skygiants: Sokka from Avatar: the Last Airbender peers through an eyeglass (*peers*)
[personal profile] skygiants
I found In the Teeth of the Evidence at a used bookstore when I was still in the midst of my Sayers reread, and bought it because it contained a bunch of Sayers stories that (to the best of my recollection) I had not read and I figured I might as well.

These are ... not Sayers' greatest works. The first seven stories feature Lord Peter Wimsey and Sayers' other recurring detective, traveling salesman Montague Egg; they're all very much of the Solve A Brain-Twister In Four Pages variety and are otherwise not very interesting. Also, Montague Egg is the sort of person who goes around quoting maxims like "Never miss a chance of learning for that word spells '£' plus 'earning,'" and, like, on the one hand, I respect Sayers for resisting the temptation to make her other detective as Dreamy as Lord Peter, but on the other hand.

I found the back half of stories easier going; they were not any better per se but at least there was more variety? Stories included:

- Reporters Mistake Dead Fish For Dead Body
- Area Man Makes Up Imaginary Trolley Problem To Make Previous Trolley Problem Decider Feel Better About Himself ("the young medico had had to choose between saving the papers and the sodden old fool of a butler [...] he explained that he believed the previous manuscripts to be of immense value to humanity, whereas he knew no particular good of the butler")
- Author Launches Anonymous Threatening Letters Campaign To Get Publisher To Buy His Book, Today In "Worst Ideas Ever"
- Murder Confession Triggered By Overenthusiastic Game of Charades
- Maidservant Thinks She's Wandered Into A Gothic Novel; Is Comically Wrong
- Artist Is Mad About Selling Out; Also, Not Technically Murder
- The Poisoner Was The Wife All Along! WHO COULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING
- Area Man Accidentally Hires A Sinister Murder Cabal
- CAT PEOPLE. I'm not kidding, this one has straight-up were-cats. Why isn't there a Lord Peter Wimsey novel with were-cats?! Dorothy, you're holding out on us!

ETA: I CAN'T BELIEVE I FORGOT THE ONE WHERE A MILD-MANNERED HAIRDRESSER DYES A MURDERER'S HAIR GREEN, that was my favorite one besides cat people!!

Date: 2017-06-08 04:28 am (UTC)
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
From: [personal profile] sovay
CAT PEOPLE. I'm not kidding, this one has straight-up were-cats.

Would you mind describing this one in more detail? I thought I had read most of Sayers' short fiction and I do not remember the were-cats.

Date: 2017-06-08 04:41 am (UTC)
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
From: [personal profile] sovay
(I checked timelines and it seems like this story came out slightly before the Cat People movie but well after the short story it is based on, so we can't claim Dorothy as the originator on that one.)

It's also a very straightforward update of the folk motif where people shoot hares or swans or sometimes wolves and the next morning somebody in town is wounded or missing a foot or straight-up dead and everyone feels awkward, but I would not have expected Sayers to be the person who added cats and a contemporary setting.

Also, who shoots a cat just because it comes into their room at night, seriously, what an asshole.

Date: 2017-06-08 07:44 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I think it's a phobia rather than an allergy. There's a Mary Stewart novel set somewhere near Beirut (it's the ULTIMATE Gothic girl-meets-house novel, given the house in question is part crusader castle, part middle-eastern pasha's retreat complete with harems and secret passages and an indoor lake) where the girl's cousin works out that their mad great aunt who thinks she's the reincarnation of Lady Hester Stanhope is in fact dead and being impersonated by her drug-smuggling personal physician because there's a cat in the room and both the protagonist and her mad great-aunt are severely cat-phobic.

Date: 2017-06-08 10:58 am (UTC)
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
From: [personal profile] sovay
There's a Mary Stewart novel set somewhere near Beirut (it's the ULTIMATE Gothic girl-meets-house novel, given the house in question is part crusader castle, part middle-eastern pasha's retreat complete with harems and secret passages and an indoor lake)

Oh, my God, The Gabriel Hounds (1967). I haven't read or thought of that book in years, but I remember discovering that Lady Hester Stanhope was a real person and that did nothing to decrease the weirdness of this entire plot.

Date: 2017-06-08 03:01 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
It's the way that the heroine keeps being given spliffs that she assumes are "Turkish cigarettes"! It's 1967 FFS!

Date: 2017-06-08 01:03 pm (UTC)
azara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] azara
That's the one with the bonus "it's not incest, really" touch where their fathers are twins, and hero and heroine were brought up together and often mistaken for twins,but it's perfectly okay because hero is actually an orphaned second cousin adopted as a baby by his first cousin once removed/her uncle.

Date: 2017-06-08 02:59 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I thought they actually were first cousins and their respective fathers were twins? There's certainly an unhealthy amount of "When we had baths together as children" reminiscing going on.

Date: 2017-06-08 07:56 pm (UTC)
azara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] azara
I think that was the story in Mary Stewart's head, until someone pointed out that children of identical twins are genetically even closer than normal first cousins, so she made the hero a nice safe second cousin adopted into the twin uncle's family. This gave the bonus of making him heir to the senior position in the Family Merchant Bank, and even richer than his adoptive father and uncle.

