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Amusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "The Amusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "The Incredible Elopement of Peter Wimsey" (with a lovely American woman-turned-zombie) and eight more puzzlers penned in inimitable style by the mistress of murder. Includes: The image in the mirror -- The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey -- The queen's square -- The necklace of pearls -- The poisoned dow '08 -- Sleuths on the scent -- Murder in the morning -- One too many -- Murder at Pentecost -- Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz -- The man who knew how -- The fountain plays.


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Amusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "The Amusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "The Incredible Elopement of Peter Wimsey" (with a lovely American woman-turned-zombie) and eight more puzzlers penned in inimitable style by the mistress of murder. Includes: The image in the mirror -- The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey -- The queen's square -- The necklace of pearls -- The poisoned dow '08 -- Sleuths on the scent -- Murder in the morning -- One too many -- Murder at Pentecost -- Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz -- The man who knew how -- The fountain plays.

30 review for Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaline

    Hangman’s Holiday is a collection of short stories and Dorothy L. Sayers’ writing is just as accomplished in this format as it is in her novels. The first 4 short stories feature Lord Peter Wimsey: The Image in the Mirror What happens when a man can’t remember incidents that others claim he is involved in? The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey In an isolated Basque community, can a magician resolve a frightening descent into darkness for one lost soul? The Queen’s Square An entertaining cos Hangman’s Holiday is a collection of short stories and Dorothy L. Sayers’ writing is just as accomplished in this format as it is in her novels. The first 4 short stories feature Lord Peter Wimsey: The Image in the Mirror What happens when a man can’t remember incidents that others claim he is involved in? The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey In an isolated Basque community, can a magician resolve a frightening descent into darkness for one lost soul? The Queen’s Square An entertaining costume party turns deadly and how did the White Queen and the Red Queen become confused with each other? The Necklace of Pearls At a country mansion Christmas party, the priceless necklace goes missing and Lord Peter is the one to figure out whodunit – and where the necklace is. The next 6 short stories involve a character who is new to me. His name is Montague (Monty) Egg and he is an astute and observant traveling sales person for a spirits and wine company in Piccadilly: The Poisoned Dew ‘08 Montague Egg helps to figure out how the port wine was poisoned – and who did it. Sleuths on the Scent A group of sales people are kept from their travels by bad weather, and at the Inn Monty helps to discover someone who has been evading the police. Murder in the Morning Ah, but what time in the morning? That is what Monty is determined to figure out. One Too Many The number of people on the train is correct and all are accounted for – yet one of them is missing. Riddle me this! Murder at Pentecost Yes, the old professor pontificated and proselytized, but who would it bother enough for murder? Monty figures out who and how it was done. Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz Rather a bold name for a ginger cat, but when he came back Monty had to find out why. The last two short stories are less mysteries than they are a look inside the minds and motives of those who contemplate and/or commit murder: The Man Who Knew How Why are all the papers filled with deaths by people in their baths? One man thinks he knows and is determined to put an end to it. The Fountain Plays There are few ways to escape from blackmail – and most of them only lead to more trouble. I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection. As always, Dorothy L. Sayers brings wit and ingenuity into each story and combines them into entertaining reads.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I rarely read short stories, but I greatly enjoyed this collection by Dorothy L.Sayers, which includes four Lord Peter Wimsey stories, six featuring travelling salesman Montague Egg (I do wish he had merited his own novel) and two stand alone stories. I read this as part of my attempt to, finally, read all of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels/stories. However, I have to say that my very favourites in this collection were the two final stories in this book; the stand alone stories, “The Man Who Knew Ho I rarely read short stories, but I greatly enjoyed this collection by Dorothy L.Sayers, which includes four Lord Peter Wimsey stories, six featuring travelling salesman Montague Egg (I do wish he had merited his own novel) and two stand alone stories. I read this as part of my attempt to, finally, read all of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels/stories. However, I have to say that my very favourites in this collection were the two final stories in this book; the stand alone stories, “The Man Who Knew How,” and “The Fountain Plays.” Of the Lord Peter stories, “The Queen’s Square,” concerning a murder at a ball had a lot of good Wimsey banter, while “The Necklace of Pearls,” had a Christmas house party setting. Montague Egg is a fun character, who appeared in eleven short stories – six appear in this volume, while five appear, “In the Teeth of the Evidence.” With his maxim’s from the, “Salesman’s Handbook,” and his intelligent mind, he is a really great amateur detective and interesting character. I look forward to meeting him again in, “In the Teeth of the Evidence,” and recommend this collection of stories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    