Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Gaudy Night (1935)

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane (3), Lord Peter Wimsey (12)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0071341,748 (4.33)1 / 499
Harriet Vane's Oxford reunion is shadowed by a rash of bizarre pranks and malicious mischief that include beautifully worded death threats, burnt effigies, and vicious poison-pen letters, and Harriet finds herself and Lord Peter Wimsey challenged by an elusive set of clues.
  1. 50
    A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold (PhoenixFalls)
    PhoenixFalls: A Civil Campaign is Lois McMaster Bujold's attempt to replicate Gaudy Night -- with an infusion of Georgette Heyer -- in her long-running Vorkosigan Saga.
  2. 30
    The Late Scholar by Jill Paton Walsh (merry10)
    merry10: The Late Scholar is Jill Paton Walsh's further exploration of Dorothy L. Sayers' themes in Gaudy Night.
  3. 20
    Death Among the Dons by Janet Neel (littlegreycloud)
    littlegreycloud: A murder mystery, an academic setting, an unusual heroine, a knight in shining armour (although John McLeish is more believable than Lord Peter;): check, check, check and check. But most importantly: really good writing.
  4. 20
    A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (zembla)
    zembla: Both feature good banter, a mystery set in a mostly-female environment, and a tentative romance between the sleuth protagonists.
  5. 20
    Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (kraaivrouw)
  6. 32
    A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (bmlg)
    bmlg: lively and engaging depiction of the community of women scholars
  7. 00
    Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes (themulhern)
    themulhern: "Death at the President's Lodging" is a more fun book about people running about an English college in the 1930s in the middle of the night.
1930s (93)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 499 mentions

English (127)  Danish (3)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
I like Dorothy Sayers - read the all - she is a lot like Agatha Christie, but with a little humor. ( )
  kathp | Jun 10, 2022 |
(20) It took me a bit to get into this mystery novel by this highly regarded literary mystery author. (How have I NOT read her work before?) The setting is Oxford maybe early 20th century or so and the book is peppered with allusions and Latin, French, even Greek. The Woman's college at Oxford with its own dons, and warden, etc. is where Miss Harriet Vane returns for what seems like a class reunion - the eponymous 'gaudy night.' While there she becomes involved in the mystery of a malicious practical joker who is terrorizing the college - sending nasty notes, stealing things, vandalizing. The dons are trying to deal with the matter internally as publicity would be devastating to the school's reputation - Enter Miss de Vane - a character I am now just encountering that has a perilous history and is courted by this author's serial amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey.

The mystery unfolds slowly - eventually turns out to be a limited group of suspects who are thrown in a room together at the end as Lord Wimsey discusses the deductions that have led him to know the identity of the culprit. No spoilers here - but lets just say -- I didn't guess. But in all fairness, I feel the reader is somewhat purposely misdirected. Anyway, the mystery was delightful, but I felt I was missing things at times because I had never read this series before and I could not keep all the dons straight. I feel Miss Barton, Miss Edwards, Miss Pyle, etc. etc. were not characterized sufficiently for me to keep them straight in my mind to truly participate in the sleuthing. Wait now, which one was that again? Who was where, when? .. Who is she, again? I fear 20 years ago I would not have had this difficulty but my olde(er) brain has trouble without either distinct purposeful characterizations or a 'cast of characters' list to refer back to.

So while not my highest rating, I enjoyed this very much and I think have finally found a new mystery series to read. I have not been able to truly warm up to Rendell's Inspector Wexford, or Josephine Tey, or even Poirot. I think I will look for the first in the series. ( )
  jhowell | Apr 24, 2022 |
Glorious. I knew that a Sayers re-read would have highs and lows — every book thus far has had some kind of racial slur in it, and that’s almost enough of a turn off to stop reading. Lord Peter’s decision to woo Harriet Vane while she was on trial for murder — also a low point.

And then there’s Gaudy Night. The book where I originally fell irrevocably in love with the series. If it let me down, I’d have stopped this nostalgic exploration. Dear reader, it did not. It continues to be a transformative work for me — it is so strongly evocative of both Oxford’s rare and tranquil setting and its fraught and turbulent scholarship. I had two halcyon summers there and this book takes me back there so vividly. I also went to a women’s college, and this book captures that experience as well — thoughtful, brave, embattled women scholars, and the constant pull to put study aside for relationships. All of those things are so central to this story, and the mystery is engrossing as well.

