Friday, April 03, 2020

Busman's Honeymoon

Busman's Honeymoon / Dorothy L. Sayers
New English Library, 2003, c1937.
451 p.
This is the final volume in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and it shows Peter and Harriet on their honeymoon.

Gaudy Night was such a lovely book, really perfection. The series should have ended there, at its high point. This book, unfortunately, for me, is a real anticlimax. 

In this novel, the newlyweds head off to a house in the country, where they find an unprepared, unwelcoming dark house. They can't understand why, but go in anyhow. Then, a few days later, they find the body of the owner in the cellar. 

So two fine detectives ignore a strange situation, and then find a body days later. I can understand being distracted by being a newlywed, but really! The mystery is slow and miniscule here, the focus is on Peter and Harriet and their relationship. There are lengthy sections in which their repressed emotions are struggling to escape, which leads to an overheated and sometimes slightly incomprehensible flight of Sayers' predilection for quotations. 

While it was delightful to see more of these two wonderful characters, I did feel that once the marriage happened, the tension between them that was holding the stories tautly had disappeared. This story is pretty weak and sentimental in comparison to most of her other stories, at least to my readerly eyes. 

It's not terrible -- there are some clever bits and the murder weapon actually made me laugh a bit, it was so unexpected and slightly silly. There are lovely parts, but overall I found it too sentimental and ridiculous. It was nice to finish the series, but I'd recommend that you read this one only in order, and only if you want to find out what happens to Peter and Harriet once they've settled down together. 

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