Murder Must Advertise

Thoughts mmabyds by Dorothy Sayers, Harper & Brothers 1933, 344 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre: Murder Mystery
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now:  I think because it felt like a good companion read to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Maybe.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I think I’ll share the official blurb from goodreads. Oh – do know if you don’t already, the book cover above links to…

When advertising executive Victor Dean dies from a fall down the stairs at Pym’s Publicity, Lord Peter Wimsey is asked to investigate. It seems that, before he died, Dean had begun a letter to Mr. Pym suggesting some very unethical dealings at the posh London ad agency. Wimsey goes undercover and discovers that Dean was part of the fast crowd at Pym’s, a group taken to partying and doing drugs. Wimsey and his brother-in-law, Chief-Inspector Parker, rush to discover who is running London’s cocaine trade and how Pym’s fits into the picture–all before Wimsey’s cover is blown.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The energy, the cleverness, the humor. The dashing always amiable and capable Lord Wimsey. The setting of London and the descriptions of what life was like after World War I but before the Great Depression. It’s quite daring and had much to reflect on for how times are now as well as consideration of what is different in law enforcement these days compared to then. But who knew ‘drugs’ were so ‘bad’ then – if felt very modern.

p.78 “Everybody is picking up the body and exclaiming over it, when in walks our friend, innocently, from the lav. It’s as simple as pie.”

What’s NOT so good: I do think this wasn’t the best book FOR ME to be introduced to Lord Wimsey – I knew nothing other than he is beloved. I wish I had more background to his ‘story’ and that is my fault because I generally eschew ‘knowing too much’. I also have trouble relating to the ‘charm’ if you will of the class system in England as humor. (I have trouble with PG Wodehouse, too – just don’t think his madcap hilarity is all that funny.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was a fun read and I thought I knew whodunit but didn’t really, it was almost like the big reveal was a slow realization that you doubt than wonder why – it was all spelled out, really. I guess that means that I thought it fell flat at the end but really, I did enjoy my time with this book and could be talked into having a bit of a crush on Wimsey – he is a charmer.

RATING: Three slices of  GOOSEBERRY pie.

Another “simple as pie” and a humble pie; quite a few lobster mentions, too.

p.84 “She thinks I’m the world’s eighth wonder. Absolutely the lobster’s dress-shirt.”



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8 thoughts on “Murder Must Advertise

  1. There’s a tv series with Lord Peter Wimsey, I think it might have been on the BBC. Anyway, there are DVD collections. Sometimes when people are raving about an older British series, I get interested in it from the tv version, like with Jeeves and Wooster, the Hugh Laurie ones.

  2. I got interested in Lord Peter through the BBC series, just as Jeanne suggests. There are two, and the one I like is with Edward Petherbridge. I don’t like the Ian Carmichael ones (which I think include this book) nearly as much. The Petherbridge ones have the advantage of being adaptations of the books that include Harriet Vane, which are my favorites and are best read in order. Strong Poison is the place to start with those.

  3. I agree about having trouble finding the ‘charm’ in the English class system sometimes. I think the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson are hilarious… they are about the middle classes trying to out do each other. But I haven’t been able to warm up to Nancy Mitford at all, for example. I find the characters in her books to be often almost cruel in their self-absorption.

    I read all the Wimsey books ages ago, but for the mystery only really. But I do recall really enjoying both books that feature Harriet Vane. I remember the romance of it and should probably give them a re-read.

  4. Oh, yeah, I don’t know that I’d have started with this one! I started with Strong Poison, which is the first of the Peter Wimsey novels that features my girl Harriet Vane (I love her so much). If you want to read the Peter Wimsey books, that’s where I’d start. Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, this one, and then Gaudy Night. Such a great run of books.

  5. Pingback: Back to the Classics Challenge for 2016 Wrap Up – Care's Books and Pie

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