The book’s epigraph, “No Noose is Good News.” A book of short stories, Sayers’ famous Lord Peter Wimsey, four longer stories, and her Montague Egg, a sleuth wine-merchant, six stories. My wife found the very first story, of Lord Wimsey, the best, “The Image in the Mirror,” where a man finds himself approached by his own image in the mirror, after which terrible things happen, though collapsed he can’t remember; yet he cannot deny he may have, because he wakes up a couple days later. I, on the oth The book’s epigraph, “No Noose is Good News.” A book of short stories, Sayers’ famous Lord Peter Wimsey, four longer stories, and her Montague Egg, a sleuth wine-merchant, six stories. My wife found the very first story, of Lord Wimsey, the best, “The Image in the Mirror,” where a man finds himself approached by his own image in the mirror, after which terrible things happen, though collapsed he can’t remember; yet he cannot deny he may have, because he wakes up a couple days later. I, on the other hand, found the complex second Wimsey story resonant, “The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter.” Wimsey’s solves a prominent physician’s withdrawal to an obscure town in the Pyrenees mountains, where the doctor’s wife undergoes yearly diminution and recovery. Lord Peter’s solution depends on my own personal health for fifty years, “thyroid deficiency”(59). In fact, in my case a prominent U Minnesota surgeon, Varco, excised some nodes on my thyroid, and one of my parathyroids. Then a fine female endocrine specialist (Dr. Funk, as I recall) prescribed synthroid, which I have taken for a half-century, to great benefit. Lord Peter disguises himself as a wizard, with the help of his Greek and Latin, which of course Sayers would have known from her Oxford Language training; the wizard Lord quotes a line from Vergil, noting it’s “a line notorious for its grave spondaic cadence”(54). The Montague Egg stories are all short, ten pages. In one, the Butler Did It, literally. In another, I learned about Phi Books at the Bodleian— those guarded as "indelicate," sexually explicit. In another Egg, a man confesses to every murder, so he is discounted should he commit one. "The Poisoned Dow '08" is not the stock market, but a wine with nicotine added to it, or the decanter--in Lord Peter, wine not poured from a mere bottle. Could the decanter have harboured the poison? No, it was thoroughly washed out, with a tetch of brandy. (As a nightly brandy drinker, this hurts.) A century ago the English pubs had many fewer drafts, often only a bitter and a mild-and-bitter, as at the Pig and Pewter in Mugbury, near Drabblesford. In addition to great characters and plots, Sayers' invents wonderful town and river names, not the real Ribble, but the Drabble, not Musbury, but Mugbury. Reading during the Corona virus in 2020, I learned Corona a century ago was not a Mexican beer, but a Cigar.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    Includes: The image in the mirror -- The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey -- The queen's square -- The necklace of pearls -- The poisoned dow '08 -- Sleuths on the scent -- Murder in the morning -- One too many -- Murder at Pentecost -- Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz -- The man who knew how -- The fountain plays This is a really good collection of short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and Montague Egg. This is my first encounter with Mr Egg and I am looking forward to reading more featuring this very sha Includes: The image in the mirror -- The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey -- The queen's square -- The necklace of pearls -- The poisoned dow '08 -- Sleuths on the scent -- Murder in the morning -- One too many -- Murder at Pentecost -- Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz -- The man who knew how -- The fountain plays This is a really good collection of short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and Montague Egg. This is my first encounter with Mr Egg and I am looking forward to reading more featuring this very sharp minded travelling salesman.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. One from the vaults, as I bought it back in 2002 (can I just stop for a minute and praise Audible for keeping my library intact even though I suspended my subscription for several years?) The fact that this is a pretty old audiobook really shows in the quality, and makes me realize just how much audiobooks have progressed since I started listening to them. My main complaint about this one was the changes in sound quality every so often, and narrator Nad Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. One from the vaults, as I bought it back in 2002 (can I just stop for a minute and praise Audible for keeping my library intact even though I suspended my subscription for several years?) The fact that this is a pretty old audiobook really shows in the quality, and makes me realize just how much audiobooks have progressed since I started listening to them. My main complaint about this one was the changes in sound quality every so often, and narrator Nadia May (who’s well suited to reading Golden Age detective stories) could have done with a better mic to take the brittle edge off her voice—although I suppose it was quite suitable that she sounded as if she were speaking into a mic from the 1930s. The stories themselves are pretty entertaining. There are, I think, four Lord Peter Wimsey stories, several Montague Egg stories and about three or so other stories at the end. Lacking the character development that forms such an attractive (and substantial) part of Sayers’ novels, what you’re left with is the cleverness—nicely worked out little detective puzzles in the Sherlock Holmes style. Some of the resolutions can be guessed early on, some not. You can read this book on two levels: one is for mere entertainment, and one is for the Sayers enthusiast who wants to get a better understanding of her development as a writer. The stories work pretty well for either type of reader.

