Read Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers James Sandoe Online


Gathered here for the first time in one volume are all the short stories by the legendary mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers. In this beguiling collection, Sayers conveys in her incomparable way the gruesome, the grotesque, and the bewitching. Here is the inimitable aristocrat, Lord Peter Wimsey, one of fiction's most popular detectives of all time, up to his usual exploitsGathered here for the first time in one volume are all the short stories by the legendary mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers. In this beguiling collection, Sayers conveys in her incomparable way the gruesome, the grotesque, and the bewitching. Here is the inimitable aristocrat, Lord Peter Wimsey, one of fiction's most popular detectives of all time, up to his usual exploits as he solves tantalizing puzzles, as only he can. And then there's the clever working-class salesman-sleuth, Montague Egg, who uses his everyday smarts to solve the cases that baffle the professionals. A sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings, "Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories" is a mystery lover's treasure trove of the amusing and appalling things that happen on the way to the gallows....

Title : Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories
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ISBN : 9780060084615
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 796 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories Reviews

  • Pamela Mclaren
    2019-05-15 02:03

    Clever, fun interesting short mysteries by a master of the genre. Her characters are a delight, the stories are devious and the final twists are amazing. A great book to read.

  • Shan
    2019-04-26 23:43

    Terrific and surprising collection of stories. The Lord Peter Wimsey stories make up about the first 2/3 of the book. They're predictable only in that you know Wimsey is going to brilliantly put together the clues you didn't even notice and solve the puzzle, and that his reputation and position mean the authorities will give him respect and any help he might need. The situations and the puzzles themselves are wonderfully varied. Lots of fun to read these.Then there's a section of Montague Egg stories. These were my favorites. Egg is a traveling wine and spirits salesman (they called them commercial travelers in England in those days, apparently) who runs into interesting mysteries in his travels, sometimes accidentally and sometimes when he's curious and inserts himself into a situation because "To serve the Public is the aim of every salesman worth the name." He has an appropriate rhyme from the Salesman's Handbook for every occasion. "The salesman who will use his brains will spare himself a world of pains," "Discretion plays a major part in making up the salesman's art, for truths that no one can believe are calculated to deceive," and so on. When there's nothing in the handbook, Egg will make one up for himself. The last group of stories are one-offs, and they're much darker than the Wimseys and the Eggs. There are stories told from the murderer's point of view, stories about suspicion that does or doesn't turn out to be justified, and stories with a supernatural twist. It's a bit like reading a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories, followed by some Wodehouse, and finished off with some, I don't know, Poe or DuMaurier or Conrad. The order is unsettling, and I'm glad I finished the book in daylight. If I read these again, I'd probably pepper the last group of stories in between some of the more cheerful fare and make sure to end on a nice light Egg story.They're all gems, and as a bonus they give you a glimpse into England in the early twentieth century. There are train trips and motoring jaunts, public houses and inns, newspapers and The Strand magazine, flower shoes and follies. (And class privilege, poverty, bigotry, and the aftereffects of war.)

  • Sun
    2019-05-17 05:48

    Dorothy L. Sayers was a genius and if you read this, the first complete collection of her short stories, you will see what I mean. The stories fall into three categories: those that feature the voluble Lord Peter Wimsey, those that feature eager travelling salesman Montague Egg and those that stand-alone. (In my mind, Wimsey is a younger, blonder Stephen Fry with a monocle and Egg is a clever human version of Disney's Jiminy Cricket, all eagerness and propriety.) The stories are all mysteries, although some like "The Abominable History of the Man with the Copper Fingers" and "The Cyprian Cat" tend towards thriller, others are puzzles like "The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will" and there's hint of science fiction too in "The Image in the Mirror" and "The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba". There's an echo of GK Chesterton in "The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran" and one of Conan Doyle in "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach". But Sayers isn't in any way derivative. She's ingenious. It's obvious reading through the stories that this is a writer who loved mystery fiction, who studied it and who knew how to write for the best effect - which includes building up and then neatly turning our expectations against us. The introduction by American mystery critic James Sandoe gives a concise summary of Sayers and her life's work, but it's through reading her stories that you see how Sayers develops as a writer, moving through the more academic style of the early Wimsey stories, to the clever intricacies of plot, and then finally on to the power of a sparser style. There is only one negative about this collection - it doesn't come in hardcover to endure repeated reading!

