View Full Version : Why Lord Peter?

February 6th, 2009, 05:58 AM
DLS needed to pay the bills.

She was good at her ad agency work, but her poems weren't bringing in any money, and there was her son to consider. Having her cousin provide care cost money. She was also expected to help support her extended family.

Later, when she married, her husband's health was dicey, and he was not able to earn much money.

She was a fan of Wodehouse (me, too) and thought a spoof of Bertie, plus the "morality" of detective stories might pan out. (C.f. the "Bertie Wooster in horn rims" of Murder Must Advertise; it probably amused her to write that line).

Peter became progressively less ridiculous and then perhaps a little too real to her, but he was a brilliant creation.

Many authors had a similar idea; the Knuts of Wodehouse's idealized Edwardian world was popular, and so was the mystery, but Sayers pulled them together with rare skill.

On a less analytical note, why do I love these books?

I adore Lord Peter and would like to think he exists. Although I cannot follow all of Sayers' quotes (certainly not the Greek) I can and do appreciate the world she provided.

February 6th, 2009, 03:47 PM
She was very unsnobbish in her reading tastes (at least as far as mystery novels were concerned). She was very complimentary about the SEXTON BLAKE series, which was written by various authors for monthly publication. If I remember correctly, Sayers created Wimsey for a unfinished Blake story she was considering writing for the series.

The best of the Wimseys have good detective plots, but that is not really the root cause of their popularity. Love or hate him, LPW is one of those characters who feel like they have an existence outside of the printed page. He feels real, and so the world that he moves in also feels real.

February 9th, 2009, 06:06 AM
I love all the Sexton Blake references in Murder Must Advertise.

In fact, that's one of my favorite books in the series. Typing pool and tea carts not withstanding, it really feels like any office I've worked in; DLS knew whereof she spoke in creating any kind of atmosphere, not just the exotic.

And that just points up your observation on existence outside the printed page, doesn't it?

February 9th, 2009, 11:16 AM
MURDER MUST ADVERTISE is the one where you feel that the background is really first hand knowledge rather than good research. I do sometimes wonder how many in-jokes that she works in from her years in advertising. I also love the way that rather than us watching Wimsey become involved in the case, our viewpoint is that of the staff (albeit a semi-priveliged position, as we guess instantly that the new arrival is Lord P).