Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review of Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers (1933, NEL)

When a copywriter falls down the stairs and meets an untimely death at Pym’s Publicity the owner calls in Lord Peter Wimsey in disguise as his cousin Death Bredon.  Working in parallel with his brother-in-law, a Scotland Yard inspector, Wimsey starts to poke around Pym’s convinced that the death was far from accidental.  His investigation soon extends outside of the advertising agency to a circle of wild rich party-goers and a dope smuggling ring.  But the more Wimsey probes, the more he unsettles his quarry, leading to a string of additional murders.

While I thought another Lord Peter Wimsey tale, The Nine Tailors, was first class I struggled through Murder Must Advertise for two main reasons.  First, the story felt overly drawn-out, with whole sections either failing to move the story forward or barely doing so.  Basically there were too many asides, or passages had long-winded detailing that were unnecessary.  And while The Nine Tailors had the same style its asides were much more interesting.  Second, I just didn’t connect with the characters, especially Lord Peter Wimsey who I found very tiresome especially in disguise as Death Bredon, nor most of people working at Pym’s Publicity, in part I think because who narrative is so classed with the world portrayed through a very particular upper class lens.  Those issues apart, the mystery is okay if a little far-fetched.  Overall, an satisfactory mystery tale, but not to my taste.


1 comment:

Bradley Walker said...

Dorothy Sayers had advertising experience, and it shows. But I always wondered why no adaptation made use of her final "brainstorm." Probably they couldn't make it believable.