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Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best read as light entertainment. Jan. 22 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
Dorothy L Sayers' detective fiction output was not large. From the total of eleven novels, two at least have never been regarded as highly by critics and readers as have the others. "Murder Must Advertise" is one of them.
Re-reading it recently, I decided that most of its weaknesses are less apparent if it is treated as a light entertainment. Why should I expect the scholarly Miss Sayers to always provide verisimilitude, evidence of thorough research and scientific investigation? It soon becomes clear, in this book, that the pukka, debonair Lord Peter Wimsey is highly unlikely to be doing a stint as an advertising copywriter, that he would be fool enough to dive from a great height into a fountain, and that a murder such as the one he is investigating could ever be committed.
Deciding not to take these things seriously, I enjoyed my time with the book, especially the description of Lord Peter Wimsey winning the cricket match for his advertising agency. It became impossible, however, at the end to regard the book as light entertainment. The tone changes. Miss Sayers is forced to meet the problem of dispensing justice to the killer, once identified. Her solution is heavy-handed.
Ah! well, many whodunits have disappointing endings. Approach this one as I have suggested, and you'll enjoy most of it. Don't expect Harriet Vane to feature, however. Dorothy L Sayers never mentions her by name, only referring to the woman in Lord Peter's life who is being "deliberately excluded from these pages".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical murder mystery at its best Feb. 6 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Victor Dean worked at an advertising agency in London. Then Victor Dean died at an advertising agency in London. Accident? Murder? That's what Lord Peter Wimsey is asked to find out.
Shortly after Dean's death, he is replaced by copywriter Death Bredon. That's pronounced "Deeth", by the way. Bredon soon gets down to the business of writing copy ads. We find out that Victor Dean fell down a steep flight of stairs, that he had fought with various members of the ad agency, that when you are advertising for margerine you shouldn't mention butter, and that if you write 'from' instead of 'with' you will cause your client a great deal of anguish. We also discover that something fishy is going on at Pym's Advertising Agency, which somehow ties in with London's thriving cocaine smuggling industry. Soon we're wrapped up in advertising slogans, tea and cake costs, catapult snatching, Whiffling Round Britain, Harlequins in trees, cricket games, and that unfortunate incident where Mr. Death Bredon runs into Lord Peter Wimsey. This is one of Dorothy Sayer's most entertaining, amusing mysteries featuring Peter Wimsey.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lord Peter at his most whimsical! Dec 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my three favorite Lord Peter Wimsey novels (the other two are Clouds of Witness and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club), and it's my favorite of the "later period" (1930s) stories (in some part because it doesn't feature Wimsey's paramour, Harriet Vane, whom I often found rather dull). This book is Wimsey at his most whimsical, though because it is to some degree an extreme example of Wimsey's character, it's probably best enjoyed by people who have read the earlier books.
Sayers apparently worked in the advertising business herself for some years, and in this story Wimsey goes undercover as "Death Bredon" (his middle names) at Pym's Publicity to investigate the death of a copy-writer who fell down a spiral staircase. As a result, Sayers pokes all kinds of fun at the advertising business, as well as drawing an enlightening sketch of what that business is like. More than one person who's read this novel has commented to me that it seems that advertising hasn't changed much in the last seventy years!
The victim himself had been running with a fast, drug-taking crowd, which Wimsey infiltrates to tragicomic effect, and when his contacts with this ne'er-do-well group meet his upper-class family later on, he's put in the surreal position of... well, read the novel; the ultimate payoff of this thread is one of the funniest moments in the whole series! The book also includes a chapter featuring everyone's favorite incomprehensible English sport: A Cricket match, which as it turns out fits right in with the rest of the book in both style and outcome.
The mystery itself is about average for Wimsey's adventures, and is a bit more hard-core than we'd usually expect. But that aside, this is a funny, flamboyant, and educational novel, perhaps the most rewarding overall of all of Lord Peter's stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! Knock-out Mystery! Dec 1 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I must preface this review by confessing a bias - I'm a huge fan of Dorothy Sayers and consider it a tragedy that she did not write more detective fiction. This is definitely one of the strongest entries in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, both for mystery and entertainment value. An interesting tactic used by Sayers is to point in the direction of the culprit about three-fourths of the way through the book and then lead the reader through the detection process that actually leads to his/her unmasking. We saw this used in "Unnatural Death", also in "Whose Body?" Surprisingly, the resulting lack of suspense at the end does not deter from the mystery at all as it is fascinating to see the patient unraveling of clues and pulling together of threads that lead to evidence against a killer. It is also a better reflection of what usually happens in reality, as opposed to a lot of detective fiction where the most unlikely person did it! While we all find whodunits interesting, the reality is that the police and private eyes are usually smart enough to figure out the most likely candidate fairly early and thus narrow their investigations. In this book, the fun is added to by the setting in an ad agency. Sayers had worked in an ad agency at some point in her career and you can see that she really knows her stuff. The interplay between the various characters is very funny and surprisingly not dated in feel, considering the book was written 70 odd years ago! I found the cricket match scene to be the most fascinating part as well the sense the reader gets that with every page, the hangman's noose is slowly closing around the killer. Richly detailed and very descriptive, this is a book you'll want to go back and re-read many times - there will always be something fresh to see!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage mystery by a great writer
This is my favourite of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novels. I've loved it since I first read it in the 1960's. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reader in Spruce Grove
2.0 out of 5 stars Problems with type
All the quotation marks are replaced with another character. Wish I had made use of the "preview" feature before buying this.
Published 18 months ago by Marie Camille
4.0 out of 5 stars good detective stories
This book was written at beginning of previous century.
the hero is must be discovered over many pages
Well writen, good pacing ,requires somme attention when... Read more
Published on Dec 19 2010 by reader 900
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord Peter works!
This is a great book. Though it isn't Sayers best, it certainly is very fun to read, and since Dorothy Sayers worked in an advertising firm for while you can see her knowoledge of... Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Sayers Best Murder
Tightly written and featuring Sayers' gentlemanly sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey at his self-mocking best, Murder Must Advertise is generally regarded as Sayers' finest work in the... Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Sayers Best Murder
Tightly written and featuring Sayers' gentlemanly sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey at his self-mocking best, Murder Must Advertise is generally regarded as Sayers' finest work in the... Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars after the unpleasantness of bellona club
ONe would think that such a rather dull and uninteresting subject as advertising could be a vehicle for the collusion of big business and other big brother types in the murder of... Read more
Published on March 9 2001 by Mary A. Faderan
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord Peter at his best.
Without a doubt this is one of my favorite Dorthy L. Sayers novels. Its filled with equal doses of mystery and humor and is a very entertaining book. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2000 by A. Gaston
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of Sayers' best!
The puzzle is clever, the satire is biting, and the jazz underworld atmosphere is fascinating. I just wasn't sure if I was going to survive that cricket match!
Published on May 20 2000 by Christina P. Branson
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