  • Justine Olawsky
    2019-05-20 23:39

    I think I like Dorothy Sayers better as a short story writer than as a mystery novelist. These shorts were really exceptional. Most of the stories feature the eccentricities of beloved aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey; then, there is a good chunk of tales whose mysteries are put to rights by traveling wine salesman, Montague Egg; lastly, there are some stand-alone stories that are among the most excellent of the bunch. What a treat for this lover of the British mystery!

  • Dorothea
    2019-05-11 02:55

    So much fun!I was given this for Christmas and I read a story or three at bedtime every day until I was done. That's how to read this book -- enjoy it a bit at a time.I often find that I can't get into short stories by writers whose novels I've liked -- they're good at developing the plot slowly while acquainting you with the characters in full, and short stories don't have room for all that. But I had nothing to worry about with Sayers; in fact, these stories were at times more fun than some parts of her novels. And it's not all because I was already familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey et al. through the novels, since there are plenty of excellent non-Wimsey stories in this collection too.The stories are from three collections published during Sayers' lifetime, Lord Peter Views the Body, Hangman's Holiday, and In the Teeth of the Evidence. Possibly there are also stories that are not from these books, but I can't tell -- the one disappointing lack in this edition is that of a list of credits or copyrights. There is a bibliographical essay at the beginning by James Sandoe, which is useful if you're confused about the order of the Wimsey novels, but barely seems to have been written for this particular volume.Nearly half of the stories feature Lord Peter Wimsey; the rest are either about Montague Egg (another amateur detective whose regular employment is as a traveling salesman of fine wines) or about nobody in particular. While all the stories are mysteries, this last section is mostly not detective stories -- the viewpoint character is often the criminal or the victim. A few of these stories are as much horror as mystery.There is such a satisfyingly large number of stories that of course some of them are bad. My least favorite were "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey" and "Scrawns," both of which create an atmosphere of horror through lurid descriptions of people who are ill or disabled. In the second of these, the story turns out to be a critique of this practice, but the reader is still expected to buy into the descriptions at first, and I resent being asked to do so. "The Incredible Elopement" has the added disadvantage of being set, for plot purposes, in a remote mountain village full of hopelessly superstitious and naive peasants.However, I'll re-read most of these stories with pleasure.

  • Brendan
    2019-05-22 03:04

    I hadn't read much Sayers before this collection. I certainly knew about the Lord Peter Whimsey stories, and I knew that she's seen as one of the grandmasters of the classical genre, but I hadn't waded into her work before. This book makes a nice survey of it. It encapsulates all the Whimsey stories that aren't novels, all the Montague Egg (traveling salesman of wine and spirits) stories, and a few others to boot. A few thoughts: * The Whimsey stories are generally satisfying as character studies, but not as mysteries, for me. Usually the mystery turns on some bit of tomfoolery or obscure knowledge that the reader couldn't or wouldn't happen on, but the scenarios are enjoyable and diverse. * By contrast, the Monty Egg stories are much closer to being "Fair Game" mysteries and are thus more enjoyable. I also like the character of the genial liquor salesman who quotes extensively from The Salesman's Handbook. * The remaining stories in the collection often work on twists in the way that stories with continuing characters cannot. These last operate much like Roald Dahl's more interesting stories, or perhaps some of the non-supernatural stories from Alfred Hitchcock Presents. * All the novels give strong insight into the British culture of the 20th century. Lord Peter's stories are consistently haunted by the war, which damaged so many of his peers (including Whimsey himself). The Egg stories also highlight the stratification of the different roles. One moment in particular worked well when Egg turns on his "lady of the house" charm for an housekeeper, realizing that the normal attitude he takes with servants won't do for this lady. * I was also pleased to see at least two (maybe three) references to Dr. Crippen, the renouned wife-murderer who tried to flee to America and was caught using Marconi's wireless. Ever since I read Erik Laarsen's Thunderstruck, I'm startled by how often I see references to Crippen. He's the Dahmer of his day (or perhaps the Scott Petersen).A good set of stories. I look forward to reading a couple Sayers novels at some point.

  • Carla
    2019-05-22 04:41

    Dorothy Sayers is a fantastic mystery writer. She presents wonderful characters with clever puzzles and often solves the mysteries with a bit of humor. In this collection I preferred the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. He is by far her best character. There are also several Montague Egg mysteries, although I find him less entertaining. The collection wraps up with a series of mysteries with no specific character leading them, which makes you realize why she created Lord Peter.