  6. 5 out of 5

    kris

    Featuring Lord Peter Wimsey The Image in the Mirror Peter encounters a man who believes he's living a nightmarish second life—something directly from the "fourth dimension". When the man is arrested for murder, Peter steps in to find out the truth. Fine. A little too experimental for my tastes, although it does all turn out to be grounded in alleged actual phenomena. Probably 3 stars. The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey A man visits a remote corner of France where he studies the local lang Featuring Lord Peter Wimsey The Image in the Mirror Peter encounters a man who believes he's living a nightmarish second life—something directly from the "fourth dimension". When the man is arrested for murder, Peter steps in to find out the truth. Fine. A little too experimental for my tastes, although it does all turn out to be grounded in alleged actual phenomena. Probably 3 stars. The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey A man visits a remote corner of France where he studies the local language and culture. While there he runs into an old acquaintance of his—and is reintroduced to his wife, a woman who suddenly presents as mad and grotesque. When the man later relays this to Peter, he sets up shop as a wizard in order to get close to—and allegedly elope with—the woman. Slightly more entertaining, although I wasn't a huge fan of the """mystery""" of the woman. I guess it rather feels like cheating to use non-story evidence to result in a solution. But ultimately I enjoyed Peter swanning around this tiny village in a ridiculous costume in order to convince them that he was a wizard. 4 stars The Queen's Square The Necklace of Pearls Peter attends a houseparty where a guest's pearl necklace goes missing during the parlor games section of the evening. After crawling all over the floor like a snail, Peter solves the theft. I really love Peter, you guys. There is just something about how self-contained he is that I love: even while he acts silly, there's this core of certainty that appeals. The mystery was hand-wavey, but I enjoyed it because it was Peter solving it. 3.5 stars Featuring Montague "Monty" Egg The Poisoned Dow '08 Monty Egg, Booze Seller, shows up at a customer's house only to discover that the man has been murdered—and APPARENTLY, it was the liquor Egg sold him that did him in! :O Monty's a good episodic detective: in a longer piece, I think his reliance on his book of rhymes would grow wearisome, as would his strangely passive way of investigation. But I can't appreciate him as a "on the spot" sort of solver. HOWEVER, I freaking HATE how the stories involving him end. So. Prepare yourselves for my later reviews. That said: this felt like a rather disappointing little case with too much being left out of the hands of the reader. 3 stars Sleuths on the Scent Monty ends up dining with the common folk and discovers there is someone present who isn't who they claim!!! This story felt more built for solving although the solution was telegraphed a little too loudly??? IDK, perhaps I am just overly particular since I had planned to read a book of shorts about Peter and am still adjusting. Nonetheless: 3 stars Murder in the Morning Monty stumbles upon the scene of a crime and then has to help the inquest along because of shy witnesses and because he has a car big enough. WHO ACTUALLY DID THE MURDER THO. 2 stars One Too Many Some guys disappears on a train. Monty happened to be riding the train at the same time and shows up to provide an inordinate amount of evidence that allows everyone to figure out that there are 2 men using 3 names between them or something, I don't know. WHERE IS HE ACTUALLY THO ARREST HIS DUMB ASS. 2.5 stars Murder at Pentecost There's a murder at Oxford and Monty ends up tagging along with an undergraduate who happily introduces him to all the prime suspects. BUT DID HE DO IT THO????????? 2 stars Maher-Shalal-Hashbas Monty rescues a cat from a tree, helps the cat's owner sell the cat, helps the cat's owner deliver the cat, sees the cat rescued, and then realizes a murder was committed, probably. BUT DID IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN LIKE THAT THO????????????????? 1.5 stars. Other Stories The Man Who Knew How Two men converse about murder on a train; one tells the other he has the formula to a solution that will kill a man in the bath without fuss or evidence. The other laughs it off—until he realizes how many dudes turn up dead in their bath. The two men cross paths again, and the bath-obssessed one comes away from it convinced that murder-formula man is trying to kill him!!! Dark, psychological, morbid. It rather seems like Sayer wants to prove that any man can be a murderer if given motivation and half a chance and that's not a philosophy I particular enjoy? 2 stars The Fountain Plays A man is enjoying his house party in peace when his blackmailer unexpectedly dies. He covers it up. The cycle continues. METAPHOR. Again: Dark, psychological, rather morbid. Not really appealing, but points for crafting such a thing. 2.5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This is a highly enjoyable collection of short stories. It's interesting to read this alongside Sayers' novels, since there are quite a few similarites in theme and location. The book starts off with four Lord Peter Wimsey stories. The first of these is rather weak, but the second one has a creepy horror story quality to it (Sayers edited a collection of detection and horror tales) and has stuck in my mind from my first reading of the book years ago. These are followed by two lighter mysteries i This is a highly enjoyable collection of short stories. It's interesting to read this alongside Sayers' novels, since there are quite a few similarites in theme and location. The book starts off with four Lord Peter Wimsey stories. The first of these is rather weak, but the second one has a creepy horror story quality to it (Sayers edited a collection of detection and horror tales) and has stuck in my mind from my first reading of the book years ago. These are followed by two lighter mysteries involving a fancy dress ball and a pearl necklace, where Wimsey is seen amid high society and there's plenty of witty banter. It is also fun to catch a glimpse of his mother, the Dowager Duchess, with her stream of consciousness talking. However, on this reading of the book I enjoyed the stories involving Sayers' second sleuth, Montague Egg, even more than the Wimsey ones. Monty is a commercial traveller selling wine who keeps turning up on the scene of murders. He is an amusing character who, like Wimsey, is always dropping quotes into his conversation - but, where Wimsey quotes from famous literary works, Monty repeats clever rhyming couplets from his personal Bible, the Salesman's Handbook. He has some similarities with Wimsey, but is able to move in everyday environments more naturally. A shame Monty never starred in a novel. There are also two standalone stories at the end of the book, which both have clever plots and twists in the tail.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    At the onset, I thought of writing a review in my usual way. A sinuous and rather elongated way of saying whether I liked the book. After writing a few lines I hit the backspace button continuously until all of it disappeared. Being totally honest to the narrative which was straight as an arrow, it is way better to cut through the archaic descriptions and call this a damn fine set of stories ! It was my first by Dorothy Sayers and she is a fine writer by all means. The stories (except two of them At the onset, I thought of writing a review in my usual way. A sinuous and rather elongated way of saying whether I liked the book. After writing a few lines I hit the backspace button continuously until all of it disappeared. Being totally honest to the narrative which was straight as an arrow, it is way better to cut through the archaic descriptions and call this a damn fine set of stories ! It was my first by Dorothy Sayers and she is a fine writer by all means. The stories (except two of them) feature amateur sleuths : Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg. Unlike their much famous literary brethren, these are rather unlikely detectives especially Mr.Egg who is a travelling salesman of all people ! The mysteries themselves are rather well etched as puzzles even when the content is that of a murder and such is the beauty of writing. The subtle wit of the stories and the very British way of story telling rubbed off on me very well. You have found a taker in me Senorita ! I shall read more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trelawn

