Given my love of detective fiction (see my blog addiction to crime fiction) I’m not quite sure how I went so long before picking up a book by Dorothy L Sayers. It took the fabulous Lucy Worsley to recommend Gaudy Night on her TV programme A Very British Murder to get me to put it on my wishlist and I then got it for Christmas from my Mum. My sister promptly told me that the next one to read was Murder must advertise given its appropriateness still today to the world of working in an office. Between Christmas and Easter I read them both.
Gaudy night was my favourite as it whisks you into the world of an all women’s college in Oxford where the fabulous Harriet Vane has to get to the bottom of strange happenings, with a little help from Sayers’ famous detective Lord Peter Wimsey. This particularly appealed to me, having spent three years in an all women’s college at Cambridge, albeit it sixty years after this is set. It’s a brilliant read, perfectly paced, and was very un-put-downable. I felt like I was making my way through the colleges and 1930s Oxford as I read it.
Murder must advertise is fantastic in a different way. In a pre ‘Mad Men’ era it captures in immense detail the world of London advertising agencies, and you feel like you are living through the working week alongside the characters. Again the scene setting was so good I felt like I’d been up and down the stairs and in the building myself, and having previously worked for clients in former jobs, my sister was right – it felt like not much has changed in the intervening years.
If you like detective fiction, I hope you haven’t been as remiss as I was in skipping over Dorothy L Sayers.