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Group Challenges > Have His Carcase

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for Have His Carcase; the next book in our Lord Peter Wimsey challenge. I will open the thread for our extra read this month, "Hangman's Holiday," on the 12th August.

Please note this is for those who may not yet have finished the book. If you have spoilers, please save those for the spoiler thread and do not post them here. Thank you.


message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I'm only just starting my reread of this one, which I remember loving on previous reads. Looking forward to our discussion.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I hadn't read this one before. It sees the return of Harriet, who has divided opinion before, so I will be interested to read everyone's thoughts.


message 4: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments This is one of my favorites. Both Harriet and Peter are equal partners in this mystery, and we see the chemistry between them grow. And the plot is a good one as well, with lots of detail and local color.


message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2176 comments I'm a quarter of the way through. I found the start a bit slow ( description of the walk) but it picked up after that so glad I carried on.


message 6: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1439 comments Also one of my favorites. But if I recall correctly, has a lot to do with tides and possibly train schedules.

I recently started. Not very far in - she's still looking for a place with a phone or a car.


message 7: by Judy (last edited Aug 01, 2016 02:40PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I'm enjoying this so far - the mystery is very intrigung and I liked the sparring between the couple when they first meet up, but was slightly surprised to realise that Harriet is only 28 - I'd been imagining her as nearer to Peter's age.

Harriet's puzzling over the fiendishly complicated mystery she is writing seems slightly as if Sayers is making fun of her own plot in the previous book, Five Red Herrings!


message 8: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 356 comments I read this once before but it's been a long time; seems like a slow start but I kind of like that.

looking forward to everyone's comments.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I enjoyed this one, but it has not replaced my two previous favourites. I also feel there is a bit too much of the working out the times of things, which is possibly a hang over from the previous book. DLS's liked to work her readers hard! If you are the type of reader who likes to make notes and try to work out the clues though, this is another fantastic read.


message 10: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments I've never liked this book much. there are interesting bits but the mystery bit is IMO Very hard work to get through, and the characters are not htat great


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I enjoyed it more than the previous read. I haven't disliked any of them so far, even if I've struggled with one or two.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Judy wrote: "Harriet's puzzling over the fiendishly complicated mystery she is writing seems slightly as if Sayers is making fun of her own plot in the previous book, Five Red Herrings! ."

Nice point. Yes, it does, doesn't it!


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
Yes, good point, Judy! Perhaps she was as confused as some of us :)


message 14: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
Thanks, Everyman and Susan! I've read a bit further now and enjoyed the harrumphing Colonel Wimsey interviews - some of his comments made me laugh. So far I think the characters in this are a lot more interesting than those in Five Red Herrings.


message 15: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Its not as bad as 5 Red Herrings. that's just So dull for me anyway... but I think she was just trying to show that she could write something that was "just a plot" thing because I think she got criticised for having too much characters and talk in some of her books.
SO I think she said that she just wanted to show she could write a "purely plot like" book


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I was interested in Sayers portrait of this seaside town. You have the Grand Hotel and the well heeled guests, but you also have the obviously poorer locals; the fishermen in the cottages for example. I don't want to jump ahead, or give plot spoilers, but I like the way that the locals are mostly just not that interested, as they have their own issues to contend with. These are people who don't spend their time looking out of windows giving people alibi's, because they are working. I often find that mysteries from this era are interesting because of the portrait they paint of a different era, as much as the plot.


message 17: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
Must agree the portrayal of the seaside town is excellent - I know Sayers says in a note at the start that she invented the locality and it is "entirely imaginary", but I'm still wondering if she had a real place in mind.

I've put the bio of her down for a few days while I race to finish Have His Carcase, but will soon get back to it and will be interested to see if it suggests a real location. I'm guessing from the local accents that we are in Devon or Cornwall...


message 18: by Judy (last edited Aug 06, 2016 01:55AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
Something I'm loving about this book is the snippets of poetry at the start of each chapter, mostly taken from Death's Jest Book by Thomas Lovell Beddoes, and some from other works by him.

