Best 1927 Adventures (8)
March 12, 2017
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1927 adventure novels. Happy 90th anniversary!
Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey adventure Unnatural Death.
The third Lord Peter Wimsey novel is enjoyable, but it delves into homosexuality and racism in a way that does not do credit to Sayers. Wimsey begins to pry into the affair of a wealthy old woman whose death seems suspicious to her doctor — though to no one else. The victim is a lesbian — though this isn’t stated explicitly. (She and her life partner “set up housekeeping” together; one character remarks, tolerantly, “The Lord makes a few on ’em that way to suit ‘Is own purposes, I suppose.”) The victim’s great-niece is also sexually unattracted to men; alas, her mannish behavior makes her a suspect. The other suspect, the Reverend Hallelujah Dawson, is a half-Trinidadian great-nephew of the murder victim’s; alas, Wimsey allows Dawson to be treated abominably. In the end, there are to additional murders; should Wimsey have just stayed out of it?
Fun fact: Considered one of the weaker Wimsey adventures by some readers; others love it. It’s also been described as “an exploration of the modern woman’s options — some of which the author apparently finds unsettling.”
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1927 adventures that you particularly admire.