I think the book stuck in my mind so well because of the tourist's eye view of a lovely land, when I was reading grim newspaper stories of civil war.

Date: 2017-06-08 07:46 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I absolutely adore the last line of that one, in which it's revealed that the protagonist has been telling the entire story to his barrister (I don't think even Impey Biggs could get anyone off on the plea that the deceased was a were-cat and it was all an excusable mistake.)

Date: 2017-06-08 04:29 am (UTC)
agonistes: (candygram)
From: [personal profile] agonistes
Why isn't there a Lord Peter Wimsey novel with were-cats?! Dorothy, you're holding out on us!

oh man, and then Peter could have been their king and his code name would have been Tybalt and he could have gallivanted around England wearing cat ears and a swishy cape ;_____________;

Date: 2017-06-08 05:04 am (UTC)
agonistes: (a very wealthy widow)
From: [personal profile] agonistes
WE COULD HAVE HAD IT AAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL

Date: 2017-06-08 06:21 am (UTC)
lacewood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lacewood
This sounds exactly like the plot (subplot? Obviously there are 20 other things happening at the same time) of a DWJ book, and also, I'D READ THIS.

Date: 2017-06-11 11:25 pm (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
OMG YOU'RE SO RIGHT. (Christopher and Lord Peter having a Posh Boys With Strange Powers chat, him having come in to help as Chrestomanci, and Millie and Harriet being like FOR GOODNESS' SAKE.)

Date: 2017-06-08 07:44 am (UTC)
whimsyful: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whimsyful
...this is now on my list of dream Wimsey Yuletide fills, along with the Lord Peter/Abhorsen series crossover and the "what if Harriet & Peter did get married right after SP" AU.

Date: 2017-06-08 12:20 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
From: [personal profile] oracne
I WOULD READ THAT SO HARD.

Date: 2017-06-08 03:05 pm (UTC)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] larryhammer
I'd read all THREE of those.

Date: 2017-06-08 04:45 am (UTC)
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
From: [personal profile] sovay
oh man, and then Peter could have been their king and his code name would have been Tybalt and he could have gallivanted around England wearing cat ears and a swishy cape

Harriet would have just gotten acclimated to the whole peerage thing, too: it's one thing to marry the brother of the Duke of Denver, it's very much another to inherit Denver and what do you mean, you're the King of the Cats? ("It was right there on the family crest: 'Sable, 3 mice courant, argent; crest, a domestic cat couched as to spring, proper' . . .") There would need to be a second round of complex conversations involving Latin.

[edit] I am getting the picture that Sayers thoroughly missed the boat by giving the Wimseys that coat of arms and then not making them were-cats.
Edited (left comment in the time it took someone else to leave a comment) Date: 2017-06-08 04:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-08 05:06 am (UTC)
agonistes: (pyramid of greatness)
From: [personal profile] agonistes
you know, given contemporary affinity for gritty reboots, i submit: the lord peter wimsey as king of the were-cats gritty reboot!!!!

even if it was terrible and on at 4am i would watch it

Date: 2017-06-08 06:23 am (UTC)
alias_sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
From: [personal profile] alias_sqbr
I am sure I have read that book of short stories but can't remember any of them, I don't know how I forgot the werecats. The only Wimsey short story that stuck in my mind is "His wife: a chair" (Alas, not a werechair)

Date: 2017-06-08 01:44 pm (UTC)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon
The Man with the Copper Fingers! I remember that one, the Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach, the one with the crossword puzzles, and the werewolf wife who turns out to have some sort of endocrine disorder. The others have all blurred together in my head.

Date: 2017-06-08 05:11 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
I think I remember the Copper Fingers, but not His Wife: A Chair! But also I think I have confused it in my mind with Lord Restimar's fate in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Date: 2017-06-08 05:38 pm (UTC)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon
Copper Fingers is His Wife: A Chair--the copper is the residue from the Sheffield-plating process. And she's more of a settee.

Date: 2017-06-08 05:53 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
Yes, I meant, I know I read it, but the detail of the setee wife was forgotten, somehow!

Date: 2017-06-14 09:19 am (UTC)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_sqbr

I have completely forgotten The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach but I can see how the title would stick in your mind :)

Date: 2017-06-08 09:59 am (UTC)
cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
From: [personal profile] cyphomandra
I am fond of this collection because it's the first Sayers I bought (when I was a small person with a small income), from a school fair, and with a suitably lurid and unrelated cover (this one). But yes, the stories themselves are somewhat lacking. I do quite like the hairdresser, and she is good at overheated atmospheres of suspicion and incipient nervous breakdowns. I also sometimes think grumpily about how I am not a printer when I am writing in capitals (which I do mainly to ensure someone else can actually read it), pace Montague Egg.

(my parents had a rather biased selection of Sayers; unhelpfully for Harriet, they were missing Strong Poison, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night, which meant I was a little bit confused by references to her until I caught up).

Date: 2017-06-08 03:01 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I loved the hairdresser one; it came up in a collection of stories for older children with other stories by other writers so was the first Sayers I read.

Date: 2017-06-11 01:17 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
How would that maxim even working when spoken aloud, I wonder? I am skeptical.

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