    A couple of stories in, I realised I had already read much of this book within a different collection of short stories by DL Sayers. They are good but not great. If you like the Peter Wimsey books they are worth a read but perhaps not a reread.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thekelburrows

    Not enough Bunter. Never enough Bunter.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    What a marvellous collection! What continues to be remarkable about Sayers’ work is her willingness to explore the human condition. The passions felt by characters created almost one hundred years ago are as real today as they were then.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 1) I love the way Sayers uses short stories in a sort of exploratory self-indulgence. She allows her characters to engage in situations that are just patently ridiculous, unbelievable, stretched over too long a time, or too slender a premise to warrant a full novel. I like the way she PLAYS in short stories. 2) I have never read any Montague Egg stories before and I'm SO glad the novels are about Peter Wimsey instead. I mean, Monty's heart is in the right place, but he's awfully earnest. 3) What f 1) I love the way Sayers uses short stories in a sort of exploratory self-indulgence. She allows her characters to engage in situations that are just patently ridiculous, unbelievable, stretched over too long a time, or too slender a premise to warrant a full novel. I like the way she PLAYS in short stories. 2) I have never read any Montague Egg stories before and I'm SO glad the novels are about Peter Wimsey instead. I mean, Monty's heart is in the right place, but he's awfully earnest. 3) What further do we learn about Peter's character here? "My religious beliefs are a little ill-defined." "I'm a bit of a conjurer myself." 4) Rural garages no longer use "clock-faces with movable hands to show lighting-up time." Wow, it took me a LONG time to work out what this meant, and it was key to the plot, as well. "Lighting-up time" is, of course, half-an-hour after sunset, when you need to LIGHT YOUR HEADLAMPS on your Model T or whatever it is that British people drove in 1925. It was significant that the murder occurred on 18 June--at midsummer--when lighting-up time would have been very late (10.20 p.m., in fact).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jan C