  • Jenny
    2019-05-07 01:47

    I have yet to read anything by Sayers that I didn't at least like, and I loved this collection. The Wimsey stories are glorious, obviously, and I also really enjoyed the Montague Egg ones and the stand-alone ones. Like Sayers' other work, these were clever, creative, and well-executed. I read them a few at a time, giving myself a treat at the end of the day. Highly recommended.

  • Susie
    2019-05-09 06:35

    Several of the stories at the end were quite a lot more interesting than many of the ones at the beginning. It's clear she became a much better writer.

  • Mallory Daniels
    2019-05-22 04:47

    I read only two of the three sections; I skipped the second section with the stories of Montague Egg as I found them boring. But the rest of the stories were very good! Dorothy Sayers has a real knack for creating an atmospheric short story that holds your interest, sometimes until the very last line. And a Lord Peter Whimsey story is always excellent!

  • Dennis
    2019-05-22 00:37

    There is no better mystery writer than Dorothy Sayers.

  • J.C.
    2019-05-21 00:40

    Uneven quality, but the two stories about Lord Peter as a family man, The Haunted Policeman and Talboys, are especially worth the read if you’re a Wimsey fan.

  • Sheri Fresonke Harper
    2019-04-29 03:52

    Terrific brain teasers that feature Lord Peter Wimsey, Montague Egg, and some miscellaneous ones. It makes one appreciate how much work crime can be.

  • Jac
    2019-05-05 01:44

    Lord Peter Wimsey in small doses, what could be finer?

  • Nancy McKibben
    2019-04-21 00:41

    The Complete StoriesBy Dorothy L. SayersIn addition to the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novels, Sayers wrote two collections of short stories about him, Lord Peter Views the Body and Hangman’s Holiday, which are part of this anthology. They have intriguing titles such as “The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers” and “The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention” and the stories are as much fun as their titles. Of particular interest are the last two stories, “The Haunted Policeman”, which takes place on the occasion of the birth of Lord Peter’s and wife Harriet’s first son, and “Talboys”, in which Lord Peter and his eldest son solve a mystery and get into mischief.Sayers’s other fictional detective, the travelling salesman Montague Egg, appears here in his own set of eleven stories. I admit that Egg’s travels as a wine salesman provide many opportunities for investigating murders, and he is a clever man, but I can’t warm to his character as I have to Lord Peter.The remaining twelve stories are also well-written and inventive, and well worth reading if you like mystery stories and/or Sayers, but I freely admit that the Lord Peter stories are my favorites.

  • Nathan Willard
    2019-04-21 03:58

    I wanted to get the full Wimsey, so I picked this up at the local library. As a bonus, the volume includes all of the adventures of Montague Egg, traveling spirits salesman, and a number of standalone mysteries.I've always found Sayers's mystery plots to be the thinnest part of her novels, so these stories, which are essentially nothing but the mystery plots, aren't as satisfying as her novels. Still, you get a few Wimsey stories that expand out the characters and place them into a broader context, and these were definitely worth it, particularly the two that follow Busman's Honeymoon in the chronology.As for the non-Wimsey stories, Egg is fine if uninspiring; the stories are too short to really be interesting mysteries, though his quirks are amusing.Finally, a few of the Wimsey stories and a few of the independent stories are truly creepy, much like some of the darker moments of Dickens. The last stories in the volume, especially, do not make good late-night reading.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-23 23:55

    On the whole, marvelousDorothy Sayers is one of my favorite mystery authors. This volume is the compilation of all of her short stories (as was known at the time of publication, I think another one has popped up since then), and is divided into three nonequitable parts: Lord Peter Whimsey, Montague Egg, Other Stories. The first two sections are by far the best. I love Whimsey and Egg, but don't care for her shorts that don't have an ongoing character, as a general rule. They just have a different feel about them, I don't quite know how to put them into words, and its rather a shame the book ends with them, but there isn't really a better place for them. Still, these stories are the minority of the collection, and while there is a random story of Lord Peter that falls slightly flat, on the whole this is a marvelous collection of fine detection.4.5 stars

  • Alice Chen
    2019-05-07 06:48

    I first read Dorothy my organic chemistry class in college! She was quite the amateur scientist, and so there was a particular phenomenon in organic chemistry that she tackled in the book we were assigned to read for that class.Over 20 years later I have re-discovered her work, and really enjoyed the short stories featuring her character Lord Peter Wimsey, an "amateur" sleuth with razor sharp observation and deduction skills. What I love is the dialogue in this book. In my head I am using a British accent whenever they speak it's so vivid.The 2nd half of this book is a curious compilation of stories that I found a little on the disturbing end. So, be warned that the whole book is NOT all about Peter, which was a disappointment to me.

