Books, life the universe

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Reading old favourites

Dorothy L Sayers' Gaudy Night is one of those books which I find I can read and re-read time and time again - and get something new out of it on every occasion. This time I read it for its commentary on personal integrity and the consequences of crime on the perpetrator and on those connected with them. I also noticed how the clues are built up, layer upon layer as well as the red herrings. It is an object lesson in how to plot a crime novel and it actually doesn't matter that there is no murder.

I then started reading Murder Must Advertise which I haven't read for about 30 years and I am finding it every bit as good as I remembered it to be. Peter Wimsey takes a job in an advertising agency for reasons which are not at first revealed. The advertising background is authentic as Sayers herself worked at an advertising agency for a time. The book has some trenchant comments to make about the ethics of advertising which are still valid today.


NAM said...

It's a very powerful story, I feel - probably the more so for there being no actual murder, in fact.

As you may remember, Annie Wilson always makes me see red over her her reaction to her weak husband's behaviour - but then I guess she's meant to. The story is an unusually subtle handling of a 'bad' character, who wins in the short term but will lose in the future.

Belated Happy Christmas, and I am now trying to catch up again with being blog-attuned...

Jilly said...

Annie Wilson really does annoy me as well and what annoys me even more is you still hear the same sentiments expressed today! The latest version of which seems to be that if you think women are allowed to have their own life you are rejecting God. Ok then I'll be a pagan is my usual reaction to that!

I agree it is a very powerful story and yet so many readers these days think it's dated, racist and snobbish and they completely miss the relevance of the subject matter to today's world.