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Have His Carcase

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane (2), Lord Peter Wimsey (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,889523,299 (4.02)208
When Harriet Vane finds a dead body on the beach, she and Lord Peter Wimsey must solve a murder when all the evidence has washed out to sea Harriet Vane has gone on vacation to forget her recent murder trial and, more importantly, to forget the man who cleared her name—the dapper, handsome, and maddening Lord Peter Wimsey. She is alone on a beach when she spies a man lying on a rock, surf lapping at his ankles. She tries to wake him, but he doesn’t budge. His throat has been cut, and his blood has drained out onto the sand. As the tide inches forward, Harriet makes what observations she can and photographs the scene. Finally, she goes for the police, but by the time they return the body has gone. Only one person can help her discover how the poor man died at the beach: Lord Peter, the amateur sleuth who won her freedom and her heart in one fell swoop. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.… (more)
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» See also 208 mentions

English (48)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Harriet and Peter meet again - this time when Harriet, on a walking tour, discovers the body of a freshly dead young man with his throat cut. Was it murder or suicide? Was it a Bolshevik plot or was there a more personal motive tied up with his marriage plans with a wealthy widow many years his senior? The clues are all there, but the time frame won't fit no matter how hard the detectives try. Good fun, good characterisation, and the next step in Peter and Harriet's burgeoning relationship. Some very clever code breaking too but you can skim read the details and not miss much. You could read this as a stand alone but it's better if you have at least read "Strong Poison" from the earlier works. ( )
  Figgles | May 5, 2020 |
The First of the Fabulous Final Five Wimseys
Review of the Hodder & Stoughton paperback edition (2016) (with an Introduction by Lee Child) of the 1932 original
Wo then to whom I shall discover here
Loitering among the tents, let him escape
My vengeance if he can. The vulture's maw
Shall have his carcase, and the dogs his bones.

- Book II, The Iliad, translated by [author:William Cowper|352881] (1791)
( )
  alanteder | Dec 27, 2019 |
HAVE HIS CARCASE (8) is the second novel featuring Harriet. She finds a body while on vacation and has to deal with the police, the press, & a hovering Peter Wimsey—who is having trouble himself trying his best to protect Harriet from the worst of the masses' suspicions/gossip while also supporting her in solving the case. Has some breathtakingly charged scenes between Harriet and Peter, and also a huge fight scene that really hashes out why their romance is so fraught and, in the timing of this book, untenable. REC: READ ( )
  epaulettes | Jan 3, 2019 |
First published at Booking in Heels.

If you’re planning on picking up this series based on my soon-to-be glowing review, don’t start with Have His Carcase, much as I loved it. Why? Possibly perhaps it’s the eighth book in a fourteen book long series. It was fine, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t particularly struggle. Each book is a self-contained murder mystery, so although there were a few references to the previous books, it really didn’t matter. Still, you may as well go in with the knowledge that you should be starting with Whose Body?

Alright. So, firstly, these books (I say this like I haven’t only read one book, but I am clearly now an expert) are much more dense than the Agatha Christie novels. There’s more character development, more clues and more background. The characters discuss things, and mull over the issues, a lot more frequently and occasionally the scenery is even discussed. I know, right!? In a mystery! I’m as shocked as you! Whilst it’s clearly not a heavy or difficult novel by any stretch of the imagination, Have His Carcase can’t really be skim read. You need to pay attention or you won’t have the faintest idea what was going on.

On that note, I did appreciate the frequent summing-ups (summings-up?). Every so often, the characters will get together for a quick ‘so here’s where we are…’ discussion that really helped me to keep everything straight in my head. There was no baker’s niece’s lover who was mentioned on page three but popped up at the end and you’re meant to remember who he is. It seems very… planned, very cautious.

As for the murder itself… eh. I wasn’t all that bothered about who had murdered Alexis, but then are you ever really? Usually the victim is dead before the reader ever wanders onto the scene, so it’s quite difficult to drudge up a sense of compassion for them. Unlike Agatha Christie, you pretty much knew who did it the whole way through. In these books (alright, this book), the point isn’t who did it, but how they could possibly have done so. Because of that, there was no gasp of amazement when the culprit was revealed because hey, I knew that.