  • Nigel
    2019-05-21 07:00

    This is simply a collection of all the short stories (not the novels) about Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Terribly old-fashioned, fussily academic and politically incorrect in many places, the short stories nevertheless plug many gaps left in the history of LPW and HV by the novels. Together, the short stories and novels are evocative of the period between 1918 and 1939 and of the privileged lives of the upper classes in England. The stories were published roughly contemporaneously with the events and developing society they describe. Dorothy Sayers finishing the tales around the outbreak of the Second World War - as Peter's and Harriet's world collapsed.

  • Eliana
    2019-05-13 01:38

    I've never been a fan of mystery/detective stories, but Sayers has such an amazing literary prowess that I can't help liking her stories. Her character development is the best I've encountered in a while. Within one page I feel like I've know a new character for my whole life. As a Christian author, she doesn't feel the need to go into every gory detail. Loved every story. (The one nightmare I had resulted from reading it before bed. Remind me not to do that again!)

  • Mike Page
    2019-05-05 00:50

    The Lord Peter Wimsey stories are great. The stories are driven by the characters which are what make the stories and are not necessarily "whodunnit" type stories where you can guess the outcome prior to the reveal. The Montague Egg stories are rather dull. He's mildly idiosyncratic, but nothing really special.The other collected stories are great. A kind of catch or surprise at the end of each. Some are fun, others are morbid and grim. It's a great mix and quite witty.

  • Dany
    2019-05-12 05:42

    Shades of Anna Karennina! Just finished an 800 page book. It took me almost a week...A WEEK to finish it. It was a book of short stories. I really don't like short stories. The next time I get the bright idea to read a book of them, I really need to be convinced that it won't be worth it. Like Dorothy Sayers and her full mystery novels, and some of these were passable, but by and large, not worth the time.

  • DeAnna Knippling
    2019-05-15 02:49

    A reread. Every time I go back to this collection (and I do), I'm impressed at the classics in here. Three sections:Lord Peter Whimsey storiesMontague Egg storiesVarious storiesOkay, some of the non-Whimsey, non-Egg stories are trite and boring, and the Egg stories get repetitive after a while (and it annoys me that they all cut off with Egg's logical suspicion but no proof), but they're all charming.

  • Chrissie
    2019-05-16 03:35

    I enjoyed the heck out of these stories. Particularly the Lord Peter Wimsey stories.It's easy for mystery stories to go one of two ways--to be predictable or to be so outrageous and random as to make no sense. These toe that line and are satisfyingly British.Also, the stories were the perfect length to read during a train ride.

  • Laura
    2019-05-13 07:41

    The Wimsey stories are of course the best, "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head" one of my favourites. I more or less plowed through the majority of the book, until I hit the Montague Egg stories, which took me a bit to appreciate (I kept imagining him as a literal egg in a suit, like Humpty Dumpty), and then the last handful of stories were interesting but not enough.

  • Riju Ganguly
    2019-05-14 04:02

    These stories are 'fun' read for the first time because the gently humorous tone takes care of the thinness of the plots, non-contextual and rather silly characterisations, etc. etc. But after that, I felt like sharing Raymond Chandler's opinions regarding the so-called classical English mysteries. RECOMMENDED, but only if you are interested in so-called classic English mysteries.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-22 06:43

    Well, I will be in the minority-- I just couldn't finish all 800 pages of her stories in this book. Call it mystery fatigue. I am ready to read something else. But, I do think she is a great writer. And if you enjoy mysteries, her work should be on your list. My favorites were The Lord Peter Wimsey stories. This is a good book to read if you want to read one story a night.

  • J.Aleksandr Wootton
    2019-04-24 23:52

    Out of this collection, I read only the Lord Peter Wimsey stories. I enjoyed them, but was disappointed by an apparent lack of deeper content. They make for fun reading - good mysteries here - but all the stories I read (except one) did not convey authorial purpose beyond entertainment - which is, certainly, a worthy goal, but not enough to earn a high rating.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-21 00:02

    Picked up because the latest short installment of Flavia de Luce (curious case of the copper corpse) borrowed heavily from Sayers, and a fellow anglophile mystery lover said I should read these. And so I am.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-03 01:47

    As a compilation of short stories I thought this book was a hit. I loved the Lord Wimsey short stories. The Mr. Egg stories were ok. I liked a few of the random ones, maybe if I read them before the Wimsey stories I would have liked them better. If you like Wimsey then definately read his shorts.