    I believe I read this years ago. And didn't recall being crazy about the Montagu Egg stories. They seemed okay this time. But the story that really knocked me out was "The Man Who Knew How". Guy is reading a detective story on the train (author taking a swipe at writers who write intelligent school stories - possibly at Edmund Crispin or Michael Innes?) who isn't too sure about how a guy is looking at him. Other fellow tells him that he knows how to kill people without getting caught. Just look I believe I read this years ago. And didn't recall being crazy about the Montagu Egg stories. They seemed okay this time. But the story that really knocked me out was "The Man Who Knew How". Guy is reading a detective story on the train (author taking a swipe at writers who write intelligent school stories - possibly at Edmund Crispin or Michael Innes?) who isn't too sure about how a guy is looking at him. Other fellow tells him that he knows how to kill people without getting caught. Just look at all these people being found dead in their baths. The reader starts noticing that many people are being found dead in their baths. This story falls in the ironic category. But I really liked it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andree

    These stories can be roughly divided into the Lord Peter's, the Montague Egg's, and the standalones. I liked the Lord Peter stories. I thought they mostly worked. They amused me at least. They were not nearly as good as the novels. I think the Montague Egg stories worked the best. Something about his personality worked better for short stories. It might also be that because I'm used to reading Lord Peter in novel form, which I think probably relies more on characterization than just straight up my These stories can be roughly divided into the Lord Peter's, the Montague Egg's, and the standalones. I liked the Lord Peter stories. I thought they mostly worked. They amused me at least. They were not nearly as good as the novels. I think the Montague Egg stories worked the best. Something about his personality worked better for short stories. It might also be that because I'm used to reading Lord Peter in novel form, which I think probably relies more on characterization than just straight up mystery, that the short story worked better with a protagonist where I'm not looking for interactions with other characters. The standalones generally didn't work for me at all. I might have gone four stars had it not been for them, but I found them either ineffective or just unpleasant, and not what I was in the mood for.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    3.5 stars Errr, not what I expected as only 4 out of 12 of these stories involve Peter! Then there are six with Montague Egg, who Google tells me Sayers used in several short stories, and 2 just completely stand alone. I actually liked the Montague Egg stories best. So many of these Peter short stories seem experimental, like these ones verged on horror. And that just doesn't seem to fit in with the main series. It feels almost like reading about a different character leading not-quite the same li 3.5 stars Errr, not what I expected as only 4 out of 12 of these stories involve Peter! Then there are six with Montague Egg, who Google tells me Sayers used in several short stories, and 2 just completely stand alone. I actually liked the Montague Egg stories best. So many of these Peter short stories seem experimental, like these ones verged on horror. And that just doesn't seem to fit in with the main series. It feels almost like reading about a different character leading not-quite the same life. You don't get many non-Peter regular characters at all. But the Egg ones were fun! Almost brain teasers. The stand alones were not really my thing. Too much of people making dumb decisions. Anyway, happy to be done with this so I can move on to a full length story!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is the Avon edition, and it suffers from the common problems of Avon books: it's not very durable, it's not on acid-free paper, and there are quite a few typos. But it is a hard copy of a book that's no longer in print. I was terribly disappointed by learning what's in this book. I knew there were some Sayers anthologies that involved non-crimes, or that involved crimes that were not 'capital' crimes. I'd hoped those were the stories that were in this volume, on the principle that it was a ' This is the Avon edition, and it suffers from the common problems of Avon books: it's not very durable, it's not on acid-free paper, and there are quite a few typos. But it is a hard copy of a book that's no longer in print. I was terribly disappointed by learning what's in this book. I knew there were some Sayers anthologies that involved non-crimes, or that involved crimes that were not 'capital' crimes. I'd hoped those were the stories that were in this volume, on the principle that it was a 'hangman's holiday' in the sense that there was no work for said 'hangman'. To prevent others from being similarly disappointed, and just on general principles, I will include a table of contents: LORD PETER WIMSEY STORIES I The Image in The Mirror: Contains some interesting observations about how we interpret images of ourselves, but there was no real need to bring in an improbably ruthless character to illustrate those observations. II The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey: This one involves a cruel but non-'capital' crime--a case of a doctor practicing sexual, physical, and emotional abuse on his adopted child whom he (quite illegally) married. It also may have painful personal resonance for people with endocrine problems and their loved ones: so be warned. III The Queen's Square: Sayers was notorious for her dislike of Christmas (problems in the extended family, it looks like). This story extends this dislike to New Year's Eve. The question of lighting is important in this story, and my immediate response was severe discomfort. I couldn't have even come in the described building, if the lighting was like what's described. IV The Necklace of Pearls: This is another non-'capital' story, involving Sayers' hatred of Christmas. Personally, I think the pearl necklace is a lot sillier concept than Septimus Shale's harmless sentimentality about Christmas. But then, I don't care at all about jewelry. And even less about pearls, which are too often obtained by killing living things. MONTAGUE EGG STORIES I The Poisoned Dow '08: Montague Egg is a traveler in wines. He's no Lord Peter Wimsey, but he does have a traveling salesman's knowledge of people, and a Salesman's Handbook full of Ferengi-like aphorisms. In this case, he sets out to determine how a bottle of wine handled by his firm got poisoned--with nicotine. I'm not sure where Sayers got the idea that nicotine is the only poisonous compound in tobacco: but it is, in fact, quite poisonous: which is why it's commonly used as an herbicide. II Sleuths on The Scent: The recognition that members of certain professions open bottles differently from others is not limited to this story: I'm pretty sure there's at least one Isaac Asimov story along the same lines. III Murder in The Morning: Gas stations were beginning to pop up all over the landscape at this point. They were mostly prefab, and were often not precisely labeled. This probably led to quite a lot of confusion, as in this story. IV One Too Many: Commercial travelers and corporate nabobs, apparently, have one thing in common: They've heard of a way to diddle the ticket collectors on trains. V Murder at Pentecost: Set at Oxford, where there are, it appears, one or two of that sort of eccentric who confess to every crime that comes down the pike. VI Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz: Sayers' predisposition to parade her scholarship is here, as often, biblical, and refers to a prophecy by Isaiah. Why the little girl named her cat that...maybe she learned it in Sunday School? This story is so cruel toward cats in so many ways that ailurophobes and ailurophiles alike would be well advised to avoid it. OTHER STORIES I The Man Who Knew How: A man prone to practicing a particular cruel practical joke on strangers chooses the wrong victim. II The Fountain Plays: Sayers had a particular disgust for blackmailers, whom she considered worse than murderers (or so she repeatedly said). There were fairly stringent laws against blackmail at the time, apparently, but how could they really be enforced? In order to press charges against a blackmailer, after all, the victim would have to admit to having done something criminal. This story is frankly not very interesting. Once you've picked up on the basic fact that fountains that recycle their water were already in use by the time of the story, there's really not much more to the story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Moira Fogarty

