Murder Must Advertise
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Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey #10)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  10,800 ratings  ·  394 reviews
When advertising executive Victor Dean dies from a fall down the stairs at Pym's Publicity, Lord Peter Wimsey is asked to investigate. It seems that, before he died, Dean had begun a letter to Mr. Pym suggesting some very unethical dealings at the posh London ad agency. Wimsey goes undercover and discovers that Dean was part of the fast crowd at Pym's, a group taken to par...more
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published 1978 by New English Library (first published 1933)
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Kate
An absolute delight. I am increasingly of the opinion that Dorothy Sayers is the finest mystery serial writer of - well, I can't say "all time," having only read two or three of her competitors, but VERY FINE INDEED. Sayers doesn't just write good mysteries, she writes good novels. One might almost mistake Murder Must Advertise for a novel about an ad firm (and brilliantly done at that) that happens to concern a murder, rather than the other way around, and I don't say that at the expense of the...more
Gail
Mar 13, 2010 Gail rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of mysteries, those interested in advertising or in life in Britain in the 20's and 30's
This is the best Wimsey book. A marvelously venomous send-up of the advertising world, still sickeningly applicable today, it has lots of biting wit and some compassion as well for those caught up in this silly little world. Wimsey's incarnations here...ad man, himself, evil man-about-town, and outstanding cricketer...are fascinating. One is so intrigued with the book that one doesn't notice that Wimsey can be, and sometimes is, soporifically perfect. Nevertheless, for fans of the literate myste...more
Jane
Where I got the book: purchased from The Book Depository. I'm absolutely sure I had the 70s NEL edition once upon a time, but you know how it is with really good books. They grow legs and walk away.

Quickie story roundup: Lord Peter Wimsey, for the first time in his life, is pulling in a salary (of £4 a week). Adopting the persona of Mr. Death Bredon, he becomes a copywriter in the advertising firm Pym's Publicity to investigate the mysterious death of one Victor Dean, and discovers that Dean's d...more
Kim
This novel is as much a satire on the advertising industry and office politics as it is a mystery, and none the worse for it. Witty and entertaining, with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. And Peter Wimsey, of course. (Though, sadly, not as much of Bunter as I would have liked!)
Kai Coates
This was my first time reading Dorothy L. Sayers and I was mightily impressed. While I generally enjoy mystery thrillers, the genre has always seemed to be a subset of real literature - somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Murder Must Advertise, however, is a good book period. It happens to be also be a mystery, but the investigation at many times takes a backseat to the realistically populated world of an advertising firm in the '30s. The writing is sharp and insightful. I especially liked the sectio...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I listened to this on audiobook, read by the inimitable Ian Carmichael, who played Wimsey in the TV series based on Sayers' books. I was pleased (though not surprised) to discover that Mr Carmichael's vocal talents covered a great range of accents and voices, which added a great deal to the reading.
The story is well-plotted as always and there are several good red herrings. We have two mysteries to sort out: who killed Victor Dean and why and how? And who is funnelling cocaine into London on a...more
Abbey
#8 Lord Peter, Pyms Advertising, London; classic aristo-detective, still superb story even after many rereads. (note: I don't include the short story compilations in my numbering of series reads)

The snappiest of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, the fast pacing and a rather different setting than usual make it lots of fun. It's my favorite Peter story (except for Gaudy Night and the novella "Ali Babba and the Forty Thieves", heck, almost the entire collection of short stories....!). OK, I admit it,...more
Kate
It is hard for me to talk about Murder Must Advertise, because I am easily reduced to squeeing and flailing about. It is a neat little mystery, and we see two interesting sides of Wimsey that aren't often apparent. Murder Must Advertise is different because it isn't Lord Peter Wimsey solving mysteries. Well, not exactly. (view spoiler)...more
Lizzie
I have not re-read this Wimsey in ages; I had forgotten the focused, biting description of life in a 1930s ad agency. From tipping the charwoman to selling corsets and face cream, there is an intriguing mashup of the modern and the Victorian. The three faces of Wimsey here take you places Sayers's books do not normally go- diving off the top of a fountain to amuse Bright Young Things.

