After re-reading Gaudy Night earlier this year I promised myself that I would read more of the wonderful literary detective novels of Dorothy L Sayers. I'm rather fond of Harriet Vane who features in four of the books - Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon - so I'm starting with those.
Have His Carcase published in 1932 begins with Harriet on a solitary coastal walking tour. As an independent young woman who writes detective novels, enjoys her own company and repeatedly turns down marriage proposals from the adorable Lord Peter Wimsey she is a character ahead of her time:
She was twenty-eight years old, dark, slight, with a skin naturally a little sallow, but now tanned to an agreeable biscuit-colour by sun and wind. Persons of this fortunate complexion are not troubled by midges and sunburn, and Harriet, though not too old to care for her personal appearance was old enough to prefer convenience to outward display:After finding a cove on the beach to sit down for lunch the hot sunshine sends her to sleep. Upon waking she walks along the sand and is puzzled by an object on a rock a short way out to sea known as the 'flat iron'. Upon close inspection it turns out to be a man's body with the blood still wet and the chilling suggestion that perhaps he was murdered while she was asleep. Harriet is not the kind of woman who runs away screaming, instead she examines the body, tries to calculate the tides and searches for help.
I'm only about 100 pages in but very much enjoying it so far. Do you have any favourites from the golden age of detective fiction?