Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Title: Gaudy Night
Author: Dorothy Sayers
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Kindle for iPad
This book would be rated: PG

I've read several of Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novels in the past, and always enjoyed them-- I love the way she combines a great story with insightful social commentary. So I was expecting a lot from Gaudy Night, in which Wimsey's love, Harriet Vane, returns to her college in Oxford for a reunion and gets involved with figuring out who is sending poison pen letters to members of the community. If I were teaching a class on women's studies, I would seriously consider including this novel because of what it says about women in academia in the 1930s. It's a book I really think I would love if I read it under different circumstances.

However, I have an electronic copy of the book and decided to read it on vacation. Maren had overtaken my iPad for a serious Good Luck Charlie marathon, so I read the book on my phone. The language is fairly formal and feels a little bit antiquated, and the characters kept getting mixed up in my mind, so I ended up skimming a fair bit, especially once I figured out who the culprit was relatively early in the novel. It's interesting that there's no murder in Gaudy Night. I wonder if that is part of the reason why it didn't have the same gravitas as many other mysteries.

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