I thought this must be a Jacobean writer I wasn't aware of, or someone who collected Jacobean poetry - I just looked the book up and was very surprised to see that this work was actually written as a pastiche in the early 19th century! Definitely a book I'd like to read soon.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I also love authors who use quotes, Judy :) I have just finished, "Hangman's Holiday," the 'extra' book of short stories we have this month. If anyone is considering it, I can say it is a very good read. It begins with 4 LPW stories. These are followed by 6 Montague Egg short stories and then 2 stand alone stories. If you did just want to read the LPW stories, they are all at the beginnning.


message 20: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Thinking about this book I am now thinking, thanks to what some of you have said, that I dont think it was based on a real town. I feel it lacks the "personal experience" that makes much of Sayers very interesting and enjoyable. I dont know if she had a place in mind and I feel that the locals etc are very clichéd and hard to believe in. with her best books while of course she is wrting to make a living, a lot of her real life creeps in.. like Oxford, or the Advertising agency or London life in the 20s.. for say Bellona Club...(I'm not including the 9 Tailors because I just have never liked that book much but I suppose it has a lot of DLS's childhood life in it).
I suppose as a middle class child, she knew a bit about watering places wehre clerical and professional families went for a break or moved to in retirement.. and as a clerical daughter, she knew about a small community like in Unnatural Death, where a lot of middle class people were very involved In the church..


message 21: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 893 comments Judy wrote, I just looked the book up and was very surprised to see that this work was actually written as a pastiche in the early 19th century!”

I am behind the group (still haven’t finished Five Red Herrings, though I’m enjoying it), but now I can’t wait to dive in to Have His Carcase! There are few things more delightful to me than pastiches of Jacobean poetry or drama. Can anyone remember the title of that extraordinary play (came out in the 1970s maybe) that was a takeoff of Jacobean drama? Have been wanting to reread it forever. Something about a stolen text, and murder.


message 22: by Judy (last edited Aug 06, 2016 11:04AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
Don't think I've heard about that play, Abigail, but I'd be very interested to know more.

One of the things I love about Sayers is the amount of literary allusion - characters constantly speak in quotations! I was just thinking it would be great to have an annotated version of Have His Carcase, and suddenly remembered that HJ posted a link to a site with a lot of annotations earlier in the challenge - I thought this only covered a couple of the books, but it actually covers most of them, including our current read.

http://planetpeschel.com/the-wimsey-a...


message 23: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I've just watched the first episode of the BBC adaptation, starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter, which isn't out on DVD in the UK but is on YouTube - I thought it was very good. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.


message 24: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Cannot STAND Harriet Walter.. she looks in Strong Poison like she was the murderess. I know that Harreit Vane is not the most lovable character, but Walter gives her this snarly vicious edge..


message 25: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1439 comments Nadine wrote: "Cannot STAND Harriet Walter.. she looks in Strong Poison like she was the murderess. I know that Harreit Vane is not the most lovable character, but Walter gives her this snarly vicious edge.."

I didn't like her as Harriet either. I remember when it was on PBS years ago.


message 26: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I really like her, but I preferred the actor playing Bunter in the earlier series, Glyn Houston, to the one in these, Richard Morant, though he is fine - Houston has more humour.


message 27: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments The Bunter in the Peter-Harriet series is a bit too snarky than he should be, in my opinion. Mr. Houston was more like the Bunter of the books.


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I am away next week, although I will try to post (please forgive typos next week if I am mostly using my phone!). I have opened the thread for our 'extra' book. The first four stories in this book are the LPW stories, if you want to join in, but perhaps not read all of the book (although, personally, I think the two stand-alone stories in the collection are the best in the book, while the Montague Egg stories - about a travelling salesman - are also very enjoyable).


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) I just started reading this yesterday so will be playing catch-up *:D


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) I just started yesterday and, like pghfan, am enjoying the chemistry between Harriet and Lord Peter. I loved the way they conspired to make up a completely ludicrous past for the body. *:D


message 31: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments I find Harriet's snarking at him very annoying. I think that Peter is a pest, to be honest, with her. If a girl is THAT rude with you all the time, she doesn't like you... so while I think that DLS thought it was romatnic of him to keep on pursuing, I think it si rather stupid at best...