I always skimp on this book because there is no true Peter-Harriet action; that said, it is infinitely meatier an...more
Kristen
Upgrading to 5 stars based on my own idiosyncratic enjoyment. Some elements may be appealing to most readers, especially the look at working life in the 1930s, which is both very similar and very different from today. Other parts of this book will probably only appeal to serious Wimsey fans, notably an entire, pivotal chapter describing a cricket match.

Also, I believe that Sayers may love butter almost as much as I do, as she's always putting in little details about it's deliciousness. Here's on...more
Jane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie
I enjoyed this very much, but these intricately plotted murder mysteries are wasted on me, because I'm not reading the book for the mystery. I'm reading it for the characters, the setting, and particularly in Sayers' case, the wonderful writing. In two weeks I won't be able to remember whodunnit.

The plot has to do with drug running, and I couldn't be less interested in that, but I loved the details about life in the advertising business, and I enjoyed the scenes with Charles and Lady Mary. Peter...more
Rita
James and I read most of Sayers' mysteries in the 1970s after seeing BBC's charming dramatizations of them.
Have just reread this one. It's a joy to read. She writes very well, her sentences run smoothly, her word choice is excellent. Parts of the book are just great fun -- it's the dialogues I really love.

Also read an unauthorized biography of Sayers, which says her descriptions of how the aristocracy live are mostly invented. [She grew up strictly middle class.] Somehow this disappointed me ter...more
Wealhtheow
The most engaging and best part of Of Human Bondage was the episode in which the hero, previously an entitled young man, is forced to go to work with the lower classes to keep from starving. Similarly, Lord Peter Whimsy is at his best not when dealing with his peers, but with the working class. He goes undercover at an advertising firm, where he experiences a rather different lifestyle than that to which he is accustomed. There are some great scenes about classism, as there always are, and sever...more
Alina
This book now rivals Gaudy Night for the first place in my affections among Sayers mysteries. The life of the advertisement agency is as well portraid and is as colorful, as the life of the Oxford dons and students in Gaudy Night, and the plot has a nice psychological twist to it.
Laurie
Beautiful language, gloriously ridiculous plots, and the first to bring the emotional life of her characters into the fore of the mystery. (Even though she did insist on apologizing for it.)
Lightreads
All I really remembered about this book was that it made me laugh; what I didn’t remember was it also has teeth.

A peter Wimsey mystery, wherein Peter goes undercover in an ad agency, and then there are a lot of shenanigans, and also bad puns, and a climactic cricket match that made me snigger to myself for ten minutes straight, much to the consternation of my morning train seatmate.

(This is, incidentally, a pretty good place to start with Peter Wimsey. Not the chronological beginning of the seri...more
Nikki
Another reread. I liked this one more this time round, actually, though I can't quite put my finger on why. I'm not sure why I thought the solutions were all so obvious, the first time I read it; they were reasonably obvious now, but then I've read it once before and listened to the BBC radioplay, so of course they were. Couple of winces from me with several of the female characters -- Dian de Momerie, mostly, and also Tallboy's mistress. They were plot devices, not people; Dian could almost be...more
Kristel
Ms Sayers wrote detective novels but later shifted to theological dramas. This book is one in a series of detective novels featuring the hero, Lord Peter Wimsey and is set in an advertising agency. Wimsey is undercover, hired to investigate the death of one of the copy writer’s, Dean. Wimsey uncovers a cocaine dealing ring. It is an enjoyable mystery but the main reason the book made the list is because of Ms Sayers portrayal of the advertising world. Ms Sayers worked as a copywriter in the adve...more
Jeannette
Okay, I was waffling between 3 & 4 stars. I didn't find the mystery all that gripping, because the focus bounced around. And some parts were just too long. I don't know anything about cricket, so that whole scene was a bit more than I cared about. But, Sayers came through in the end and showed me that all of these side trips mattered. That's what saved the book for me. None of what I thought of as filler turned out to be filler. And, the solution, was both obvious and hidden -- very satisfyi...more
Nikki
This wasn't my favourite of the series when I was reading it in print, I think. It has a decent ratio of Peter Wimsey and Parker, but argh, I hate that Parker has a different voice actor to the earlier episodes. That guy was perfect. Anyway, the problem is the total lack of either Harriet or references to her, and I don't think Bunter shows up, either. Peter's going it alone, undercover, so it makes sense, but...

