dangermousie: (Default)
My love for Lord Peter books by Dorothy Sayers began completely incidentally. [livejournal.com profile] fire_snake mentioned reading ‘Clouds of Witness’ which sounded interesting. I picked up ‘Strong Poison’ in the library and was gone.

For those who don’t know, Dorothy Sayers was a British novelist who wrote a series of novels, set (and written) during the 1920s and 1930s in England, about Lord Peter Wimsey, a blond, monocled, seemingly scatterbrained member of nobility (brother of a Duke) who is a brilliant detective.

If you think this sounds facile, silly, or cliché, think again. Lord Peter, with his gift for intellectualism and quotations, his nervous chatter concealing a sharp mind, his hidden but shattering vulnerabilities, ingrained compassion warring with sense of justice and pure intellectual curiosity, and oh yeah, his persevering, total love of one independent, damaged woman (Harriet Vane, one of my favorite fictional characters) is not only a wonderful character, but a precursor to such characters as Lymond (who is, without a doubt, a more messed up ‘ancestor/descendant’ of Lord Peter) and Miles Vorkosigan (Civil Campaign is dedicated in part to Sayers).

I am not a huge mystery fan. I don’t really care whodunnit and whydunnit and anyotherdunnit, because hey, I can just peek at the end of the book, not much of a mystery. Lord Peter books are the exception: they have very good mysteries (at least I am told so by fans of the genre, I am not much of a judge) but they work for me because they are such brilliant novels, such character studies. I am a bit in love with Lord Peter myself. I especially like how Sayers develops him more and more fully from novel to novel, thus even earlier hints come into fruition later. I don’t know if she always planned it out that way, or was just good at picking up the threads, but it’s awesome either way. Even in the very first book, ‘Whose Body,’ Lord Peter comes across as not a 1930s dapper detective but someone frighteningly human (I keep remembering his episode of shell-shock. He is a WWI veteran who was invalided out because of it) but slowly, book by book, he becomes even more so and by the end, he is just unforgettable.

Ramblings )
dangermousie: (Default)
My love for Lord Peter books by Dorothy Sayers began completely incidentally. [livejournal.com profile] fire_snake mentioned reading ‘Clouds of Witness’ which sounded interesting. I picked up ‘Strong Poison’ in the library and was gone.

For those who don’t know, Dorothy Sayers was a British novelist who wrote a series of novels, set (and written) during the 1920s and 1930s in England, about Lord Peter Wimsey, a blond, monocled, seemingly scatterbrained member of nobility (brother of a Duke) who is a brilliant detective.

If you think this sounds facile, silly, or cliché, think again. Lord Peter, with his gift for intellectualism and quotations, his nervous chatter concealing a sharp mind, his hidden but shattering vulnerabilities, ingrained compassion warring with sense of justice and pure intellectual curiosity, and oh yeah, his persevering, total love of one independent, damaged woman (Harriet Vane, one of my favorite fictional characters) is not only a wonderful character, but a precursor to such characters as Lymond (who is, without a doubt, a more messed up ‘ancestor/descendant’ of Lord Peter) and Miles Vorkosigan (Civil Campaign is dedicated in part to Sayers).

I am not a huge mystery fan. I don’t really care whodunnit and whydunnit and anyotherdunnit, because hey, I can just peek at the end of the book, not much of a mystery. Lord Peter books are the exception: they have very good mysteries (at least I am told so by fans of the genre, I am not much of a judge) but they work for me because they are such brilliant novels, such character studies. I am a bit in love with Lord Peter myself. I especially like how Sayers develops him more and more fully from novel to novel, thus even earlier hints come into fruition later. I don’t know if she always planned it out that way, or was just good at picking up the threads, but it’s awesome either way. Even in the very first book, ‘Whose Body,’ Lord Peter comes across as not a 1930s dapper detective but someone frighteningly human (I keep remembering his episode of shell-shock. He is a WWI veteran who was invalided out because of it) but slowly, book by book, he becomes even more so and by the end, he is just unforgettable.