The method by which they discovered this was clever, and that’s as descriptive as I can possibly be without being spoilery. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. I’ve never seen that used in this way before and the nod to history was a nice touch.

The characters have more padding out than in other books of this ilk too. Lord Peter Whimsy is the clear show-stealer here, as he’s meant to be. I love him. He’s confident but not cocky, clever but able to admit when he’s wrong, and flirtatious but not creepy. Even if I skim over any part that suggests he has a monocle. I mean… come on. A girl has her limits. Harriet Vane is likeable too, and actually has a personality. She contributes effectively to the investigation and isn’t shy about getting stuck in either.

There’s an overarching romantic subplot that I think must continue throughout the series, but it’s only referenced every so often, and very subtey. I actually liked it; it was cute. But if it’s not your thing, I don’t think it will affect your enjoyment as it’s very playful and not at all angsty.

In short, I’d really recommend this series, or at least this book. For all I know, the others are terrible, but I doubt it. I’ll certainly be reading the remainder very shortly. ( )
1 vote generalkala | Sep 1, 2018 |
Harriet Vane, the famous detective novelist and infamous murder suspect (recently acquitted), is on a walking tour of British coastal villages. One afternoon she has a picnic on the beach and drops off to sleep. When she awakens, she is shocked to discover the body of a dead man farther along the beach. The man’s throat has been cut, but there is only one set of footprints (which must belong to the corpse), so suicide is a possibility. But Harriet can’t help thinking it might be murder. She photographs the body — which will be washed away when the tide comes in — and goes for help. But much to Harriet’s chagrin, help eventually arrives in the form of Lord Peter Wimsey, whose eagerness to solve the mystery is compounded by his desire to spend more time with Harriet. As the two join forces to solve the mystery, they also struggle to define the nature and boundaries of their relationship.

The more I read of Dorothy L. Sayers, the more I come to realize that she is emphatically NOT for everyone. This book is a Golden Age mystery, but it’s far from a typical one. Sayers is unquestionably familiar with the tropes of the genre — indeed, Peter and Harriet have some fun mocking them in this book — but she doesn’t seem particularly interested in following them herself. As with many of her other books, the “whodunit” is not the main concern; rather, she spends most of her time setting up a seemingly impossible crime, then explaining at length how it was possible after all. It’s clever, but I must confess that it didn’t hold my attention. A chapter near the end, where Peter and Harriet decode a letter and painstakingly explain how the code works, is especially dull.

However, I still really liked this book, and the reason is that I’m fascinated by the development of the relationship between Peter and Harriet. There’s one scene in particular, where they leave aside their usual polite banter and express their real emotions, that hit me right in the gut. Much as my romantic heart wants them to get together, I completely understand Harriet’s ambivalence and her struggle to maintain her independence in the face of Peter’s relentless pursuit. I’m extremely eager to read Gaudy Night now, but since I’m going in publication order, I have a couple books in between. I think that when I reread the series (as I undoubtedly will), I’ll group all the Peter-and-Harriet books together.
2 vote christina_reads | Aug 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayers, Dorothy L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayer, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergvall, SonjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bleck, CathieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffini, Grazia MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledwidge, NatachaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marber, RomekCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michal, MarieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Næsted, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom.
[Author's Note] In 'The Five Herrings', the plot was invented to fit a locality; in this book, the locality has been invented to fit the plot.
[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.
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I have seen unpleasant cases, difficult cases, complicated cases, and even contradictory cases, but a case founded on stark unreason I have never met before.
'You mean,' went on Wimsey, 'that they think in clichés.'

'Eh?'

‘Formulae. “There's nothing like a mother's instinct” “Dogs and children always know.” “Kind hearts are more than coronets." “Suffering refines the character”—that sort of guff, despite all evidence to the contrary.'
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