Spiderorchid's Reviews > Murder Must Advertise

Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
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's review
Jun 03, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, reread
Read from June 16 to 20, 2012

A personal favourite that I re-read every few years...

Yes, in my opinion, it's really that good.
I like (almost all) of Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, but "Murder must advertise" is my favourite because in this book the mix of social criticism, humour and suspense - characteristic of all the books in the series - is just perfect.
The scenes at the advertising agency are hilariously funny, be it the chaos at the office, the excentric employes or the individual slogans for numerous products. Every small character has his or hers moment in the spotlight, but these moments are always important parts of the unfolding story and never just a device to keep the reader interested. The plot is one of the best Sayers ever wrote: original, beautifully constructed and suspenseful. Her description of the 'bright young things' and their live of parties, thrills and drug-addiction is haunting and cynical, a very good description of the dark side of the glamourous early 1930s.
And then there's Wimsey. Of course one could say that he's too perfect here. Apart from being not very good-looking and of only average height, he's practically perfect in every other aspect (witty, athletic, a great detective, charming, rich, sophisticated, etc.), but then, Wimsey was never real. The other characters in Sayer's books are down-to-earth believable people: they have faults and problems,they are the bridge between the reader and the story. Wimsey is larger than life and never was this shown more brilliantly than in the almost surreal scenes in "Murder must advertise" when as part of his investigation he plays the part of a misterious villain, dressed in a harlequin's costume and mask. These scenes add that little something extra that makes this book outstanding in a series of very good detective stories.

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