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Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions (1937)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane (4), Lord Peter Wimsey (13)

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3,917933,086 (4.19)264
Fiction. Mystery. Society's eligible women are in mourning. Lord Peter Wimsey has married at last, having finally succeeded in his ardent pursuit of the lovely mystery novelist Harriet Vane. The two depart for a tranquil honeymoon in a country farmhouse but find, instead of a well-prepared love nest, the place left in a shambles by the previous owner. His sudden appearance, dead from a broken skull in the cellar, only prompts more questions. Why would anyone have wanted to kill old Mr Noakes? What dark secrets had he to hide? The honeymoon is over, as Lord Peter and Harriet Vane start their investigations. Suspicion is rife and everyone seems to have something to hide, from the local constable to the housekeeper. Wimsey and his wife can think of plenty of theories, but it's not until they discover a vital fact that the identity of the murderer becomes clear.… (more)
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English (87)  Danish (3)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers has sat on my shelf for some time but was certainly well worth the wait. This book will be remembered as my favorite of the series highlighting as it does both the author’s style and her wonderful characters. We are celebrating the marriage of Lord Peter and Harriet Vane but I have to admit I was most thrilled that Lord Peter’s manservant, Bunther, was front and center in this offering.

Instead of going somewhere exotic for their honeymoon, Peter and Harriet slip away from their wedding and go to their newly purchased country home bringing Bunther along with them. Much to their surprise and although they had sent instructions, the house was far from ready for them. When the previous owner is discovered dead and most likely murdered, Harriet, Peter, and of course, Bunther have a mystery to solve.

In Busman’s Honeymoon we get to really appreciate the relationship between Harriet and Peter and can see that this is going to be a very successful marriage. The mixture of romance and murder mystery was very well done, and we also got to see a softer, more sensitive side to Lord Peter than he usually shows. My favorite line of the book was when Harriet declared her love for Peter but said she could happily marry Bunther. Of course Lord Peter totally agreed with her. This is the final book in the series and I am going to miss reading about these characters. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 7, 2024 |
This is a personal favorite of the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Henrietta Vines and Lord Peter are finally married and set out on their honeymoon only to discover a dead body in the cellar of their vacation home. One reason this book is so delightful is that it is nice to watch the interactions of the two characters. The first half of the book starts with the introduction of a rich cast of characters from a rural village. The second half is, of course, involved in solving the mystery but offers plenty of time for the interaction of the two main characters. A very entertaining read. ( )
  M_Clark | Oct 17, 2023 |
This is the book in which Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane get married. The mystery is incidental. I loved it! ( )
  Eurekas | May 1, 2023 |
Re-read, November 2021: I maintain my theory that reading the Lord Peter books in order is almost a mistake...I think if I had started with the very first one, I would not have felt a strong inclination to read any more. No, it's in the quartet of books featuring Harriet Vane that Peter develops into a complex human. And the process of finding his fragile, painful, extraordinary balance with Harriet is the thing that actually matters.

Busman's Honeymoon is an exquisitely written story of the beginning of a marriage of two equal minds. It's unique and it's thought-provoking.

---------------------
Original review:

This is either a love story with detective interruptions, or the other way round. Either way, one is certain to prefer one part of it over the other, and I definitely prefer the interludes between Lord Peter and his new bride. Not only are they very much in love, they are incredibly honest, communicative, and generous with each other about the adjustment that married life means. They have both found rest from the weary world, in each other.

Here's one of my favorite of their exchanges:

"Harriet," he said, suddenly, "what do you think about life? I mean, do you find it good on the whole. Worth living?"
(He could, at any rate, trust her not to protest, archly: "That's a nice thing to ask on one's honeymoon!")
She turned to him with a quick readiness, as though here was the opportunity to say something she had been wanting to say for a long time:
"Yes! I've always felt absolutely certain it was good--if only one could get it straightened out. I've hated almost everything that ever happened to me, but I
knew all the time it was just things that were wrong, not everything....It seems like a miracle to be able to look forward--to--to see all the minutes in front of one come hopping along with something marvelous in them, instead of just saying, Well, that one didn't actually hurt and the next may be quite bearable if only something beastly doesn't come pouncing out--"
"As bad as that?"
"No, not really, because one got used to it--to being everlastingly tightened up to face things, you see. But when one doesn't have to anymore, it's different--I can't tell you what a difference it makes."


Harriet's line has stayed with me ever since I first read it years ago, and I sometimes say it to myself--"It's just things that are wrong, not everything." I find it profound.

That Dorothy Sayers really has a gift for words.

Just a note on the text: There are a ton of classical allusions here, most of which I don't get, as I'm not good on Latin and my knowledge of poetry is patchy. Doesn't affect my enjoyment. There are also a few passages in French. But that's what Google Translate is for.
On re-reading this in 2021, I found an absolutely invaluable site here where someone has done a beautiful job with annotations and translations chapter by chapter. ( )
1 vote Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
Lord Peter Wimsey
  SueJBeard | Jan 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayers, Dorothy L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marber, RomekCover designersecondary 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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Fiction. Mystery. Society's eligible women are in mourning. Lord Peter Wimsey has married at last, having finally succeeded in his ardent pursuit of the lovely mystery novelist Harriet Vane. The two depart for a tranquil honeymoon in a country farmhouse but find, instead of a well-prepared love nest, the place left in a shambles by the previous owner. His sudden appearance, dead from a broken skull in the cellar, only prompts more questions. Why would anyone have wanted to kill old Mr Noakes? What dark secrets had he to hide? The honeymoon is over, as Lord Peter and Harriet Vane start their investigations. Suspicion is rife and everyone seems to have something to hide, from the local constable to the housekeeper. Wimsey and his wife can think of plenty of theories, but it's not until they discover a vital fact that the identity of the murderer becomes clear.

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