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Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  11,002 Ratings  ·  452 Reviews
When Harriet Vane finds a dead body on the beach, she and Lord Peter Wimsey must solve a murder when all the evidence has washed out to sea

Harriet Vane has gone on vacation to forget her recent murder trial and, more importantly, to forget the man who cleared her name—the dapper, handsome, and maddening Lord Peter Wimsey. She is alone on a beach when she spies a man lying
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ebook, 440 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Open Road Media Mystery Thriller (first published 1932)
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Sujeetha They are all stand alone books, eventhough sometimes references are made to other prior books. But none of the plot points are given away. I don't…moreThey are all stand alone books, eventhough sometimes references are made to other prior books. But none of the plot points are given away. I don't read them in order. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Susan
This is the eighth book featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. We first meet Harriet Vane, crime writer and previously on trial for murder, in, “Strong Poison.” She then vanished in the next novel, “Five Red Herrings,” which I struggled with, and so I was pleased to become re-acquainted with her in this story.

The book opens with Harriet Vane on a walking tour, when she finds the body of a man on a beach. His throat has been cut and, with the tide coming in, Harriet attempts to contact the police – but thi
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
4.5 stars for this delightful Whimsey novel that had my brain bouncing all about my head, rather like the ball inside a pinball machine!

We have an older woman, desperate for love; her younger lover who wants an empire; and a son who sees his inheritance disappearing into the clutches of a gigolo. And so the scene is set for a murder. Simple? It could have been, but.......

This is one of the most complicated murders I have ever read. But also one of the most entertaining. We have the involvement o
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Siria
The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think,repose upon a manly bosom...

I think Have His Carcase is the book where Sayers begins to make the transition between a standard Golden Age detective story, and the much more interesting and engaging (I find) novels which make up most of the Wimsey-Vane stories. As much as the earlier novels are fun to read, with some very entertaining secondary characters, I think this is really the point where both Harriet and Peter star
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Jane
Jul 25, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: my bookshelf. Continuing my re-read of the Wimsey books.

The plot: novelist Harriet Vane takes a walking vacation along the south coast of England to work on the plot of her latest murder mystery, but finds the body of a young man instead. Her suitor Lord Peter Wimsey is quickly on the scene, but the investigators are puzzled. All the signs seem to point to a particular perpetrator, but his alibi for the time of death is rock solid. Something is wrong with the picture--but w
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Miriam
Sep 20, 2008 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
After her highly-publicized near-conviction in the murder trial of her former lover (in Strong Poison), mystery writer Harriet Vane decides to get away from it all by taking a solitary walking tour in the countryside. While lunching on the beach, she stumbles upon a corpse. There are no one else's footprints in the sand, but other evidence suggests this was not suicide...

Harriet doesn't want to ask Lord Peter, who cleared her name once before, to do it a second time, but he shows up anyway. As t
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Lightreads
I would say ‘another Lord Peter mystery,’ but it’s more accurate to say, ‘a Sayers book, marking the transitional point in the series where we stop having Lord Peter mysteries.’ And start having Peter-and-Harriet books, I mean.

Not as enjoyable as I was expecting. Peter and Harriet are, of course, rubbing along very complexly here, with suppressed romantic sentiment (mostly Peter, but not all) and resentment (mostly Harriet, but not all). There is only one real eruption between them; the rest of
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Nikki
Jul 30, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, mystery, crime
I really loved rereading this one. I knew I would, when I revisited the opening lines...

The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth. After being acquitted of murdering her lover, and indeed, in consequence of that acquittal, Harriet Vane found all three specifics abundantly at her disposal; and although Lord Peter Wimsey, with a touching faith
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Madeline
After reading Gaudy Night and hearing Peter and Harriet refer to "the Wilvercombe affair", I was intrigued and naturally wanted to read more about these two crazy kids solving another mystery. Rather misleadingly, the book that details this case is not called "The Wilvercombe Affair", and doesn't even have the word Wilvercombe in the title. It's called "Have His Carcase", because Dorothy Sayers wants to make us work for our fun, dammit.

Anyway, the mystery in a nutshell: Harriet Vane, a couple y
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Nikki
Feb 04, 2012 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, audio
Another of the BBC's fantastic radioplays. I can't think why I didn't feel like listening to them for a while -- they're great, and very good company when I'm crocheting. I'm going to blame essay deadlines and such.

