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Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  8,105 ratings  ·  300 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 (first published 1932)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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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Nikki
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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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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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
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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Tig
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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Rob
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
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
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
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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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Something of a mixed bag, this novel begins all jaunty and jolly with Vane and Wimsey trading flirtatious barbs and chasing down clues in a seaside resort town. It gets progressively more complicated as the investigation goes round in circles trying to crack a very clever set of mutually interlocking alibis until finally there is a rather dark and ambiguous conclusion without a clear resolution to the plot, even if the mystery itself is solved. There's a bout a 100 to 150 pages in the last third ...more
Ivonne Rovira
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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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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Dorothea
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Erica
This book started off with verve and great promise. I quickly fell for the keen-eyed lady mystery writer Harriet Vane, and the arch Peter Wimsey and was all set to watch them puzzle out a seaside murder. Excellent set-up. But then it went on for several hundred pages of musings and asides and alternative scenarios that kept me from the mystery's conclusion. Both Harriet and Wimsey and various Inspectors were confounded/baffled/puzzled/flummoxed by each new development and so forth, and they humb ...more
Susana
Have His Carcase is the fourth book I've read of this series and the one I've liked the least. For starters, I usually find it difficult to read more than 2 books of a series in a short period of time - the author must have enough range to retain the reader's interest. Sayers is very good, and I love her characters. She doesn't repeat stereotypes, they speak in their own particular way, they generally feel different. Their dialogues are great.
The trouble is, I don't really like mistery novels a
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Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Did not like. I think I'm going to pretend that Gaudy Night is the first thing in the romance arc, and ignore Strong Poison and this from now on. An interesting look at the life of the period, but made me want to punch the characters. Especially the farmer who was ranting about how the Russian wheat flooding the market was making it hard for him to sell his wheat at a good price. I'm sure it was but ... this book was published in 1932 and you know what was going on at that time? The Holodomor. T ...more
Christina
Dorothy Sayers is one of the premier mystery authors of the 20th century. Maybe it is just me, but I have a hard time getting through her books. I've read several, including "Gaudy Night" and this one, and I'm still having a hard time getting interested in the plot and characters. Maybe I'm just used to a quicker pace in the mystery novels I read, but this one took forever to get through. Especially when I figured out what happened a little more than halfway through the book. Not bad, good myste ...more
Mike
Dorothy Sayers is probably my favourite mystery writer, up there with Ngaio Marsh (Agatha Christie had her moments, but she was less consistent; and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are both absolutely classic, I was never a huge fan of Parker Pyne). This one felt a bit more contrived at the end, though. Not that all the puzzle pieces didn't fit together, and not that it was a deus ex machina ending (she gave all the necessary clues) it just felt a bit less plausible than some -- but then a ...more
Emily Barnes
Proceeding from Strong Poison, this is the second Harriet Vane novel. The mystery was very good, and on top of that there was some more hilarious dialogue, believable and touching relationship development, some deeper character insights and generally a whole lot of awesomeness. On to the next one!
Amy
Charming and delightful
David
Well, I'll be gob-smacked. As I read through Dorothy L. Sayers' "Have His Carcase" (BTW, that word's the British version of "carcass" and the whole title seems to be a play on the term "Habeas Corpus"), I kept swinging back and forth in my mind on whether I should rate it at 4 stars or at 5 stars. Once again, Sayers' writing is excellent and the world, plot, and characters interesting. On the plus side, the mystery is such that instead of trying to winnow the field of suspects down, you're left ...more
Michael A
The more Sayers I read, the more I think she excels at playful self-reference in her books. Alternately, the more I read, the more I know other people can write much more clever mysteries. So her books always seem to be a mixed bag of excitement and disappointment all at the same time.


Here's a book where the self-reference and the focus on storytelling is wonderful. The victim is a victim simply because his life is too much of an adventure, romance novel. This is exploited by the murderer to kil
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Maddy
A bit tedious, with some belaboring on the time of death (although author later reveals there was A Good Reason for this) and (I felt) too drawn out solving of the cypher. I found myself skimming over many parts.

Loved the two-column list. "Weldon. Things to Do: Kick him." Could see the chemistry between PW and HV with those few side notes.

Needed an external reference to fully appreciate some of the allusions. I'm sure would have understood the story anyway without them, but they do serve to und
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Alex
Uhm okay, so I had to read this book for a project at school and while I was fairly bored at first, this book turned out to be absolutely brilliant!
Especially considering that this is a story published almost 80 years ago it seems so modern and asdfghjk just great.
I loved all the little twists throughout the story and especially at the end and even though I always thought adult crime novels were not for me, I dare say that this book has left me curious for more. While I fear that other books m
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Madeleine
An absolute delight - even better than Strong Poison (the first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery to feature Harriet Vane). The plot is thrilling, of course - Russian conspiracies, tattoos, and secret codes abound - but the characters are what make it wonderful. Dorothy Sayers is in love with her protagonists, and after this book, so am I.
Maureen
I enjoyed this very much but I felt it was longer than it needed to be; I found some of the hashing and re-hashing tedious and started to wonder if she was given a page minimum she had to reach in order for the book to be published all those years ago.
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957) 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 herse
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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 Mysteries, #1)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3)
  • Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5)
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #6)
  • Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #7)
  • Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #9)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #10)
  • The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #11)
Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1) Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #6) Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3) Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #10) Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #12)

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“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.”
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“She suddenly saw Wimsey in a new light. She knew him to be intelligent, clean, courteous, wealthy, well-read, amusing and enamored, but he had not so far produced in her that crushing sense of inferiority which leads to prostration and hero-worship. But she now realized that there was, after all, something godlike about him. He could control a horse.” 10 likes
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