    Meh. A collection of Sayers' short stories. Some feature Lord Peter, but most have working-class sleuth Montague Egg solving mysteries and spouting adages from the salesman's handbook. The author obviously had her next book -set in an advertising agency- on the brain as she was penning this. I find these stories to be small gems of ideas dressed up as short fiction. It feels as though Sayers came up with an ending and then wrote her way back to the beginning of many of these miniature mysteries. Meh. A collection of Sayers' short stories. Some feature Lord Peter, but most have working-class sleuth Montague Egg solving mysteries and spouting adages from the salesman's handbook. The author obviously had her next book -set in an advertising agency- on the brain as she was penning this. I find these stories to be small gems of ideas dressed up as short fiction. It feels as though Sayers came up with an ending and then wrote her way back to the beginning of many of these miniature mysteries. There's a Christmas theft feature (The Necklace of Pearls), two poisonings, several murders, cats, fancy-dress parties, trains and some blackmail in the mix. Solutions are simple and easily seen from afar. One that will puzzle anyone who doesn't have a solid grasp on the endocrine system is “The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey”. Don't get excited! This does NOT feature Harriet Vane - Lord Peter is helping a lady in distress. Wedding bells do not ring (no need to fear bigamy). An okay collection of puzzles, suitable for train travel and the like. Not challenging, nothing too convoluted, light reading with some spooky bits.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    3.5* 2020 reread was via audiobook narrated by Ian Carmichael. This collection of short stories contains: Lord Peter Wimsey stories: "The Image in the Mirror" "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey" "The Queen's Square" "The Necklace of Pearls" Montague Egg stories: "The Poisoned Dow '08" "Sleuths on the Scent" "Murder in the Morning" "One Too Many" "Murder at Pentecost" "Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz" Other stories: "The Man Who Knew How" "The Fountain Plays" As much as I enjoyed the Lord Peter stories, in this 3.5* 2020 reread was via audiobook narrated by Ian Carmichael. This collection of short stories contains: Lord Peter Wimsey stories: "The Image in the Mirror" "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey" "The Queen's Square" "The Necklace of Pearls" Montague Egg stories: "The Poisoned Dow '08" "Sleuths on the Scent" "Murder in the Morning" "One Too Many" "Murder at Pentecost" "Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz" Other stories: "The Man Who Knew How" "The Fountain Plays" As much as I enjoyed the Lord Peter stories, in this reread I found that the Montague Egg stories appealed to me most. Good mysteries plus the humor of Egg's aphorisms :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Now that I've started I remember reading this collection in high school. The stories so far are weirder than her norm -- almost Father Brown-ish.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin de Ataíde