The plot itself is reasonably interest, and the part with Tallboy at the end was wel...more
Sarah
This was my first Sayers novel, and it probably won't be my last, even though I got rather bored with it sometimes. It certainly is brilliantly written, and the story is quite intricate, but I wonder if it's just me? I simply couldn't get very excited about it all - especially the cricket match at the end!!
Brenda Clough
This book is a break from the longeurs of the Peter-Harriet romance. It is very nearly the perfect Lord Peter novel, too (I would put NINE TAILORS at the top). There is everything calculated to please: between-the-wars London, Lord Peter at his most devious but absolutely casual about it, fast cars, loose women, and master criminals.
Sayers worked in advertising herself, and her years in the office trenches are an endless source of inspiration and incident for this book. Her wit and sharp eye mu...more
Katie
I love a good mystery. I read every single one of Agatha Cristie's books in middle school, and I was hoping this would come up to snuff. I mean, Dorothy Sayers was supposed to be one of the best mystery writers of the twentieth century. And sure, there isn't a quirky Belgium detective on the case, but even better, an attractive English Lord working incognito to solve the case. But I found there were way too many details for my taste. Whole pages devoted to insignificant facts that contributed no...more
Nathan Willard
The third Peter Wimsey mystery I read, this one showed the same over-eager tendency to write in dialect that plagued the five red herrings. Here, though, the "dialect" mostly consisted of using advertising slogans over and over again. I can forgive Dorothy Sayers a lot, given her invention of "Guinness is Good For You" and the toucan whilst in advertising, but it grates and gets in the way of the story. Still, the mystery was actually interesting here, unlike in five red herrings and busman's ho...more
Ann
The staff at Pym's Publicity is intrigued by their latest addition, Mr. Bredon. Hired to replace Victor Dean, who broke his neck in a fall down the spiral stairs in the office, he seems unnaturally inquisitive, and sometimes downright strange. Why is he larking about on the roof with a catapult? Why does he go to questionable parties with Victor Dean's sister? And why does he spend the nights dressed in a Harlequin costume, pumping a druggie society beauty for information about the drug trade in...more
Michael A
Sayers continues her run of very fine classic detective novels.

In fact, despite the lack of richness of self-awareness the last book had (Carcase), this book executes a simple mystery around a simple, yet solid concept. And what is that? Well, I really appreciate that all of this takes place in an advertising agency.

You see, advertising, as well as I understand it, involves spin doctoring reality into something much too simple and usually false. Disease is just a matter of germs, right? And this...more
David
"Murder Must Advertise" is the 8th novel in Dorothy L. Sayers' "Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries." It's the best of the series, so far. Like all of her work that I've read, it's got excellent writing, descriptions, world and characters. The mystery is great and the pacing fine. This book also feels different from the other books in the series. It's got more of a "spy" feeling to it (as opposed to the normal "detective" feeling). My guess is it's because there's a lot of undercover work here as well a...more
Doreen
There is something about the way Sayers portrays the British working class that rubs me the wrong way. She has an air of superiority in her voice that bothers me. I find Lord whimsy to be unlikable, sexist, and snobby, and that makes it very difficult for me to engage with her books. Add in some anti-Semitism and bigotry, and I'm done.

A friend recommended this book to me saying it was hilarious, but I was more annoyed than amused.
Surreysmum
What is rather curious about this novel is that it's post-Harriet (it comes between Strong Poison and Gaudy Night) but it's the superficial Peter we see, and only in one scene - his interview with the murderer - is there anything close to the impact of a personality. That apart, it's a delightful (Oh God, that word again!) read, suitably puzzling, and very clever and funny about the advertising business.
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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) Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #12) Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)

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“My brother, being an English gentleman, possesses a library in all his houses, though he never opens a book. This is called fidelity to ancient tradition.” 1 likes
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