayers for showing the beauty and complexity of it.
Friday, November 11, 2022
Crisis Magazine. I recently discovered his more lighthearted weekly newsletter “Word and Song,” which is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of truth, goodness and beauty. Three times a week he writes out his thoughts on various poems, songs or movies.
He began a recent post with this verse from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat:
A book of VERSES underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness –
That wilderness were paradise enow!
He then goes on to elaborate on the meaning of the word “verses” and how poetry and song have been an integral part of previous civilizations because they were the best way to hide the stories & poetry & truths in one’s heart. He regrets that our present generation “
I highly recommend this brief and delightful newsletter.