It’s worth reading for all of that, but the part which takes my breath away, again! Is the apology at the end. Possibly one of the most romantic conversations in literature, for me, — Lord Peter realizing that trying to woo Harriet when she was vulnerable was a terrible, damaging, unkind thing to do. And he takes responsibility for it and apologizes for it. And then Harriet makes her own decision about what she wants to do next.

Brings a smile to my face every time. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Not so much a mystery as a long dialogue, this book is very special book about a relationship and about relationships. An exploration of what constitutes an equal relationship and a preview of what our modern day sensibility has come to say about women's liberation. A story within the mystery, a unique mystery novel. "To suppress a fact is to publish a falsehood." To deny an emotion is to betray oneself. An engaging, humor-filled story that nevertheless explores serious themes. ( )
  dbsovereign | Mar 28, 2022 |
If you're a fan of the eccentric English mystery with lots of references to the Bible, Greek myth and myriads more you'll love this book. ( )
  charlie68 | Oct 13, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy L. Sayersprimary authorall editionscalculated
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledwidge, NatachaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDowell, JaneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
The University is a Paradise. Rivers of Knowledge are there. Arts and Sciences flow from thence. Counsell Tables are Horti conclusi, (as it is said in the Canticles) Gardens that are walled in, and they are Fontes signati. Wells that are sealed up; bottomless depths of unsearchable Counsels there.

John Donne
First words
Harriet Vane sat at her writing-table and stared out into Mecklenburg Square.
[Introduction] I came to the wonderful detective novels of Dorothy L. Sayers in a way that would probably make that distinguished novelist spin in her grave.
[Author's Note] It would be idle to deny that the City and University of Oxford (in aeternum floreant) do actually exist, and contain a number of colleges and other buildings, some of which are mentioned by name in this book.
'The social principle seems to be,' suggested Miss Pyke, 'that we should die for our own fun and not other people's.' 'Of course I admit,' said Miss Barton, rather angrily, 'that murder must be prevented and murderers kept from doing further harm. But they ought not to be punished and they certainly ought not to be killed.' 'I suppose they ought to be kept in hospitals at vast expense, along with other unfit specimens,' said Miss Edwards. 'Speaking as a biologist, I must say I think public money might be better employed. What with the number of imbeciles and physical wrecks we allow to go about and propagate their species, we shall end by devitalising whole nations.' 'Miss Schuster-Slatt would advocate sterilisation,' said the Dean. 'They're trying it in Germany, I believe,' said Miss Edwards. 'Together,' said Miss Hillyard, 'with the relegation of woman to her proper place in the home.' 'But they execute people there quite a lot,' said Wimsey, 'so Miss Barton can't take over their organisation lock, stock and barrel.'
`Were you really being as cautious and exacting about it as you would be about writing a passage of fine prose?’
‘That’s rather a difficult sort of comparison. One can’t, surely, deal with emotional excitements in that detached spirit’.
‘Isn’t the writing of good prose an emotional excitement?’
‘Yes, of course it is. At least, when you get the thing dead right and know it’s dead right, there’s no excitement like it. It’s marvellous. It makes you feel like God on the Seventh Day – for a bit, anyhow.’
‘Well, that’s what I mean. You expend the trouble and you don’t make any mistake – and then you experience the ecstasy. But if there’s any subject in which you’re content with the second-rate, then it isn’t really your subject.’
All the children seem to be coming out quite intelligent, thank goodness. It would have been such a bore to be the mother of morons, and it's an absolute toss-up, isn't it? If one could only invent them, like characters in books, it would be much more satisfactory to a well-regulated mind.
Detachment is a rare virtue, and very few people find it lovable, either in themselves or in others. If you ever find a person who likes you in spite of it--still more, because of it--that liking has very great value, because it is perfectly sincere, and because, with that person, you will never need to be anything but sincere yourself.
...never again would she mistake the will to feel for the feeling itself.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Harriet Vane's Oxford reunion is shadowed by a rash of bizarre pranks and malicious mischief that include beautifully worded death threats, burnt effigies, and vicious poison-pen letters, and Harriet finds herself and Lord Peter Wimsey challenged by an elusive set of clues.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.33)
0.5 2
1 10
1.5 3
2 19
2.5 11
3 111
3.5 42
4 334
4.5 74
5 583

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 171,808,774 books! | Top bar: Always visible