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Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers
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Busman's Honeymoon (original 1937; edition 1987)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

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2,650None2,238 (4.2)113
Member:JaneSteen
Title:Busman's Honeymoon
Authors:Dorothy L. Sayers
Info:HarperPerennial (1987), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Rating:****
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Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (1937)

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English (51)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I am torn. The mystery was meh, but you don't really read Dorothy L. Sayers for the mysteries. You read because Peter and Harriet are the greatest: they are both crazy smart, constantly tossing out obscure literary references like it's NBD, and committed to JUSTICE. They are one of my most favorite bookish couples, but this goes to show that, while I do love (and demand) a little romance, I can only bear it in very small, restrained doses. Instead of witty banter exchanged in the midst of clue-searching, we are exposed to besotted Peter and Harriet talking about their utter and complete happiness, quoting poetry to one another to express their most ardent feelings, and (horrors) Harriet essentially taking a back seat because she doesn't want to get in the way. She throws out a few ideas regarding the mystery, but spends most of her time worrying about Peter. Boo, Harriet!
  amy_marie26 | Apr 9, 2014 |
"A love story with detective interruptions" definitely says it, if you take "love story" as more literary than romance. It does kind of feel like two books sometimes (maybe Middlemarch meets a well-written mystery novel), but toward the very end they converge beautifully. I can't say I love it as much as Gaudy Night, but that may be because I'm just such a Harriet Vane fan, and this book is less about her as an individual and more about how she and her husband (and his long-time attendant) figure out what life will be like together. ( )
  Amy.Scott | Nov 21, 2013 |
By this point in her series, Sayers has indisputably committed an unforgivable sin in writing: falling in love with her own protagonist. In every book, Lord Peter Wimsey has become more and more of a superman; he even gets taller and better-looking as the books progress. (under 5'9'' in the first book, he is a little under 6' by the last) He goes from an underdeveloped fair-haired Bertie Wooster to a sleek, muscled, intelligent, superhero by the end, who can do everything, from playing the piano like a maestro to swimming to rowing. Needless to say, he is lovable in the beginning, insufferable by the end. Even worse, she writes herself into her books--not, in the Agatha Christie style, as a wittering, absent-minded, endearing Ariadne Ollivers who eats about 20 apples a day and sheds hairpins wherever she goes, but as the persecuted, brilliant, and "oddly captivating" herione (at least, so were are told, by our clearly unbiased narrator) who MARRIES her detective. Both become increasingly, obnoxiously, and sickeningly perfect as time goes on. ugh. They become embarrassing, like reading the effusions of a 13-year-old writing fantasy fiction, where it is painfully clear that the authoress is the heroine and the hero is the Man Of Her Dreams. This book is so sickening in the romantic outpourings of the daydreaming author that it is difficult to read and somewhat of a disappointing end to the series; however, the side characters are still entertaining and enjoyable, and although it is difficult to appreciate the perfect-man-Wimsey, one gets flashes every so often of the human character he was before he was placed on his pedestal. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
The newlyweds Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane elope the tedious press after their wedding, and head for their newly bought country house. But coming there, they find it less than satisfactory. The doors are locked, the fireplaces all sooted up and there are traces of the previous owner everywhere. Even the beds are still full of used sheets. And in trying to get the house in order, it becomes more than apparent that the seller Mr. Noakes, isn’t up for any local popularity awards. After a couple of days they find him in the basement with his head smashed in. And, trying to get the house in order, they have effectively cleaned away all clues themselves…

This is a kind of literature I seldom visit, the clever mystery richer in wit than in blood, where refined detectives jovially put two and two together. And, even though I liked the smart sense of humor and the banter shared by the newly wed couple here, I often felt a bit out of place. It just isn’t my cuppa, this.

