The Nine Tailors


Author: Dorothy L. Sayers

Finished on: 11 July 2015

Where did I get this book: In the free book haul from the friend of our neighbours who died

I love Dorothy L. Sayers. I only discovered her about a year ago (when she was recommended by Lucy Worsley on her fantastic programme, A Very British Murder), and it was like finding the perfect pair of jeans in a charity shop. They have been around for ages, but they’re so right, and so comfortable, that I can’t believe they weren’t mine all along.

A contemporary and friend of the much more famous Agatha Christie during ‘The Golden Age of detective fiction’, Sayers’s writing doesn’t have the dazzling cleverness of some of Christie’s. But she has all of that wonderful luxurious, relaxing quality. This is a book to read wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea by the woodburner. It made me miss winter.

She reminds me of P.G. Wodehouse, and I’m sure I’m not the first to draw parallels between her hero Lord Peter Wimsey, and Bertie Wooster. This is only the second Sayers book that I’ve read, and while I preferred Have His Carcase (largely because it included the brilliant Harriet Vane: mystery writer, mystery solver, co-hero with Wimsey, and just an all round great character), both books share a meandering style that feels more authentic than the not-a-word-wasted approach. A murder investigation (I expect) would involve dead ends, and a lot of information that turns out to be erroneous. As I said in my review of Go Set A Watchman, I don’t think a book has to be tightly plotted in order to be well-written, and Sayers is a great example of this.

I’m not sure why books like this are so comforting. Despite the quaint English setting and cast of characters, and the backdrop of traditional church bell ringing (and containing more information than I will ever need to know on that subject!), it is a book about gruesome death. But it is comforting, and I highly recommend it if you want to completely relax. Maybe wait a few months though, until it’s cold, and light up that woodburner.

I would love to read some more Sayers now. That is the bad thing this endeavour: I have found a writer I absolutely love, and I can’t buy anything more by her until I have read the hundreds of other books waiting for me. Better get a move on.

(Having said that, it’s not long until my birthday… Especially the other Harriet Vanes would go down a treat, if anyone does happen to be reading this!)


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