observations: That’s all very well, but she’s about to discover a corpse on her travels, and although the tiny camera will prove useful, what is she going to wear when she has to go a-sleuthing, and vamp suspects? Sayers has no problem with self-contradiction, and blandly moves on to Harriet going on two shopping expeditions – if only she had brought a silk frock and an iron!
Amongst Wimsey/Sayers fans Carcase might win a vote for the least-popular of the series, but we have a soft spot for it, despite the almost-deliberate longueurs while interviewing suspects and following up alibis, and the quite bizarrely unlikely plot. The chapter in which Harriet and Peter solve a cipher is jaw-droppingly dull, and makes one doubt the claim that some calculations have been omitted ‘for brevity’s sake’, but really you can skip the whole chapter (due warning: chapter 28) for brevity’s sake. Even Sayers seems unsure about the book – in the later Gaudy Night (another blog favourite) Harriet asks Peter, referring to the incidents in this book:
‘Do you remember that horrible time at Wilvercombe when we could find nothing to throw at one another but cheap wit and spiteful remarks? At least, I was spiteful: you never were.’
‘It was the watering-place atmosphere,’ said Wimsey. ‘One is always vulgar at watering-places…’
But in fact the wit and spite improve the book, and the atmosphere of a 1930s walking tour, and then the resort and the smart hotel, are beautifully done.
The book has featured before, and also gave us the very first entry for Clothes in Books. Another book (very different) featuring an extended hike. Gladys Mitchell’s teachers wore similar outfits.
The picture is by William Orpen, a great favourite whose pictures have appeared for other entries.