    Lovely, small collection, with some considerable attention given to Montague Egg and his Serviceman's handbook.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Lambert-Maberly

    To be fair, I probably liked it better than I would most mystery short story collections, but not nearly as well as most of the better novels that are my standard fair. So if you're a big mystery short story fan, go for it, but if you're hoping it's as delightful an experience as Gaudy Night or Busman's Honeymoon then prepare to temper your expectations. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking f To be fair, I probably liked it better than I would most mystery short story collections, but not nearly as well as most of the better novels that are my standard fair. So if you're a big mystery short story fan, go for it, but if you're hoping it's as delightful an experience as Gaudy Night or Busman's Honeymoon then prepare to temper your expectations. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This collection featured Lord Peter Wimsey, Montague "Monty" Egg, and a couple of miscellaneous stories written by Sayers. The Lord Peter stories were the longer ones, but the Montague Egg stories, while predictable, were enjoyable. I enjoyed the two miscellaneous stories at the end. A brief biography of Sayers plus photos appears after a preview of the next book in the Lord Peter series. (3.5 stars)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wilton

    A delightful collection of short stories including some of my favourite character, Mr. Monague Egg, the travelling salesman of Plummet and Rose, Wines and Spirit, of Piccadilly who is always at hand to solve a mystery.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mehedi Sarwar

    A great collection of murder mystery short stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    An esteemed friend of mine had it right - short stories leave me wanting more, and while I think Monty Egg is great fun, I can't get as excited about his overwhelming cleverness. Also, I missed Bunter in these stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine McCauley

    I'm not really a short story person, and I also don't think the short story format is the best way to deploy Lord Peter Wimsey, as his stories are so much more dependent on character work than on actual mysteries—Dorothy L. Sayers lampshades this, almost, in one of the stories included herein, with a character lamenting that detective stories tend to be "rather lacking in characterization and human interest", which is of course the cardinal genre norm that she subverts with Lord Peter—but I woul I'm not really a short story person, and I also don't think the short story format is the best way to deploy Lord Peter Wimsey, as his stories are so much more dependent on character work than on actual mysteries—Dorothy L. Sayers lampshades this, almost, in one of the stories included herein, with a character lamenting that detective stories tend to be "rather lacking in characterization and human interest", which is of course the cardinal genre norm that she subverts with Lord Peter—but I would be an absolute monster if I couldn't still appreciate Dorothy's fine work. One of the LPW stories features him pretending to be a wizard with a squadron of cats somewhere out in Basque country, which is simply [redacted]. I will say that I got some horrible flashbacks to the dreaded Five Red Herrings with one of the Montague Egg stories that discussed train timetables just a trifle too much, but...I mean...water under the bridge...I suppose... So I did enjoy this. It also helps that this is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the overall extremely beautiful Hodder paperback editions. It is my favorite shade of pink. Bizarrely, someone actually did recognize this when I was reading it in public and specifically commented that she has been looking for these editions everywhere, although it was when we were both waiting for a Decemberists concert to start, and if you're going to construct Venn diagrams of young people who are reading rarely appreciated English mystery novels from the 1930s and young people who are listening to certain bands in 2018, that one probably has more overlap than most. This "review" featured a couple of very long sentences, but you will find that they are both grammatically sound, so I will not apologize. Also, grammar is a farce. See ya!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    And for a hard change of pace from the previous book, I jumped over to Dorothy L. Sayers' Hangman's Holiday, an old short story collection featuring several shorter pieces about the redoubtable Lord Peter Wimsey as well as her lesser-known amateur sleuth, Montague Egg. I continue to like Sayers' novels better than her short pieces, and I definitely prefer novels when it comes to mysteries in general; with short pieces it often seems like you have only enough time for the crime and then the immedi And for a hard change of pace from the previous book, I jumped over to Dorothy L. Sayers' Hangman's Holiday, an old short story collection featuring several shorter pieces about the redoubtable Lord Peter Wimsey as well as her lesser-known amateur sleuth, Montague Egg. I continue to like Sayers' novels better than her short pieces, and I definitely prefer novels when it comes to mysteries in general; with short pieces it often seems like you have only enough time for the crime and then the immediate solution. Sayers definitely gets around that in several of the pieces in this collection, though. I particularly liked "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey", in which the victim of the crime underwent a plight to which I was particularly sympathetic, and the last two standalone pieces, "The Man Who Knew How" and "The Fountain Plays", both of which had clever twist endings. This is a bit of a hard to find book--I only scarfed it because someone had sold a used copy to the University Bookstore. Sayers' novels are way easier to find. But give this a read if you can find it. Three stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    The copy of this audiobook that I borrowed was damaged, so I missed out on a couple of the stories. In any case, there is a broader spectrum in this collection of shorts than in the previous Sayers compilations, which was a good thing, and demonstrated her versatility; from the tiresome Montague Egg with his constant quotes from the apocryphal Salesman's Handbook (sorry, the Egg is addled IMO), through the typical Wimsey-as-boy-wonder (I love Lord Peter, but not in his short-story Deus Ex Machin The copy of this audiobook that I borrowed was damaged, so I missed out on a couple of the stories. In any case, there is a broader spectrum in this collection of shorts than in the previous Sayers compilations, which was a good thing, and demonstrated her versatility; from the tiresome Montague Egg with his constant quotes from the apocryphal Salesman's Handbook (sorry, the Egg is addled IMO), through the typical Wimsey-as-boy-wonder (I love Lord Peter, but not in his short-story Deus Ex Machina mode), to the frankly creepy, and on to the now-we-know-silly idea that a hormonal deficiency can turn one to a maundering hunk of insentient flesh. (As I suffer from that particular deficiency myself, I know Sayers' premise is nonsense, but then it was written before the layman had very much information on the subject of "glands". More than one of Sayers' Wimsey tales is premised on the function or dysfunction of the human metabolism.) I sound like I'm complaining but I'm not, really. As I say, more variety than the norm in Sayers' short stories, and I found it more enjoyable than I expected. I'm just sorry I missed out on a couple of the tales--and that says a lot.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yvann S

