September 28, 2016

Have His Carcase

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Though it is a complex golden-age mystery that features Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey, this is still not one of Dorothy Sayers’ best efforts. Early Sayers relied on cardboard for her minor characters and that shows prominently here. Jews are particularly troublesome for Sayers, who couldn’t stay away even if her Jewish characters always give her trouble. The two gigolos, the floozie and the the conductor who are at the center of this mystery are purely stock. She spends a lot of work on timetables and misleading clues, and not nearly enough work letting the people be people.

It’s too bad. By the time she got where she was going – tentatively in Nine Tailors and then splendidly in Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon, she was nearly finished with mysteries.