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Review: Busman's Honeymoon, by Dorothy L Sayers


Pages: 403
Original date of publication: 1937
My copy: 2006 (Harper Mystery)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, May 2010

I have slowly been winding my way through the iconic Lord Peter Wimsey series, based on publication date, and I’ve wound down with Busman’s Honeymoon. Lord Peter and Harriet Vane are newlyweds who decide to spend their honeymoon in the countryside at Talboys, a farmhouse in Herfordshire. But their idyll is shattered when the former owner of their house is found dead in the cellar…

The title is a takeoff on the phrase busman’s holiday; the idea being that, while of vacation or holiday, someone does something that’s similar to their line of work. Of course, Lord Peter and Harriet’s wedding is supposed to be a break from crime, but they nonetheless find themselves solving one all the same.

In all, I thought this was a strong ending to the series—Sayers wraps up a few loose ends in the Lord Peter/Harriet/Bunter storyline (and Bunter gets a more significant role in this book, which I was glad to see). Lord peter and Harriet don’t have a typical relationship; he likes that she’s not a typical woman and that she challenges him, but at the same time there’s a lot of tension between them. And it’s interesting to see how they try not to slide into the gender roles that they’re supposed to fill. We also see Peter’s shell shock (alluded to in previous novels) firsthand.


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