One of the female dons from Harriet s alma mater who were her bridesmaids wrote a much nicer letter to a friend who couldn t be thereYesterday she Harriet looked like a Renaissance portrait stepped out of its frame I put it down first of all to the effect of gold lam , but, on consideration, I think it was probably due to lerve There was something rather splendid about the way those two claimed one another, as though nothing and nobody else mattered or even existed he was the only bridegroom I have ever seen who looked as though he knew exactly what he was doing and meant to do it Only Bunter Lord Peter s manservant and the Dowager Duchess Lord Peter s mother know all of the secrets about where their honeymoon is to be spent and for how long Reporters were confined to a side room at the church and were not allowed out until the newlyweds had departed.
I can t help but say that this happy event and how their relationship blossomed made this book sing I have been cheering for Lord Peter through all the novels since he first met his intellectual match and emotional support in the person of Harriet Vane This is also the first novel where they work together on a case without being at loggerheads with each other half the time, and I enjoyed witnessing their partnership unfold and bloom on all levels.
The secret that Bunter and the Dowager Duchess kept from everyone else was that Lord and Lady Peter yes, that s how they are referred to had purchased a weekend cottage in the country and would be on honeymoon there for a month However, their cottage holds a secret of its own a corpse There is so much to love about this last full size novel that Dorothy L Sayers wrote in the Lord Peter Wimsey series Lord Peter and DCI Kirk work together on the case and match wits by quoting everything from Lewis Carroll to Shakespeare to Milton to Donne to Tennyson and back to Shakespeare again I loved it Lord and Lady Peter entertained themselves by coming up with red herrings for each of the possible suspects tracing their movements, tracking how each one could have committed the murder, and inventing scenarios that were ingenious and some that were improbably possible.
There are twobooks that are included as part of this series, and both are short story collections that I will probably read at some point The main series itself branches into the Wimsey Vane series but only the first one, Thrones, Dominations was partially written by Dorothy L Sayers In 1998, Jill Patton Walsh completed that novel and wrote threeafter it.
I hope to read at least the first one at some point in time However, to appreciate it fully I will likely need to allow some space between this novel and the extended series.
Busman s Honeymoon is Dorothy L Sayers at her best Her writing is extraordinary, and I can only imagine the phenomenal mind that held and shared so many facts, pieces of wisdom, and deep understanding of so many facets of our human characters.
After agreeing to marry Lord Peter Wimsey in Gaudy Night, this novel sees the couple marrying and embarking on their honeymoon Having fought both herself, and her feelings, for so long, Harriet allows Peter to buy her a house Talboys a farmhouse that she admired as a child, to be a weekend cottage Delighted to please her, Peter buys the house from the current owner, Noakes, who agrees to stay there until they move in.
However, what with avoiding the press and organising the wedding, Bunter does not get to visit the house first to make sure all is well and that turns out to be a mistake When they arrive at the house, nothing is prepared and, indeed, nobody even seems to be aware that Noakes had sold the house Of course, eventually it turns out that Mr Noakes a rather unsympathetic victim had a good reason for not being there to welcome the couple and they find themselves rather unwillingly thrown into a murder investigation.
This is a mystery, but it is also the culmination of Peter and Harriet s love affair and asks whether the couple will be able to make their union work Interestingly, this novel looks at some very difficult questions including Bunter s role, Peter s war experiences and the difficulty of actually solving a murder and knowing that someone faces the death penalty because of your actions Having now, finally, read all of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, I think was often a moving and romantic read There is a lot of humour, especially when the Dowager Duchess appears, but mostly despite the plot this is about marriage and the relationship between the pair First published in 1937, it started life as a stage play in 1936 and, indeed, much of the action takes place in Talboys, or while visiting other houses, so you can get an idea of how it would have appeared on stage A good conclusion to the series and I am pleased I finally read the whole series.
Before I talk about the book , I think it is worth noting that the dramatised audiobook I listened to this morning is NOT the book, and should not really be included as an edition of the book It is a BBC Radio 4 dramatised version that is only 150 minutes long, and reading some other people s reviews I realise that it does NOT include certain aspects of the book at all.
I have set up dramatised versions where they did not exist but as I am not a librarian I do not have the power to split this version off from the paper or e book reviews.
The cast of this dramatised version, are excellent, and reads like a who s who of classic British actors from the 1970 80s, including of course the indomitable and ubiquitous Ian Carmichael, who to me is Lord Peter Wimsey, as he played the role in numerous TV episodes and radio plays.
The story of this dramatisation begins with Lord and Lady Peter the ex Miss Vane heading off to a cottage they have bought in the village where Harriet grew up Of course for a private detective and a mystery writer nothing is ever going to go smoothly, and it doesn t So the honeymoon is abandoned in favour of detection.
It is an excellent story as I m sure is the book with some believable characters, brought to my ear by some brilliant actors Why oh why did I give all my mum s Sayers books to charity, hey ho, rhetorical question, and years too late to do anything about it except buy them again.
So, story good, dramatisation excellent and a happy morning spent in the garden concentrating on my iPod ha ha.
Having never read Busman s Honeymoon, I d still somehow managed to pick up the vague idea that 1 it featured a married Peter and Harriet, and, because of that fact, 2 it wasn t very interesting Right on the first count, definitely wrong on the second.