Everyone's very well cast, of course, and the plot is easy to follow; maybe easier than when I read it, though I'm not sure if that's the audio or the fact that I have read it before, albeit the novel, not the radioplay adaptation. It suffers from a sad lack of Bunter and Parker, thou
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Abigail Bok
Aug 26, 2016 Abigail Bok rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this entry in the Lord Peter Wimsey series of detective novels, we find the woman he loves, Harriet Vane, back on the scene. In fact, the story opens with her on a solitary walking tour in Cornwall, discovering a body on the shore. Lord Peter, guessing that this may mean trouble for her (since she has previously been mixed up in murder), flies heroically to her rescue.

Not that his heroism—or their romance—is portrayed in the sort of terms that are recognizable to most present-day readers. He
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Marquise
I enjoyed this installment of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries as much as the previous ones, and was quite glad that it had Harriet Vane for the first time as Lord Peter's detective companion of sorts, after she discovers a corpse bleeding to death in a beach she's gone to walk in. The build-up of the police investigation is cleverer and less predictable than in the previous volumes, which I liked very much. Also, the partnership between the characters is started here, and promises to be a worthy ...more
Nikki
Nov 10, 2016 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always loved this book, particularly for the first lines:

"The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth."

The rest of it continues as delightful, and while the BBC radioplay version doesn’t include the narrative stuff like that, it does include a lot of the delightful back and forth between Harriet and Peter — and, beautifully, the wrenching convers
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Beth
May 14, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is my least favorite of the Harriet books - the mystery feels almost needlessly complex, and Harriet and Peter don't interact enough (though the few interactions, especially the fight, are fabulously done).
Tig
Apr 15, 2012 Tig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rob
Apr 25, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first of Sayers's Wimsey novels I've read. As far as detective novels go, it's interesting, not in the least when the crime being investigated becomes impossible to have been committed.

However, what I find more interesting is Sayer's explorations of Wimsey as a person. I don't know about earlier novels, of course, but none of the short stories I've read do this. In each of them, Sayers holds the reader at length from Wimsey. He's always a distant figure, almost remote. But, using Har
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Kelly
Oct 14, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so prepared to give this book a 5 star rating. I liked it so much more than Strong Poison. However, two things got in the way: the chapter about the cipher was difficult to follow, and I didn't feel that how they cracked the code or the specifics of the code were necessary to the plot. And, the ending was very abrupt.

Other than that, I loved the complexity of the story and the way all of these different characters and aliases were introduced and intertwined. I found it very entertaining an
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DiscoSpacePanther
Jan 10, 2015 DiscoSpacePanther rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
Magnificent! By far the best Lord Peter Wimsey novel that I have read up to now. Dorothy L. Sayers manages to build a convoluted, yet logical and convincing plot that never feels laboured or dull. Red herrings abound, but none of them are unfair, and the final reveal of how the murder was committed (and why it was so tricky to pin on the murderer) has the tremendously satisfying quality of a final piece clicking in to place that suddenly makes all that was confused that went before it now become ...more
Dorothea
Mar 26, 2012 Dorothea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
The Peter Wimsey novels are one of the better known golden age mystery series, and the one which gets probably the most literary approval, as well as being known as one of THE great love stories in mysteries.

And yet, while it falls well into re-read territory for me (because I like Peter) and I enjoy aspects of the romance (because Peter and Harriet are obviously so well suited to each other), I also at times thoroughly dislike the stories (because Peter is so ridiculously smothered in abilities
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Abbey
1932, #7 Lord Peter, #2 Harriet Vane
Harriet goes a-walking by the seaside and finds a man messily murdered but, alas, when the authorities finally arrive there is no corpse... A sturdy, complex plot, extremely good observations of people and behaviors, a decent pace, and simply beautiful writing, all topped off with a sharp wit and a kind of elegance of attitude that you simply don't find these days. If you enjoy That Sort Of Thing, then this is your book.
Classic timetable cosy - four-stars-plu
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Read by the inimitable Ian Carmichael, this is one of the Wimsey mysteries that tends to get the most raves. It wasn't until near the very end that I realised that yes, I actually had read it at some point decades ago. Probably back in the mid-80s when the local British Institute had a library that was open to all who cared to pay the modest membership fee.

