Today, June 13, is the birthday of Dorothy L. Sayers (June 13, 1893-December 17, 1957). The first book I read was Gaudy Night. In 1971 picked it up in off a table at a friend’s house and became a life-time devoted fan of Sayers and all her writing. Gaudy Night is the 10th book in her very famous series of mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and also Harriet Vane. In many ways, I’m glad I read Gaudy Night first as it gave me such insight into Sayers and her thinking as well as the ways in which women struggled for academic and literary recognition at the beginning of the 20th century. The year after I read Gaudy Night I started seminary and, like Sayers, I was one of a very few women there. Sayers was also a theologian and a really exceptional one. Along with her detective fiction, she wrote essays, plays, and poetry. I’ve wondered when in this blog I would start writing about Sayers. I think the time has come.
I’ve recommended her novels for decades now to many, many people. Even though I started late in the list, they do need to be read in order, especially the four featuring Harriet Vane. Here’s the list:
Whose Body? (1923)
Clouds of Witness (1926)
Unnatural Death (1927)
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)
Strong Poison (1930) (Harriet Vane #1)
The Five Red Herrings (1931)
Have His Carcase (1932) (Harriet Vane #2)
Murder Must Advertise (1933)
The Nine Tailors (1934)
Gaudy Night (1935) (Harriet Vane #3)
Busman’s Honeymoon (1937) (Harriet Vane #4)
I’m a member of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society, and their website is a great place to learn more about her: www.sayers.org.uk
Happy Birthday, Dorothy!