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Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

Dorothy L. Sayers
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book by Sayers, Dorothy L.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and profound April 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gaudy is probably my favorite of all Sayers' novels. The whole story is very gripping, but the deep moral, romantic, and psychological undercurrents make for a wonderfully literate mystery novel - something which one doesn't come across too often. Sayers' fits right in with all the best British crime novelists: Doyle, Chesterton, Christie, and James.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful blend of mystery and romance Jan. 29 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dorothy Sayers has frequently used autobiographical experiences as a starting point for her writing - as an example, "Murder Must Advertise" was set in an advertising agency and based on Sayers' own experiences in the field. Here again, Sayers goes back to her past days as an Oxford student at Somerville College and this makes "Gaudy Night" a unique entry in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Harriet Vane, an Oxford alum, attends the Gaudy, which is a reunion of past students and is asked by her old professors to turn her talents as a detective writer to practical use. Someone is terrorizing the faculty and students of the college by sending vicious anonymous letters. The college is terrified of this leaking out to the press and giving education for women a bad name, therefore discretion is vital. Rather relectantly, Harriet accepts and comes down to Oxford to stay for a term. She discovers that the perpetrator is not now satisfied by just sending letters and is moving on to more serious offences like trying to burn the books in the college library, destroy the works of the faculty and eventually attacking certain faculty members. Harriet struggles with the realization that the perpetrator may be a professor as well as with the realization of her growing feelings for Lord Peter Wimsey. The actual unraveling of the mystery is fascinating by itself, but I was particularly intriuged by Sayers taking the opportunity to discuss issues such as society's view towards University education for women, and the need to maintain one's own identity, even in a serious relationship. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can Lord Peter find true love with a 'New Woman'... March 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...and solve a mystery, too? Gaudy Night was the first Sayers book I ever read, & what a find! GN is first & foremost the resolution of the Harriet Vane/Lord Peter relationship begun in Strong Poison. The 'mystery' serves primarily as a pretext to contrast traditional ideas of marriage & woman's 'place' with Sayers' very different & 'modern' ideas on the topic. At times, it's practically an intellectual treatise on the subject, argued by woman dons at the high table. Drenched in the atmosphere of 1930s Oxford, drunk with the poetry of Donne, GN is a tour de force of intellectual seduction. Harriet is not an easy woman to love--she's been deeply hurt, she's much too independent, & she's far too intellectual for her own good. There are readers who will never appreciate Harriet, or think her 'worthy' of the witty, sensitive & intellectual Lord Peter; their loss. In the 1930s, women believed that they had a forced choice between matrimony & a career. A large part of Harriet's reluctance to say 'yes' is the very real fear of losing her hard-won selfhood: "If I once gave in to Peter, I should go up like straw." In this, she mistakes her man; Lord Peter doesn't want a 'mere' wife, he wants an equal partner! He may actually be the first male feminist in detective fiction; no wonder poor Harriet can't believe it. Such men are hard to find even today, much less in Harriet's day. This is the ultimate thinking woman's romantic mystery!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The English Classic Mystery Jan. 27 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Whereas we Americans were sopping up noir novels and films of Chandler and Cain, the English were serving up their version of the mystery with the elegant writer Doroty L. Sayers. In this novel she puts her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, into the story, as usual, but gives his girlfriend, Harriet Vane, center stage. Harriet returns to her college reunion and while having a great time with her old chums suddenly starts receiving poisen pen letters. Like her American counterparts though, Sayers is interested in the characters and what they are able to observe of the best and worst in people. However, they don't do it with the hard edged noir American style. The English style is quiet, elegant, country houses and colleges, lords, gentlemen and their ladies and then, intruding into this perfect world, The Crime and what the crime does to the people around it. Sayers remains my favorite of the British writers who either started this tradition or carry it on today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Mystery Without a Murder? March 25 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dorothy L. Sayers' book _Gaudy_Night_ is one of the best mystery books ever written, if you enjoy beautiful, educated writing and brilliant, sympathetic characters, not to mention a great plot. Harriet Vane, one of the first female Oxford graduates, like the author, struggles with poison-pen letters, personal focus, and the attentions of Lord Peter Wimsey as she returns to Oxford after attending the annual Gaudy (a reunion of old students). Without a corpse in sight, the book may not appeal to many readers of grity detective novels, but this mystery is solved with wit, wisdom, and Vergil. For what more could one ask?

_Gaudy_Night_ is eriudite as well as entertaining, standing up well to the passing of over six decades. The themes of academia versus business, career versus marriage, and town versus university are still alive today. The writing of Dorothy L. Sayers is not to be missed, and this is arguably her best book (along with _The_Nine_Tailors_).
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
It was the worse D.Sayers I have read.
Published 3 days ago by Jill Macintyre
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the nephew
My first encounter with Dorothy L. Sayers was the Mobile Mystery Theater series showing on PBS. Unfortunately, I did not realize that my video player was also a recorder until the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the nephew
My first encounter with Dorothy L. Sayers was the Mobile Mystery Theater series showing on PBS. Unfortunately, I did not realize that my video player was also a recorder until the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars voice off
Great story. I found that this is one of the best BBc full cast recording of the Lord Peter Wimsey's. Read more
Published on March 3 2011 by chantal corriveau
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the nephew
My first encounter with Dorothy L. Sayers was the Mobile Mystery Theater series showing on PBS. Unfortunately, I did not realize that my video player was also a recorder until the... Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2010 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb mystery
Gaudy Night has long been my favorite Dorothy Sayers mystery. The plot involves Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey investigating a murder at Harriet's old college at Oxford. Read more
Published on June 18 2003 by Lisa Bahrami
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaudate Discipuli
'Gaudy Night,' Dorothy Sayers' penultimate novel in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, was originally intended to be the last. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2002 by Marc Ruby™
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
This is an enjoyable book. Why? There is no murder; but you expect one at any moment.
We start with the "Gaudy Night" a reunion and meeting of female graduates... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2002 by Alice L. Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but could move a little faster
This book is most remarkable for its ability to frame the issues faceing women in the 20th century and now in the 21st. Read more
Published on May 16 2001 by Sara Shutts
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that has everything and more
This book is amazing: not only does it comment intelligently on just about every human life issue, but it does so while being a very competent murder mystery, and consistently... Read more
Published on April 30 2001 by "airi2"
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