Ramblings )
dangermousie: (Default)
My love for Lord Peter books by Dorothy Sayers began completely incidentally. [livejournal.com profile] fire_snake mentioned reading ‘Clouds of Witness’ which sounded interesting. I picked up ‘Strong Poison’ in the library and was gone.

For those who don’t know, Dorothy Sayers was a British novelist who wrote a series of novels, set (and written) during the 1920s and 1930s in England, about Lord Peter Wimsey, a blond, monocled, seemingly scatterbrained member of nobility (brother of a Duke) who is a brilliant detective.

If you think this sounds facile, silly, or cliché, think again. Lord Peter, with his gift for intellectualism and quotations, his nervous chatter concealing a sharp mind, his hidden but shattering vulnerabilities, ingrained compassion warring with sense of justice and pure intellectual curiosity, and oh yeah, his persevering, total love of one independent, damaged woman (Harriet Vane, one of my favorite fictional characters) is not only a wonderful character, but a precursor to such characters as Lymond (who is, without a doubt, a more messed up ‘ancestor/descendant’ of Lord Peter) and Miles Vorkosigan (Civil Campaign is dedicated in part to Sayers).

I am not a huge mystery fan. I don’t really care whodunnit and whydunnit and anyotherdunnit, because hey, I can just peek at the end of the book, not much of a mystery. Lord Peter books are the exception: they have very good mysteries (at least I am told so by fans of the genre, I am not much of a judge) but they work for me because they are such brilliant novels, such character studies. I am a bit in love with Lord Peter myself. I especially like how Sayers develops him more and more fully from novel to novel, thus even earlier hints come into fruition later. I don’t know if she always planned it out that way, or was just good at picking up the threads, but it’s awesome either way. Even in the very first book, ‘Whose Body,’ Lord Peter comes across as not a 1930s dapper detective but someone frighteningly human (I keep remembering his episode of shell-shock. He is a WWI veteran who was invalided out because of it) but slowly, book by book, he becomes even more so and by the end, he is just unforgettable.

Ramblings )
dangermousie: (N&S: Thornton/Margaret kiss by alexandra)
As mentioned previously, I am on a Lymond kick (btw, Lymond are the only books I read with a dictionary. Narwhal? Palimpcest? Thank you Dunnett). And being on this kick made me think about Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter, probably because Lymond and Lymond Chronicles owe a lot to Sayers and her detective.

Actually, walking this morning, it just occurred to me how much Lymond is inspired by Lord Peter (though of course he is uniquely his own, as a character), and I don't just refer to the aristocratic blondness. They are both emotionally high-strung (the old term would have been 'nervy'), extremely self-controlled men. Both with an amazing intellect and strength of purpose they conceal under a manner to guard themselves (Lymond is all about politics, Lord Peter does diplomatic missions in between his sleuthing). They are polyglot quotation magpies, with a love of poetry (I bet if John Donne existed when Lymond lived, he would be quoting him non-stop) and a passion for music.

Both were promising but rather well-adjusted-into-society young men with a set path in front of them (Lord Peter had double firsts in Oxford and was going to be a historian and Lymond was a child genius of Sorbonne who was going to be a conventional if bright young nobleman involved in politics). And then both got horribly derailed and traumatized by an event that happened prior to anything in the books but has shaped them completely: for Lord Peter is was WWI and his shell-shock (we only learn just how bad it was in "Busman's Honeymoon"), and for Lymond it was Solway Moss and the whole Lennox/Eloise/Galleys thing. And this past continues to affect them. And for both, their chosen fields of endeavor, while uniquely suited for them, actually continue to mess them up further and feed into their issues and feelings of 'unworthiness' (Lord Peter realizes that as a result of his sleuthing people get caught and executed. Just witness his falling apart in front of Harriet. And everything Lymond does and that is done to him in the course of the books violates his headspace and his soul more and more). Both men are all about control, not just because they'd had so little earlier, but also because without control they would sit in a little room, screaming.

