Busman's Honeymoon, by Dorothy L. Sayers

>> Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Ok, I've finally got to the end of Dorothy L. Sayers'
Lord Peter Wimsey series, and it's a bittersweet feeling. I want more!

Busman's Honeymoon is number 11 in the series, and it's the last Sayers wrote all herself. She did start another one, Thrones, Dominations, but she left it aside and it was finished not long ago by another author. I'm hoping it's good, too, but this doesn't diminish my sadness at seeing the last of the original Peter and Harriet.

Murder is hardly the best way for Lord Peter and his bride, the famous mystery writer Harriet Vane, to start their honeymoon. It all begins when the former owner of their newly acquired estate is found quite nastily dead in the cellar. And what Lord Peter had hoped would be a very private and romantic stay in the country soon turns into a most baffling case, what with the misspelled "notise" to the milkman and the intriguing condition of the dead man -- not a spot of blood on his smashed skull and not a pence less than six hundred pounds in his pocket.
Well, in case I haven't mentioned it, this was an excellent book. An A.

Well, if the idea was to reassure readers that Peter and Harriet were on their way to happiness, Sayers succeeded admirably. After all the problems and tension in the other books in which they appeared, they are now happy. They are, indeed, something even better than simply blissfully happy. They are aware of problems, work through them, and are happy to be together all the way. Plus, I'm willing to bet that given the way they are able to work through all those minor irritants at the beginning (with humour!), they will be able to work through anything in the future.

There are also some very wonderful scenes where Peter examines his feelings in detail. I hadn't noticed, but he never really does that in previous books. We know exactly how Harriet feels because that was mostly what Gaudy Night was about, but we never had been given an in-depth look at what Peter was thinking and feeling about Harriet. Those scenes were tender, and sweet, and funny, and (I'm going to sound like a demented 'shipper) oh-so-romantic!

And again, as in Gaudy Night, the ending was amazing. I've never seen such a sad ending that engendered in me such a wonderful feeling that things were going to be fine... more than fine, happy! It was especially affecting because it was so stark, coming after a book that had been so light-hearted and funny.

I was struck by how close to my ideal Harriet and Peter's relationship is. It's one where the two participants are very much in an equal footing, not just in the outside trappings, but inside. It's also wonderfully free of possessiveness... generous, I guess.

As for the mystery itself, I felt it was secondary to the romance, but it provided the "excuses" for the development in Peter and Harriet's relationship. And it was pretty neat in itself, and narrated with humour and wit.

A worthy ending to an amazing series.


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