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
However, DLS does give Harriet moment's when she obviously cares about what LP thinks or where he is. He is, after all, a Lord and she may be worried about falling for him. People already perceive her badly as a possible murderess - if she were with LP she could be seen as a gold digger as well. She is in a really difficult position - trying to make her own living and she has been hurt before. Also, the rules that are in place now - if you tell a guy you're not interested, it is expected he will go away or be seen as harassing you - were not the same social rules then.


message 33: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 63 comments I'm just beginning this book. Sayers certainly comes up with great TOCs. I'm thinking of the previous one too, FRH.


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) I have been grinning at the references to Harriet's admiring LP's body.....


message 35: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Susan wrote: "However, DLS does give Harriet moment's when she obviously cares about what LP thinks or where he is. He is, after all, a Lord and she may be worried about falling for him. People already perceive ..."
I think thtat after a few YEARS if a man has been pursuing you and you keep on saying no, it would have been clear to most men that they were not wanted. Persistence in a romatntic cause may have looked romantic then, but even so there must have been limits...


message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I am not clear on how long LP has been pursuing Harriet by this book. Has he even seen her since he saved her life a couple of books back? He just seems to pop up when she's in trouble so far. After all, she was a possible suspect in this book too.


message 37: by Judy (last edited Aug 14, 2016 09:27AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I think these sorts of pursuits and refusal to take no for an answer were possibly seen as more romantic in the 1930s and 40s.

For instance Fred often chases Ginger all over the place after she has told him to get lost in the early Astaire-Rogers romantic comedies, which can sometimes feel quite uncomfortable even though I'm a big fan, and there are similar plots in quite a few screwball films.


message 38: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9405 comments Mod
I also meant to add that the competitive dialogue between Peter and Harriet sometimes reminds me of screwball films!


message 39: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments Susan wrote: "I am not clear on how long LP has been pursuing Harriet by this book. Has he even seen her since he saved her life a couple of books back? He just seems to pop up when she's in trouble so far. Afte..."

I think in HHC -it is about 2 years, by the time she finally gives way in GN its 5 years...
And yes he has seen her.. for a while after SP, he took her out, and she would sit and snarl all throuigh dinner, which kind of negate the point at the end of S Poison when her freinds say that he wont come to her, he will wait for her to come to him.
I dont think that you can compare the Harriet and Peter situaton which is in a serious detective novel/serious novel to a romantci comedy like Fred and Ginger. Of course in a movie the couple are going to be together... we know that, so if he goes on pursuing her, its all a fun thing
but thsi is meant to be a realistic novel, and I think that it is a bit off putting. Peter DOES pursue Harriet, and though she is rude ot him and continually turns down his proposals he keeps on. And while she's rude, I dont get the feeling that she really realy wants to say no to him..


message 40: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1439 comments I'm still relatively at the beginning - maybe 12% in - and I seem to recall a conversation between them where she kind of encourages him (maybe it was a mental conversation she was having) by admitting she can't marry the person who got her off for murder, especially a Lord, at least not now. And now that she may be in trouble again it would still have to be put off. And she didn't want to call him to come to her rescue again. She appears to think that they have to meet on some kind of common ground.

At least that's what I think happen. Of course, I have read it before.


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) Nadine wrote: "Susan wrote: "I am not clear on how long LP has been pursuing Harriet by this book. Has he even seen her since he saved her life a couple of books back? He just seems to pop up when she's in troubl..."

I agree with you Nadine, that she doesn't really want to turn him down. And I think he is slowly growing on her. She is beginning to appreciate his good qualities and even admires his physique!

Good point Jan C. I agree that they need to meet on common ground that has nothing to do with getting her off one murder charge or the suspicion of another.

