Nikki 's Reviews > Gaudy Night

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
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Sep 12, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: favourites, mystery, crime, romance
Read 4 times. Last read September 12, 2013.

Over a year ago now, Lord Peter pretty much saved my life. I was hysterical and still half under anaesthesia; the nurses were unsympathetic; I have an anxiety disorder as it is, let alone when I'm in a great deal of pain with insufficient morphine. My blood oxygen levels were catastrophic, even with pure oxygen. My mother forced her way onto the ward and held my hand. When they made her go, my blood oxygenation was up a little, but not much; she didn't let them send her away until she'd put her Kindle by my pillow, playing Edward Petherbridge reading Dorothy L. Sayers. Under that influence, I lay still and quiet, and listened, and breathed.

Not coincidentally, Edward Petherbridge slightly overshadows Ian Carmichael in my affections, and I don't think I'll ever be able to read Gaudy Night without sympathising wholly with Harriet's realisation of her own feelings. I could find no fault with it this time, neither in the slow build or anything else. I don't think I'll ever be rational about Lord Peter again, and I was already a fair way to in love with the character.

He can be ridiculous, but he's so good; sometimes, in the other books, I think I resented Harriet a little for her treatment of him. But she's in an awful position too, and Gaudy Night makes that clear -- and my goodness, the scenes where she starts to finally realise her physical (animal?) attraction to him are a little breathtaking. Peter's too perfect, of course, especially in Gaudy Night -- but in a perfect way I find impossible to fault!

Sayers' Oxford is a lovely thing, too. Once upon a time, I went to Cambridge to look round and simply felt choked by it all, but I think that when I visit Oxford, I'll be ready and willing to love it through Sayers' eyes. It's a powerfully nostalgic version of university life, especially for someone currently struggling to get any help with a PhD proposal -- oh for Shrewsbury College and the community there!
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon How important is it to read these in order?


Nikki Most of them, not terribly, but it helps very much in understanding Peter. Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon should be read in that order, though.


message 3: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon Thanks! That's very useful.


Nikki You're welcome! Hope you enjoy.


message 5: by Olga (new) - added it

Olga Godim I love Lord Peter - my favorite detective. Great review, Nikki, very personal.


Nikki Yes, he's my favourite, too! Thanks.


Erik That opening paragraph. Beautifully captures how literature weaves itself into the narrative of our lives.


Nikki Thank you! I don't even remember exactly which book it was that my mother put on, and I don't think it mattered. Just the familiarity and having something for my mind to latch onto really helped.


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