The authors are marvelous about showing us so much through so little. Letting us figure things out. We rarely get directly into Peter's head (Harriet, like Philippa and Jerott in later books can come closest to what the heroes are really about, but it's still indirect), and we only see twice inside Lymond's head, but somehow, through all the indirections and mirrors and shields, we get to know the characters intimately. It's in what they don't say. Even though the chess game in Pawn in unbearable ("I've been good" makes me shudder), there is no scene that freaks me out more than Lymond first coming across the child Khaireddin, who is his son. And Khaireddin is small, and painted, and has been a child prostitute. And the whole scene is horrifying, with Khaireddin offering favors to his own father who he doesn't know is that, and the scene would make anyone sick and yet Lymond reacts with amazing rightness and gentleness and treats Khaireddin like a real little boy/man and subnegates himself in doing what's right for him, no matter what it costs him. Even though anyone decent would have a strong reaction to child prostitution. And more than that, Khaireddin is his son. And not just that, if anyone has buttons about sexual abuse, Lymond would (a beautiful 16 year old on the galleys? He was pretty surely toast). Checkmate spoiler ) But the control and care Lymond has is all not about him. And Dunnett wants us to infer all that, there is no beating over the head with it.

Even the families are a bit similar: both have brilliant mothers they adore, and shadowy fathers. And a well-meaning, dull elder brother, who loves but doesn't understand.

And then there are the women they love. Both of them are grounded by the somewhat younger, much more pragmatic, yet fiercely wounded women they fall in love with. And those women make them jump through hoops (not on purpose) but really are what saves them. Checkmate spoiler )

And of course, both those women are fiercely intelligent, yet wounded and need healing in turn, and are in some ways mirroring their men. For Harriet it's her trial for murder and her shabby lover who made her betray all her traditonal belief for principles it turns out he didn't mean (and what a parallel with Lord Peter and his earlier love of someone unworthy. That girl before WWI). And the same is true for Philippa. Spoiler for Checkmate )

So yeah, there is a great deal of reason for why I love both.

And to finish on a Lymondish note, here is a quote about James Cobham from Freedom and Necessity. Rather Lymondish/Lord Peterish, don't you think?

That person was a collection of fragments held into man-shape by an outher shell that, depending on the moment, might be unmarked and brittle as glass or itself in a state of suspended collapse.

Or this:

At about three o'clock he appeared in the parlour, neat as the proverbial pin, flawlessly composed-in other words, nearly indistinguishable from a well-embalmed corpse except that he was mobile, upright, and articulate.

No wonder I love the book.

And for those who are 'what crack are you on and what are you blabbing about,' I present a bit of Hayden picspam. A lot of Hayden picspam actually.



Talking about the pretty. Feast your eyes on this )
dangermousie: (N&S: Thornton/Margaret kiss by alexandra)
As mentioned previously, I am on a Lymond kick (btw, Lymond are the only books I read with a dictionary. Narwhal? Palimpcest? Thank you Dunnett). And being on this kick made me think about Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter, probably because Lymond and Lymond Chronicles owe a lot to Sayers and her detective.

Actually, walking this morning, it just occurred to me how much Lymond is inspired by Lord Peter (though of course he is uniquely his own, as a character), and I don't just refer to the aristocratic blondness. They are both emotionally high-strung (the old term would have been 'nervy'), extremely self-controlled men. Both with an amazing intellect and strength of purpose they conceal under a manner to guard themselves (Lymond is all about politics, Lord Peter does diplomatic missions in between his sleuthing). They are polyglot quotation magpies, with a love of poetry (I bet if John Donne existed when Lymond lived, he would be quoting him non-stop) and a passion for music.