Nearly finished.


message 42: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments well that's the point of Gaudy Night, but I can't help dislike Harriet (OK I Used to like her now she irritates me). I feel that she could have said a firm no, that would have put off even Peter, after a time....


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I have never read these books before (only the pre-Harriet ones) so I haven't quite made up my mind about her yet. However, Bunter was distinctly uncomfortable about the idea of a woman entering LP's life in Poison, but, in this novel, he accompanies LP and Harriet to the beach. So, perhaps he is feeling less threatened as he gets to know her.


message 44: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments I think Harriet might have some attraction to Lord P after Strong Poison, but was more interested in trying to get her life back in order after that awful ordeal and so rejected him at that time. (Remember, that the TV version had a somewhat different ending than the book.) In Carcase, she is again both uncomfortable and exhilarated with the prospect of a real-life murder. She is torn between wanting to solve it and wanting to be left alone, once again, to recover from the trauma. So, ambivalent about Lord P.


message 45: by Diane (new)

Diane | 65 comments I think she really is attracted to Peter. She likes intellectual challenges and he is not some mindless aristocrat only interested in hunting. I think she is also aware that her salvation from the noose by Peter and her poverty would create an unbalanced relationship and perhaps she even resents his saving her a bit. Gratitude can be difficult to bear. Also she just got out of a relationship that she had thought was good and is probably afraid to repeat it and, as Pghfan said, she is more interested in getting her life back together.
If she really didn't care about Peter, she would not have made a point of buying a wine colored dress.


message 46: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Sutton | 197 comments well yes of course she does care for him, she does end up marrying him. But I find the whole "peter and Harriet LONG drawn out" courtship annoying. I think that DLS meant it to be romantic.. that Peter never gives up etc.. but really he rather comes across as a fool or a sex pest. if Harriet was going out to dinner with him often, as we're told she did, after teh events of SP, why? At the end of SP, H's friend says "he wont chase after YOU, he isn't going to ask you out because he saved you, you will have to send for him.."
but clearly that's not what happened. He does ask her out, and she goes.. but then is rude and sulky on their dates. And Peter persists and keeps on with his proposals...
I can't help feeling that the whole situation is a bit ridiculous and unlovable. Peter is pursuing a woman who repeatedly turns down his proposals, and acts snarky when they go on a date. (So he IS still chasing her even though we're told that he woudl not do that).
SHE says she doesn't care for him, doesn't want to marry, does not want to marry HIM, and yet she goes on going out wth him...


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) I think Harriet is torn. She is attracted to LP, but has reservations. I think Lord P is truly in love with her, 'smitten', and I don's see him as coming across as a fool or sex pest. he has seemed to have stayed away from her for some time (I think 2 years has been mentioned as the period between Strong Poison and Have His Carcase. It seems to me that they have only met up again because he has come flying to her defence. Personally, I don't find anything annoying in their non-relationship. it's more a case of "how is she going to turn him down this time?" with me. But we are all different and each to his/her own. *:D


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10509 comments Mod
I haven't read the Harriet books before LP is certainly not coming across as a pest to me. He is generally quite irritating in a sense - it's his persona, isn't it? Anyway, I haven't yet made up my mind about Harriet, or what I think about her. I need to read the rest of the books first I think.


message 49: by Damaskcat (new)

Damaskcat | 186 comments Judy wrote: "Must agree the portrayal of the seaside town is excellent - I know Sayers says in a note at the start that she invented the locality and it is "entirely imaginary", but I'm still wondering if she h..."

I too love the picture which is painted of the seaside town. I can imagine I am there while I'm reading. This book has always been one of my favourites.


message 50: by Damaskcat (new)

Damaskcat | 186 comments Nadine wrote: "I find Harriet's snarking at him very annoying. I think that Peter is a pest, to be honest, with her. If a girl is THAT rude with you all the time, she doesn't like you... so while I think that DLS..."

I don't actually think she is rude. I think it is just robust dialogue. It is very difficult to be grateful to someone and it is human nature to lash out verbally at the person you are grateful to. I think DLS has got this aspect of their relationship absolutely spot on.


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