Thursday, 26 November 2009

Whose Body?

The current anniversary of 'Murder on the Orient Express' (cue tunnel noise and whistle scream) reminds me that I am occasionally conerned that Agatha Christie (be her merits what they may)'s posthumous reputation (however well-deserved) so loomingly overshadows that of Dorothy L Sayers.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be reading AC, but shouldn't DLS really take priority? I underrstand that in her own life time, a lot of critics found Ms Sayers' work to be far too show-offy, but that was surely just sour grapes. There'll be no shameful spoilers here, but if you haven't read through the lengthy and repeated mediaeval campanological digressions of 'The Nine Tailors' and then slapped yourself in the head at the delightfully fiendish reveal (or smugly congratulated your perspicacity, whichever), then you have not enjoyed one fathom of the depth of literary pleasure that the murder mystery as an art form has to offer.

Dorothy L is Philip K Dick to Agatha C's Isaac Asimov. It would bug me no end if someone were to suggest, in the field of science fiction that readers should ignore 'I, Robot' and just go straight for 'The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch' - what crass snobbishness - but of course, I would absolutely have to agree. I'm not saying don't read Christie, but please, if you must drink lager, be sure to try the occasional Czech Pilsner.

The first of the Peter Wimsey novels "Whose Body?" is available for free download at the indispensible, and doubtless elsewhere at all good public domain ebook freetailers throughout Interwebshire.

Finally, it goes without saying that this website is far too cultured to make such an archaically sexist observation, but careful perusal of Google Images will confirm that the young DLS was somewhat foxy.