Both were promising but rather well-adjusted-into-society young men with a set path in front of them (Lord Peter had double firsts in Oxford and was going to be a historian and Lymond was a child genius of Sorbonne who was going to be a conventional if bright young nobleman involved in politics). And then both got horribly derailed and traumatized by an event that happened prior to anything in the books but has shaped them completely: for Lord Peter is was WWI and his shell-shock (we only learn just how bad it was in "Busman's Honeymoon"), and for Lymond it was Solway Moss and the whole Lennox/Eloise/Galleys thing. And this past continues to affect them. And for both, their chosen fields of endeavor, while uniquely suited for them, actually continue to mess them up further and feed into their issues and feelings of 'unworthiness' (Lord Peter realizes that as a result of his sleuthing people get caught and executed. Just witness his falling apart in front of Harriet. And everything Lymond does and that is done to him in the course of the books violates his headspace and his soul more and more). Both men are all about control, not just because they'd had so little earlier, but also because without control they would sit in a little room, screaming.

The authors are marvelous about showing us so much through so little. Letting us figure things out. We rarely get directly into Peter's head (Harriet, like Philippa and Jerott in later books can come closest to what the heroes are really about, but it's still indirect), and we only see twice inside Lymond's head, but somehow, through all the indirections and mirrors and shields, we get to know the characters intimately. It's in what they don't say. Even though the chess game in Pawn in unbearable ("I've been good" makes me shudder), there is no scene that freaks me out more than Lymond first coming across the child Khaireddin, who is his son. And Khaireddin is small, and painted, and has been a child prostitute. And the whole scene is horrifying, with Khaireddin offering favors to his own father who he doesn't know is that, and the scene would make anyone sick and yet Lymond reacts with amazing rightness and gentleness and treats Khaireddin like a real little boy/man and subnegates himself in doing what's right for him, no matter what it costs him. Even though anyone decent would have a strong reaction to child prostitution. And more than that, Khaireddin is his son. And not just that, if anyone has buttons about sexual abuse, Lymond would (a beautiful 16 year old on the galleys? He was pretty surely toast). Checkmate spoiler ) But the control and care Lymond has is all not about him. And Dunnett wants us to infer all that, there is no beating over the head with it.

Even the families are a bit similar: both have brilliant mothers they adore, and shadowy fathers. And a well-meaning, dull elder brother, who loves but doesn't understand.

And then there are the women they love. Both of them are grounded by the somewhat younger, much more pragmatic, yet fiercely wounded women they fall in love with. And those women make them jump through hoops (not on purpose) but really are what saves them. Checkmate spoiler )

And of course, both those women are fiercely intelligent, yet wounded and need healing in turn, and are in some ways mirroring their men. For Harriet it's her trial for murder and her shabby lover who made her betray all her traditonal belief for principles it turns out he didn't mean (and what a parallel with Lord Peter and his earlier love of someone unworthy. That girl before WWI). And the same is true for Philippa. Spoiler for Checkmate )

So yeah, there is a great deal of reason for why I love both.

And to finish on a Lymondish note, here is a quote about James Cobham from Freedom and Necessity. Rather Lymondish/Lord Peterish, don't you think?

That person was a collection of fragments held into man-shape by an outher shell that, depending on the moment, might be unmarked and brittle as glass or itself in a state of suspended collapse.

Or this:

At about three o'clock he appeared in the parlour, neat as the proverbial pin, flawlessly composed-in other words, nearly indistinguishable from a well-embalmed corpse except that he was mobile, upright, and articulate.

No wonder I love the book.

And for those who are 'what crack are you on and what are you blabbing about,' I present a bit of Hayden picspam. A lot of Hayden picspam actually.



Talking about the pretty. Feast your eyes on this )
dangermousie: (N&S: Thornton/Margaret kiss by alexandra)
As mentioned previously, I am on a Lymond kick (btw, Lymond are the only books I read with a dictionary. Narwhal? Palimpcest? Thank you Dunnett). And being on this kick made me think about Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter, probably because Lymond and Lymond Chronicles owe a lot to Sayers and her detective.

Actually, walking this morning, it just occurred to me how much Lymond is inspired by Lord Peter (though of course he is uniquely his own, as a character), and I don't just refer to the aristocratic blondness. They are both emotionally high-strung (the old term would have been 'nervy'), extremely self-controlled men. Both with an amazing intellect and strength of purpose they conceal under a manner to guard themselves (Lymond is all about politics, Lord Peter does diplomatic missions in between his sleuthing). They are polyglot quotation magpies, with a love of poetry (I bet if John Donne existed when Lymond lived, he would be quoting him non-stop) and a passion for music.

