Looking for more of Lord Peter Wimsey? You've read all the original novels (not to mention any continuations)? Never fear - how about a tasty collection of more than twenty short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers about Lord Peter? That, plus eleven stories featuring the very un-Wimsey-like Montague Egg and a dozen other marvelous stories, may be found in Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories, an anthology containing - as the title implies - all of Sayers' short mysteries. Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Short Stories is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the complete review by clicking here.
Lord Peter’s fans will find him in top form here in stories that range from clever and ingenious little tales of detection to straightforward Edgar Wallace-style thrillers. Some, to be sure, deal with murder, but there’s also a pretty good assortment of other crimes – including some which might as well be murder.
Two stories in particular may interest you, if you have wondered what happened to Lord Peter after he married Harriet Vane in the last Wimsey novel, Busman’s Honeymoon, you will find two late stories featuring our married hero. One, called “The Haunted Policeman,” dating from 1939, has Wimsey regarding – in some awe – his newborn son. The other, called "Talboys," Sayers' last Wimsey story, written in 1942, reveals that he and Harriet have had three sons, and we get to see some of his family life as well. To me, these stories are a special treat.
The eleven stories featuring Montague Egg are also great fun. They are traditional, puzzle-oriented mysteries, starring a protagonist who, as a wholesale commercial wine salesman, is quite far from Lord Peter's aristocratic background. The remaining stories are all crime and/or detection stories, usually with a twist which will surprise the reader with a touch of humor - or of horror.
This anthology also has an introduction by mystery critic James Sandoe, who was responsible, more than 40 years ago, for compiling these short stories into a single volume. This new edition from Bourbon Street Books, a HarperCollins imprint, also contains an Afterword, by Alexander McCall Smith. Both essays provide additional information about Sayers and about her characters, and they really do add immeasurably to the pleasure you’ll find in this volume. It belongs on your bookshelf.
This review will be another entry in the My Reader's Block blog Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge, covering the square for "one short story collection." And my thanks again to Sally Powers, who sent me my review copy, for allowing me to cannibalize portions of the review of this book which I contributed to her I Love a Mystery Newsletter.