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Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

Have His Carcase

by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey (8)

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English (48)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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 |
Harriet Vine is on a walking holiday, and finds a freshly dead body on a deserted beach. This one was had too many twists, and hard to keep track of.the characters involved. ( )
  sail7 | Oct 27, 2017 |
This mystery was good - not a straightforward, easy-to-solve one - but some parts lingered on for longer than I would have liked. I love codes and codebreaking, but even so, some of the discussions about solving the code were just way too long. The banter between Wimsey and Harriet was good. More of that, please! ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
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.
"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."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061043524, Mass Market Paperback)

The mystery writer Harriet Vane, recovering from an unhappy love affair and its aftermath, seeks solace on a barren beach -- deserted but for the body of a bearded young man with his throat cut.From the moment she photographs the corpse, which soon disappears with the tide, she is puzzled by a mystery that might have been suicide, murder or a political plot. With the appearance of her dear friend Lord Peter Wimsey, she finds a reason for detective pursuit -- as only the two of them can pursue it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:22 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Mystery novelist Harriet Vane, recovering from an unhappy love affair and its most unpleasant aftermath, seeks solace on a barren beach deserted but for one notable exception: the body of a bearded young man with his throat cut. From the moment she photographs the corpse, which soon disappears with the tide, she is puzzled by a mystery that might easily have been a suicide, a murder, or a political plot. With the appearance of her dear friend Lord Peter Wimsey, however, Harriet finds yet another reason to pursue the mystery, as only the two of them can pursue it.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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