Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Have His Carcase (possible spoilers)

...since we have devoted a great deal of time and thought to the case on the assumption that it was a murder, it's a convenience to know that the assumption is probably correct.
~Have His Carcase (1932) by Dorothy L. Sayers

As I mention in my previous review (HERE), the Lord Peter mysteries are comfort reads for me. I have read them numerous times and enjoy them thoroughly each time. It has been nine years since I last read this one (before Mount TBR or my Vintage Mystery challenges existed). But I'm not sure that I have much that is new to say. Although I will mention that the depressing atmosphere of the "watering hole" hotel struck me more forcefully this time round. How very sad to travel from hotel to hotel (or to pick one for the summer) and look for romance among the paid dancing partners. The Mrs. Weldons of the world--making themselves up to try and appear young again, grasping for a youth that is gone (or perhaps they never had).

I enjoyed Harriet's interactions with Antoine, the other dancing partner, very much this time. Antoine is very wise in the ways of the the world...and has a realistic outlook on the life he leads and the ladies he has to entertain. He also sees straight through the pretenses--even Harriet's and realizes long before she will ever be ready to admit it that loves Peter. We've got a whole other book for her to get through before she's ready to admit that.

A lovely reread--I'm glad several of my challenges gave me an excuse to do so. ★★

Pick Your Poison: Quick Decisons: An Author You Always Read
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza: Golden Age Rule #16: No secret societies. Mrs. Weldon keeps bleating on about Bolsheviks and Paul Alexis's former girlfriend Leila is convinced that a "gang" like the one in The Trail of the Purple Python was blackmailing him (or had some hold over him).
Deaths = one (throat cut)
Mystery Bingo: Clues/Cliches - Muddy/wet clothing; Clock striking; Hat missing/found
  --for a second Bingo Card: 
Crime Scenes-Beach/Shoreline
Clues/Cliches-Item in newspaper
Red Herrings -Gloves; Inquest held; missing money (gold coins)

Quotes (I did find several new quotes that stood out this time)
[First Lines] The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth. (p.9)

There is something about virgin sand which arouses all the worst instincts of the detective-story writer. One feels an irresistible impulse to go and make footprints all over it. (p. 11)

This was disingenuous, but novelists and police-inspectors do not always see eye to eye as regards publicity. (31)

Anybody who married Lord Peter would be rich, of course. And he was was amusing. Nobody could say he would be dull to live with. But the trouble was that you never knew what anybody was like to live with except by living with them. It wasn't worth it. Not even to know all about steam-yachts. A novelist couldn't possibly marry all the people from whom she wanted specialised information. (p. 37)

LP: ...does it not, pardon me, indicate a certain coarsening of the fibres?
HV: Obviously. My fibres at this moment resemble coconut matting.
LP: Without even "Welcome" written across them. But, look here, beloved, bearing in mind that I'm a corpse-fan, don't you think you might, as man to man, have let me in on the ground-floor?
HV: If you put it that way, I certainly might. But I thought--"
LP:  Women will let the personal element crop in...
(Lord Peter, Harriet Vane; p. 41)

Set your mind at rest. We are not going to ask to come with you. I know that the amateur detective has a habit of embarrassing the police in the execution of their duty. (Lord Peter; p. 47)

Between an avenue of clicking shutters. they descended the marble steps, and climbed into Wimsey's Daimler.
"I feel," said Harriet maliciously, "as if we had just been married at St. George's, Hanover Square."
"No, you don't," retorted Wimsey. "If we had, you would be trembling like a fluttered partridge. Being married to me is a tremendous experience--you've no idea." (p. 47-8)

Harriet murmured something inaudible. This conversation was dreadful to her. It was nauseating, pitiful, artificial yet horribly real; grotesquely comic and worse than tragic. She wanted to stop it at all costs, and she wanted at all costs to go on and disentangle the few threads of fact from the gaudy tangle of absurdity. (p. 58)

You dance very correctly, mademoiselle. It is only the entrain that is a little lacking. It is possible that you are awaiting the perfect partner. When the heart dances with the feet, then it will be a merveille." (Antoine; p. 68)

"Well," says the manager, "you can come for a little time with the beard till we are suited, but if you want to stay, you remove the beard." Very well, Alexis come and dance, and the ladies are delighted. The beard is so distinguished, so romantic, so unusual. They come a very long distance express to dance with the beard. (Antoine; p. 73)

If you ever need to talk secrets, be sure you avoid the blasted oak, the privet hedge and the old summer house in the Italian garden--all the places where people can stealthily creep up under cover with their ears flapping. (Lord Peter; p. 90)

Wimsey considered, rightly, that when a woman takes a man's advice about the purchase of clothes, it is a sign that she is not indifferent to his opinion. (p. 128)

Mademoiselle, I think you know the difference between love which is important and love which is unimportant. But you must remember that one may have an important love for an unimportant person. (Antoine; p. 150)

 Antoine always talks about logic, but what I say is, people aren't logical. Look at all the funny things they do. Especially men. I always think men are terribly inconsistent. (Leila; p. 153)

When I kiss you, it will be an important event -- one of those things which stand out among their surroundings like the first time you tasted li-chee. It will not be an unimportant sideshow attached to a detective investigation. (Lord Peter; 166-7)

HV: Peter! I  believe I've been kissed by a murderer.
LP: Have you? Well, it serves you right for letting anybody kiss you but me.
(Harriet, Lord Peter; p. 191)

OK: The policeman doesn't believe a word I've been saying, but you do, don't you?
LP: I do. But you see, I can believe a thing without understanding it. It's all a matter of training.
(Olga Kahn, Lord Peter; p. 237)

I must say this case is really unique in one thing. It's the only one I have ever known in which a murderer didn't know the time he was supposed to have done the murder at. (Lord Peter; p. 348)

[Last Line] I always did hate watering places! (Lord Peter)

1 comment:

Carol said...

I've only read one or two of the Lord Peter mysteries. I like the quotes you picked out.