Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneThe Abominable History of the Man With Copper FingersThe Egotists' Club is one of the most genial places in London. It is a place to which you may go when you want to tell that odd dream you had last night, or to announce what a good dentist you have discovered. You can write letters there if you like, and have the temperament of a Jane Austen, for there is no silence room, and it would be a breach of club manners to appear busy or absorbed when another member addresses you. You must not mention golf or fish, however, and, if the Hon. Freddy Arbuthnot's motion is carried at the next committee meeting (and opinion so far appears very favourable), you will not be allowed to mention wireless either. As Lord Peter Wimsey said when the matter was mooted the other day in the smoking-room, those are things you can talk about anywhere. Otherwise the club is not specially exclusive. Nobody is ineligible "per se, except strong, silent men. Nominees are, however, required to pass certain tests, whose nature is sufficiently indicated by the fact that a certain distinguished explorer came to grief through accepting, and smoking, a powerful Trichinopoly cigar as an accompaniment to a '63 port. On the other hand, dear old Sir Roger Bunt (the coster millionaire who won the £ 20,000 ballot offered by the "Sunday Shriek, and used it to found his immense catering business in the Midlands) was highly commended and unanimously elected after declaring frankly that beer and a pipe were all he really cared for in that way. As Lord Peter said again: "Nobody minds coarseness but one must draw the line at cruelty."On this particular evening, Masterman (the cubist poet) had brought a guest withhim, a man named Varden. Varden had started life as a professional athlete, but a strained heart had obliged him to cut short a brilliant career, and turn his handsome face and remarkably beautiful body to account in the service of the cinema screen. He had come to London from Los Angeles to stimulate publicity for his great new film, "Marathon, and turned out to be quite a pleasant, unspoiled person -- greatly to the relief of the club, since Masterman's guests were apt to be something of a toss-up.There were only eight men, including Varden, in the brown room that evening. This, with its panelled walls, shaded lamps, and heavy blue curtains, was perhaps the cosiest and pleasantest of the small smoking-rooms, of which the club possessed half a dozen or so. The conversation had begun quite casually by Armstrong's relating a curious little incident which he had witnessed that afternoon at Temple Station, and Bayes had gone on to say that that was nothing to the really very odd thing which had happened to him, personally, in a thick fog one night in the Euston Road.Masterman said that the more secluded London squares teemed with subjects for a writer, and instanced his own singular encounter with a weeping woman and a dead monkey, and then Judson took up the tale and narrated how, in a lonely suburb, late at night, he had come upon the dead body of a woman stretched on the pavement with a knife in her side and a policeman standing motionless near by. He had asked if he could do anything, but the policeman had only said, "I wouldn't interfere if I was you, sir; she deserved what she got." Judson said he had not been able to get the incident out of his mind, and then Pettifer told them of aqueer case in his own medical practice, when a totally unknown man had led him to a house in Bloomsbury where there was a woman suffering from strychnine poisoning. This man had helped him in the most intelligent manner all night, and, when the patient was out of danger, had walked straight out of the house and never reappeared; the odd thing being that, when he (Pettifer) questioned the woman, she answered in great surprise that she had never seen the man in her life and had taken him to be Pettifer's assistant."That reminds me," said Varden, "of something still stranger that happened to me once in New York -- I've never been able to make out whether it was a madman or a practical joke, or whether I really had a very narrow shave."This sounded promising, and the guest was urged to go on with his story."Well, it really started ages ago," said the actor, "seven years it must have been -- just before America came into the war. I was twenty-five at the time, and had been in the film business a little over two years. There was a man called Eric P. Loder, pretty well known in New York at that period, who would have been a very fine sculptor if he hadn't had more money than was good for him, or so I understood from the people who go in for that sort of thing. He used to exhibit a good deal and had a lot of one-man shows of his stuff to which the highbrow people went -- he did a good many bronzes, I believe. Perhaps you know about him, Masterman?""I've never seen any of his things," said the poet, "but I remember some photographs in "The Art of Tomorrow. Clever, but rather overripe. Didn't he go in for a lot of that chryselephantine stuff? Just to show he could afford to pay for the materials,I suppose.""Yes, that sounds very like him.""Of course -- and he did a very slick and very ugly realistic group called Lucina, and had the impudence to have it cast in solid gold and stood in his front hall.""Oh, that thing! Yes -- simply beastly I thought it, but then I never could see anything..."
All of the short stories by "one of the greatest mystery story writers" ("Los Angeles Times") is collected for the first time in one volume. This delightfully gruesome compendium of puzzles and baffling cases features such favorites as Lord Peter Wimsey, one of fiction's most popular detectives, and working class salesman-sleuth Montague Egg.
Gathered here for the first time in one volume are all the short stories by the legendary mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers. In this beguiling collection, Sayers conveys in her incomparable way the gruesome, the grotesque, and the bewitching.
Here is the inimitable aristocrat, Lord Peter Wimsey, one of fiction's most popular detectives of all time, up to his usual exploits as he solves tantalizing puzzles, as only he can. And then there's the clever working-class salesman-sleuth, Montague Egg, who uses his everyday smarts to solve the cases that baffle the professionals.
A sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings, Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories is a mystery lover's treasure trove of the amusing and appalling things that happen on the way to the gallows.
A sure treat for Dorothy L. Sayers's legions of fans, The Complete Stories is the ultimate collectible. This delightfully gruesome collection captures all of Sayers's short stories in one volume. The tantalizing puzzles and baffling cases will provide mystery lovers with a sumptuous feast of criminal doings and all those amusing and appalling things that happen on the way to the gallows.
About the Author
Dorothy L. Sayers is the author of novels, short stories, poetry collections, essays, reviews and translations. Although she was a noted Christian scholar, she is most known for her detective fiction. Born in 1893, she was one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Oxford University. Her first book featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Whose Body?, was published in 1923 and over the next 20 years more novels and short stories about the aristocratic amateur sleuth appeared. Dorothy L. Sayers is recognized as one of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century.
Letter from the Editor:
Dorothy L. Sayers is recognized as one of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century. In 1923, Whose Body?, her first book, featuring the aristocratic amateur sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, was published, and over the next 20 years more novels and short stories appeared. All 15 of Sayers' mysteries are available from HarperPaperbacks.
Now there is a new Dorothy L. Sayers novel. A long-lost partial manuscript titled Thrones, Dominions was discovered last year, and acclaimed mystery writer Jill Paton Walsh has completed it. St. Martin's Press will publish this book in February. This is a signal publishing event, and HarperCollins congratulates St. Martin's Press.
We are sure that Thrones, Dominions will delight Sayers' fans and find new ones for her, and in the process whet appetites for Sayers' other mysteries. A list of these books is attached. In the words of Dorothy L. Sayers herself, "Murder must advertise." So, in addition to an announcement about Thrones, Dominions in a recent issue of Publisher's Weekly, the next edition of the HarperCollins mystery newsletter, Deadline, will include a piece on the Sayers books, as will St. Martin's Press' newsletter, Murder at the Flatiron Building. HarperCollins will also feature information about the Sayers' backlist on its web page.
Dorothy L. Sayers died in 1957, but her books continue to enthrall readers today. Please help us celebrate the doyenne of the Golden Age of the Mystery, Dorothy L. Sayers.