Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers

 

Historical Mystery

Busman's Honeymoon Busman’s HoneymoonDorothy L. Sayers; HarperTorch 1995WorldCatLord Peter Wimsey has finally convinced Harriet Vane to become Lady Peter. They let his sister-in-law plan the society wedding and elaborate honeymoon. To her chagrin and to confound the press, they get married a few days earlier in a quiet, small ceremony, then sneak off to her childhood area. They’ve bought the old estate in Paggleham for their own home and go there for their honeymoon.

But the day after they arrive, the body of the former owner is found at the bottom of the cellar stairs. He appears to have been murdered, presumably a week earlier. Now Peter is divided between his natural curiosity and bent for criminology and his new bride and home. The couple hadn’t expected to have their marriage tested so quickly. Now they get to learn more about each other’s mettle and the neighborhood where they now have a home.

Mr. Noakes, the former owner, was nasty and a skin-flint. He had cheated numerous people in the area out of small sums of money that were all they had. A debt collector from London arrives on the Wimsey’s new doorstep soon after the body is found. Others arrive later to start collecting the old man’s furniture. (Fortunately, Peter had made sure the house wasn’t entailed before the purchase.) The gardener is upset about the money Noakes had promised to pay on his return. Noake’s niece is upset that he didn’t repay her or that there isn’t any estate for her to inherit. The local policeman was being blackmailed by the old man. Even the housekeeper didn’t have anything nice to say about the man. There are a number of people who would like to see him dead.

Dorothy L. Sayers again combines a good mystery with an enjoyable personal story. Busman’s Honeymoon is a locked room detective story as well as a who-done-it. It takes figuring out the how in order to finally discover the who. I wished that I had a French-English dictionary on hand when reading this. I’ve missed some of the personal nuances because my French is very rusty.

There were times I found the book slow – the mystery keeps winding back on itself because of the hidden solution. The personal interaction between Peter and Harriet kept me going, so by the time it picked up again and sailed to the end, I was once again engrossed. For good, classic detective fiction, you’ll not go wrong with Busman’s Honeymoon or any of the other Sayers novels.

More books by Dorothy L. Sayers
Lord Peter Wimsey series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

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