    This collection of 12 short stories, predominantly featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg, are a gentle introduction to Ms. Sayers’ writing. Each is neatly self-contained and the answer revealed in a gentlemanly flourish without arrogance (such as that of M. Poirot). I’ve not read any Sayers before, but after Alex was raving about a Wimsey mystery, this little collection was just right. The short stories are a bit shorter (12 in 256 pages) than the set of Christie short stories I reviewed, This collection of 12 short stories, predominantly featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg, are a gentle introduction to Ms. Sayers’ writing. Each is neatly self-contained and the answer revealed in a gentlemanly flourish without arrogance (such as that of M. Poirot). I’ve not read any Sayers before, but after Alex was raving about a Wimsey mystery, this little collection was just right. The short stories are a bit shorter (12 in 256 pages) than the set of Christie short stories I reviewed, and that may be why I enjoyed them more; the writing had to be tighter. Wimsey and Egg are both excellent detective characters with their own foibles and idiosyncrasies without being isolating or offputting. I’m a particular fan of Egg’s little rhymes from The Salesman’s Handbook. The stories did occasionally tend to the darker side which was less to my taste, but others may prefer it as a little less cozy and cloying than many of this style. A great collection and I will be looking out for more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    This is a collection of short stories - some featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, some featuring clever salesman Montague Egg and two crime short stories which don't feature either character. I particularly liked 'The Necklace of Pearls' in which Lord Peter uses his powers of observation to find a missing necklace and 'The Queen's Square' which also features events at a party. Montague Egg, with his rhyming couplets, sunny temperament and excellent powers of observation, is a marvellous character. I alwa This is a collection of short stories - some featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, some featuring clever salesman Montague Egg and two crime short stories which don't feature either character. I particularly liked 'The Necklace of Pearls' in which Lord Peter uses his powers of observation to find a missing necklace and 'The Queen's Square' which also features events at a party. Montague Egg, with his rhyming couplets, sunny temperament and excellent powers of observation, is a marvellous character. I always wish when I read stories about him that Dorothy L Sayers had given him a book to himself. I loved the way he helps a girl rescue her cat in 'Mahar-shalal-hashbaz' and the ingenious murder in the same story. The last two stories in the collection are ingenious and I particularly enjoyed the neat twist in 'The Man Who Knew How'. This is an excellent and varied collection of crime short stories and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys short stories as well as fans of DLS.

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