If you like ciphers and cryptic crosswords, you'll enjoy this story. Personally, I was reminded of The Nine Tailors with its bell-ringing cip
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Mary Catelli
Aug 14, 2013 Mary Catelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In which Sayers takes another stab at marrying off Lord Peter and being done with him. That part goes awry. However, she does produce a marvelous mystery in the process.

Harriet Vane is off on a walking tour through the country. Her picnic on one beach culminates in finding a dead body, with a conspicuously cut throat. And then she has a horrible time getting to official attention, by which time the corpse is long lost under the tide.

She brazens it out and notifies the press herself. With the med
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Ivonne Rovira
Dec 18, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries tend to fall in one of two camps: cleverly plotted mysteries without any unwelcome material, like Busman's Honeymoon, or mysteries so encumbered with sermonizing, lecturing or philosophizing that the reader loses sight of the clever plot, as in Gaudy Night, which almost made me give up on the franchise.

Have His Carcase falls more in the former camp than the latter. While Sayers includes a few too many dead ends, which slow down the action, readers w
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Dana Clinton
Jun 29, 2016 Dana Clinton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of Christmas holidays ago, my beloved sister-in-law gave me four Dorothy Sayers novels, and I had only read the first, so I decided to finish them this summer! I adore her writing and laugh aloud often. The mysteries are clever and intellectual (in this one there were many pages of ciphers which I just couldn't follow, quite honestly!) and the characters of Harriet Vane, mystery writer and very intelligent and independent woman shying away from any love involvement, and Sir Peter Wimsey ...more
Brandy Painter
Jul 30, 2010 Brandy Painter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In order to have a solitary holiday with no mail or phones Harriet sets out on a walking tour of the coast. One day after lunch and a nap she comes across a corpse on a rock. It is the body of a young man and his throat has been slit. Knowing that the tide will come in soon and wash the body away Harriet does some investigating, finds the razor used and takes pictures of the body to give to the police. When she finally is able to reach a phone she calls the police and then the press, thinking t ...more
Andree
Jan 14, 2017 Andree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
4.5 stars, but I'm rounding up. Been reading this one off and on for the last few weeks.

I do really like this one. I think I just like how everything is random and really complicated, and nothing makes sense. I like the ever-more complicated theories to try and make sense of the facts. I particularly like the moment where Harriet points out that everyone's theories are terrible, for that reason. No one would do the things that needed to be done to make the facts (as they stand at any given point
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Francis
Oct 10, 2015 Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Damn, I wish the bloody British could just have a decent primal emotional reaction and kill somebody in anger, with a gun or knife or something, instead of obsessively plotting them to death. Is that too much to ask?

Ever heard of an English murder short story? No? Why is that? Well, maybe because it takes a hundred pages to explain how the murder was accomplished and two hundred more pages to rehash how they figured it out.

Well why did I give this four stars?

Well quite simple really - I liked t
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John Frankham
Jan 17, 2016 John Frankham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
The second Lord Peter Wimsey novel to include Harriet Vane. She discovers a body on an off-shore rock. A hotel dance partner, was he a gigolo or a Russian Royal. Suicide or murder? If murdered, can the alibis of his aging fiancee's son, and of the itinerant barber, hiker, camper, motorist, fishermen, be broken. Stylish writing and dialogue, maybe too much solving of ciphers and consideration of 'how long would it take to get from A to B.' So, a 4*.
Ann Burden
Just finished reading this mystery book. I enjoyed the banter between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet. It was entertaining but got a little bogged down in the end with too many details on possible solutions to the crime and I became disinterested in who actually committed the murder.
Eva
Mar 30, 2017 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-recs
I wanted to go back and re-read all the Lord Peter/Harriet Vane stories, so this one was included, but it's hard to feel as strongly for both of their positions even knowing where they end up. It's a gorgeous mystery but a difficult inter-personal story to read, but necessary nonetheless.
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Co
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More about Dorothy L. Sayers...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey, #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6)
  • Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
  • Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries (Lord Peter Wimsey, #9)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #10)
  • The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, #11)

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“I always have a quotation for everything--it saves original thinking.” 21 likes
“Listen, Harriet. I do unterstand. I know you don't want either to give or to take ... You don't want ever again to have to depend for happiness on another person."

"That's true. That's the truest thing you ever said."

"All right. I can respect that. Only you've got to play the game. Don't force an emotional situation and then blame me for it."

"But I don't want any situation. I want to be left in peace.”
17 likes
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