Have His Carcase  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #8)
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Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  6,966 ratings  ·  270 reviews
Mystery writer Harriet Vane, recovering from an unhappy love affair and its aftermath, seeks solace on a barren beach -- deserted but for the body of a bearded young man with his throat cut.

From the moment she photographs the corpse, which soon disappears with the tide, she is puzzled by a mystery that might have been suicide, murder or a political plot.

With the appearance...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 16th 1995 by HarperTorch (first published 1932)
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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...more
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...more
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
...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tig
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Jeannette
Jan 10, 2014 Jeannette marked it as couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimis, 2013-read
I bailed at 55%. I tried, but I find this just plain boring. The sparkling witty bits are too few and far between. I don't even feel like reading the end to see who dunnit. :(
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...more
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...more
Dorothea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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...more
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.
Rose
Aug 01, 2009 Rose added it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
I'll admit a certain sympathy with the perplexed policeman in this book, what with the confusing whirlwind of times and alibis, although the heart of the final solution was very clever. I also enjoyed Sayers' mildly subversive wit.
Rose West
Jun 07, 2009 Rose West rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes the details of mystery solving
Recommended to Rose by: Annie Sechrist
Another well-worth-reading Sayers mystery. Harriet Vane + Lord Peter Wimsey makes for a great detective pair. I like how the setting in this book is by the sea.
Valerie
This edition of this book suffers from the 'illustrator didn't read the book' syndrome. Harriet Vane was never a 'flapper' type, and wouldn't have been wearing anything like a cloak on a walking tour. Also the cover (which is NOT hardback, by the way) has a tendency to flake.

Sayers played around quite a bit with things like chapter titles and epigraphs. In the previous book (Five Red Herrings), the chapter titles were all suspects, after the discovery of the corpse. In this book, each chapter is...more
Laura
Re-read in late July 2013 because the littlest thing can provoke a Sayers binge.

---

The girl, in an exaggerated gown of petunia satin with an enormous bustle and a train, exhibited a mask of Victorian coyness as she revolved languidly in her partner’s arms to the strains of the “Blue Danube.” “Autres temps, autres moeurs,” thought Harriet. She looked about the room. Long skirts and costumes of the ’seventies were in evidence — and even ostrich feathers and fans. Even the coyness had its imitators
...more
Khairunnisa
I am on a Peter Wimsey binge at the moment, and nowhere near sated. This is one of her later books, and her increased proficiency over time as an author and mystery writer is clear to see. This might be my favourite of the series, to date.

I will admit this one had me puzzled to the end, which I loved about it. The murder plot was complicated and clever, with enough red herrings thrown my way to distract, and the characters are wonderfully developed and multidimensional. I don't even mind that a...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 03, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
I haven't read the Lord Peter Wimsey series systematically and in order. My first was Gaudy Night, which I adored and would rank five stars. I wouldn't myself recommend starting there, because I think readers would enjoy following the development of the romance between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane from its beginning in Strong Poison, the sixth book.

This book begins with Harriet, still somewhat shaken by the events of that book, and definitely not intending to comfort herself on the "manly...more
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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...more
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...
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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