Both were promising but rather well-adjusted-into-society young men with a set path in front of them (Lord Peter had double firsts in Oxford and was going to be a historian and Lymond was a child genius of Sorbonne who was going to be a conventional if bright young nobleman involved in politics). And then both got horribly derailed and traumatized by an event that happened prior to anything in the books but has shaped them completely: for Lord Peter is was WWI and his shell-shock (we only learn just how bad it was in "Busman's Honeymoon"), and for Lymond it was Solway Moss and the whole Lennox/Eloise/Galleys thing. And this past continues to affect them. And for both, their chosen fields of endeavor, while uniquely suited for them, actually continue to mess them up further and feed into their issues and feelings of 'unworthiness' (Lord Peter realizes that as a result of his sleuthing people get caught and executed. Just witness his falling apart in front of Harriet. And everything Lymond does and that is done to him in the course of the books violates his headspace and his soul more and more). Both men are all about control, not just because they'd had so little earlier, but also because without control they would sit in a little room, screaming.

The authors are marvelous about showing us so much through so little. Letting us figure things out. We rarely get directly into Peter's head (Harriet, like Philippa and Jerott in later books can come closest to what the heroes are really about, but it's still indirect), and we only see twice inside Lymond's head, but somehow, through all the indirections and mirrors and shields, we get to know the characters intimately. It's in what they don't say. Even though the chess game in Pawn in unbearable ("I've been good" makes me shudder), there is no scene that freaks me out more than Lymond first coming across the child Khaireddin, who is his son. And Khaireddin is small, and painted, and has been a child prostitute. And the whole scene is horrifying, with Khaireddin offering favors to his own father who he doesn't know is that, and the scene would make anyone sick and yet Lymond reacts with amazing rightness and gentleness and treats Khaireddin like a real little boy/man and subnegates himself in doing what's right for him, no matter what it costs him. Even though anyone decent would have a strong reaction to child prostitution. And more than that, Khaireddin is his son. And not just that, if anyone has buttons about sexual abuse, Lymond would (a beautiful 16 year old on the galleys? He was pretty surely toast). Checkmate spoiler ) But the control and care Lymond has is all not about him. And Dunnett wants us to infer all that, there is no beating over the head with it.

Even the families are a bit similar: both have brilliant mothers they adore, and shadowy fathers. And a well-meaning, dull elder brother, who loves but doesn't understand.

And then there are the women they love. Both of them are grounded by the somewhat younger, much more pragmatic, yet fiercely wounded women they fall in love with. And those women make them jump through hoops (not on purpose) but really are what saves them. Checkmate spoiler )

And of course, both those women are fiercely intelligent, yet wounded and need healing in turn, and are in some ways mirroring their men. For Harriet it's her trial for murder and her shabby lover who made her betray all her traditonal belief for principles it turns out he didn't mean (and what a parallel with Lord Peter and his earlier love of someone unworthy. That girl before WWI). And the same is true for Philippa. Spoiler for Checkmate )

So yeah, there is a great deal of reason for why I love both.

And to finish on a Lymondish note, here is a quote about James Cobham from Freedom and Necessity. Rather Lymondish/Lord Peterish, don't you think?

That person was a collection of fragments held into man-shape by an outher shell that, depending on the moment, might be unmarked and brittle as glass or itself in a state of suspended collapse.

Or this:

At about three o'clock he appeared in the parlour, neat as the proverbial pin, flawlessly composed-in other words, nearly indistinguishable from a well-embalmed corpse except that he was mobile, upright, and articulate.

No wonder I love the book.

And for those who are 'what crack are you on and what are you blabbing about,' I present a bit of Hayden picspam. A lot of Hayden picspam actually.



Talking about the pretty. Feast your eyes on this )

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