It s true that this final Sayers penned Wimsey mystery isa meditation on the ups and downs, joys and negotiations of new marriage Harriet and Peter manage to sneak off for a honeymoon only to discover a corpse in the house , but the mystery is still engaging Sayers adds some great twists to the classic all the doors were locked from the inside problem and points toward the ethical dilemmas that seem to characterize the latter Wimsey books For example, in Busman s Honeymoon, as in Nine Tailors, the murdered victim is himself an unpleasant criminal whom nobody seems to mourn or miss And, like in Murder Must Advertise, Wimsey finds himself torn between his moral ethical duty as a detective and his sympathies for those whose lives his detection disrupts or ends I thought the truly masterful aspect of this book wasn t the whodunnit or howdunnit but rather that Sayers extends the story beyond the typical detective explains all closing scene and depicts the psychological toll that years of detection have taken on Peter I can t think of any other mysteries that take up this theme so seriously or so well.
In fact, it s this theme that adds flavor and nuance to the domestic, love story aspect of the novel, rather than vice versa While Sayers has often been accused of first creating the perfect literary man and then marrying herself to him via Harriet as stand in, I thought her depiction of early married life was decidedly realistic and both universally recognizable and true to the specific two characters There s no schmaltzy or blush inducing wish fulfillment fantasy here While Sayers does depict a couple of incredibly tender scenes between Peter and Harriet, most of the focus goes to how two strongminded people must negotiate partnership Busman s Honeymoon continues certain themes from Gaudy Night, particularly where it comes to maintaining one s identity in marriage, but doesn t retread old ground needlessly Here, we have a Harriet who is sure in her choice, and who is instead observing and helping Peter navigating the same dilemma that she has already faced Given how often current movies and novels particularly YA fiction depict true love as total self effacement or self abandonment, I nearly stood up and cheered when I read the following scene Peter, you re mad, Never dare to suggest such a thing Whatever marriage is, it isn t that Isn t what, Harriet Letting your affection corrupt your judgment What kind of life could we have if I knew that you had become less than yourself by marrying me He turned away again, and when he spoke, it was with a queerly shaken tone My dear girl, most women would consider it a triumph I know, I ve heard them Her own scorn lashed herself the self she had only just seen They boast of it My husband would do anythingfor me It s degrading No human being ought to have such a power over another It s a very real power, Harriet Then, she flung back passionately, we won t use it If we disagree, we ll fight it out like gentlemen We won t stand for matrimonial blackmail Bonus the delightful Dowager Duchess features prominently in the prologue and epilogue, literary quotations abound, and the prologue is written entirely in the form of letters between society members, family, and friends of Harriet and Peter 2019 RereadThe Prothalamion continues to be everything I ve ever wanted The Dowager Duchess is a delight.
And I just love Peter and Harriet finding their footing after the major shift in their relationship, particularly juxtaposed with how they both are in Gaudy Night.
I also love how all the minor catastrophes and inconveniences really bring it home to both of them that they re actually married Tis great.
This one just makes me happy.
2019 Reading Challenge A book that includes a weddingThis is fairly spectacular.
Seriously, I loved everything about this I lost count of the number of times I realized I was sitting there grinning like a fool while reading this.
First, the epistolary type excerpts at the start are everything I ve ever wanted The Dowager Duchess and her relationship with Harriet is my favourite I love how this continues where Gaudy Night left off, and makes it really very obvious that Peter and Harriet have both made their relationship a choice I love the symmetry between the pair of novels Gaudy Night focuses on Harriet s issues with the relationship, while Busman s Honeymoon is muchabout Peter s What I especially love is the difference in their reactions Harriet is terrified of allowing herself to fall in love with Peter or acknowledging it , but then when she chooses to do it, she goes all in describing it as like falling down a well And while she does have moments in this of not quite believing it s actually happened, for the most part she s serene More serene than she s been all series The anxiety led up to the decision, but once the decision was made, she settles.
Contrast that with Peter, who seemed to essentially make the decision the second he saw her in Strong Poison And then he s constant from then on, and over the course of several books for the lead up But when it actually happens, he can t settle He s constant in his pursuit, but when he achieves his goal, he s afraid it ll fall to pieces around him And for the first time, Harriet is the grounding force in the relationship.
I just really like the dichotomy of their reactions.
We ve also never really gotten to seem them being affectionate before, and the way they speak to each other in this is really, really well done The dialogue is never too much, it s not too saccharine It just works really, really well, and is very effective.
Plus, Bunter is especially awesome in this.
And the ending is fairly brilliant So much so, that I don t even really know what to say about it.
I haven t enjoyed a book this much in a long time.
This book has a lighter tone than Gaudy Night and it is delightful with its almost constant quoting of various works by various authors, most especially the inspector and Lord Peter Great fun.
Lord Peter Wimsey And His Bride, Mystery Writer Harriet Vane, Start Their Honeymoon With Murder The Former Owner Of Talboys Estate Is Dead In The Cellar With A Misspelled Notise To The Milkman, Not A Spot Of Blood On His Smashed Skull, AndIn His Pocket Wimsey gets married and goes on honeymoon, but can t get away from murder Too bad for him, but good news for us