However, as the mystery unfolds and continues to elude Lord Peter and Harriet, a darker streak starts to glimpse. This murder is really destroying their honeymoon. It appalls them. And in finally solving it, there is remorse and bad thoughts connected with condemning the culprit. There may not be that much blood on the floor here, but there is blood in the characters, making this a book about middle aged love and obsession more than detatched puzzle solving. Much as I enjoy Bunter’s stiff upper lip and Sayers ear for the way people speak, this gloom is what in the end pushes the book up to four stars for me. ( )
  GingerbreadMan | Sep 16, 2013 |
I can't imagine reading Busman's Honeymoon for the mystery. By this point, the mystery is decidedly secondary to the characters and their relationship -- the pace is slow, and domestic details abound. I think we might learn more about Peter and Bunter than we do in any other book from how they behave in this one -- but much as I love it, I can completely understand why people who don't have any attachment to the characters (whether through not reading the previous books or just not caring for the character side of things) really dislike it.

For those who love the characters, this is lovely, tender, passionate, a little bit harrowing, and funny. Peter's happiness is delightful, and so is Harriet's ability to keep up with him.

And now I've realised that this is the last pure Sayers in my Wimsey reread. I have no doubt I'll be starting back with Whose Body? again before long. ( )
  shanaqui | Sep 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy L. Sayersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bleck,CathieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. . . . I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split . . . a lover is more condoling.
Shakespeare: A Midsummer-Night's Dream.
Dedication
TO MURIEL ST. CLARE BYRNE,
HELEN SIMPSON AND
MARJORIE BARBER

Dear Muriel, Helen, and Bar,
With what extreme of womanly patience you listened to the tale of Busman's Honeymoon while it was being written, the Lord He knoweth. I do not like to think how many times I tired the sun with talking--and if at any time they had told me you were dead, I should easily have believed that I had talked you into your graves. But you have strangely survived to receive these thanks.
You, Muriel, were in some sort a predestined victim, since you wrote with me the play to which this novel is but the limbs and outward flourishes; my debt and your long-suffering are all the greater. You, Helen and Bar, were wantonly sacrificed on the altar of that friendship of which the female sex is said to be incapable; let the lie stick i' the wall!
To all three I humbly bring, I dedicate with tears, this sentimental comedy.
It has been said, by myself and others, that a love-interest is only an intrusion upon a detective story. But to the characters involved, the detective-interest might well seem an irritating intrusion upon their love-story. This book deals with such a situation. It also provides some sort of answer to many kindly inquiries as to how Lord Peter and his Harriet solved their matrimonial problem. If there is but a ha'porth of detection to an intolerable deal of saccharine, let the occasion be the excuse.
Yours in all gratitute,
Dorothy L. Sayers
First words
Prothalamion:
MARRIAGES
WIMSEY-VANE.
Chapter I:
Mr. Mervyn Bunter, patiently seated in the Daimler on the far side of Regent's Park, reflected that time was getting on.
Quotations
... May I express the hope that the present union may happily exemplify that which we find in a first-class port---strength of body fortified by a first-class spirit and mellowing through many years to a noble maturity. [Bunter's wedding toast]
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Note: Busman's Honeymoon subtitled A Love Story with Detective Interruptions is a novel by Dorothy L. Sayers. It should not be confused with Busman's Honeymoon subtitled A Detective Comedy in Three Acts, a play, which was penned by Dorothy L. Sayers and M[uriel] St. Clare Byrne.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043516, Mass Market Paperback)

Murder is hardly the best way for Lord Peter and his bride, the famous mystery writer Harriet Vane, to start their honeymoon. It all begins when the former owner of their newly acquired estate is found quite nastily dead in the cellar. All too quickly, what Lord Peter had hoped would be a very private and romantic stay in the country has turned into a most baffling case, with a misspelled "notise" to the milkman at its center and a dead man who's been discovered in a most intriguing condition: with not a spot of blood on his smashed skull and not a penny less than six hundred pounds in his pocket.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:24 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Lord Peter and his bride arrive at their honeymoon cottage in the country, everything seems perfect. Though the owner of the house is nowhere to be found, Lord Peter and Harriet settle down, first to an elegant dinner and then to sleep in a soft goosefeather bed. All is splendid until the owner of the house turns up-- in the cellar, very dead.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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