Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. SayersHave His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8) by Dorothy L. Sayers
Published: Open Road Media (1932), eBook, 440pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fiction, Mystery

When Harriet Vane finds a dead body on the beach, she and Lord Peter Wimsey must solve a murder when all the evidence has washed out to sea

Harriet Vane has gone on vacation to forget her recent murder trial and, more importantly, to forget the man who cleared her name—the dapper, handsome, and maddening Lord Peter Wimsey. She is alone on a beach when she spies a man lying on a rock, surf lapping at his ankles. She tries to wake him, but he doesn’t budge. His throat has been cut, and his blood has drained out onto the sand. As the tide inches forward, Harriet makes what observations she can and photographs the scene. Finally, she goes for the police, but by the time they return the body has gone. Only one person can help her discover how the poor man died at the beach: Lord Peter, the amateur sleuth who won her freedom and her heart in one fell swoop. (from Goodreads)

After my manic book-buying spree the other month I ended up with a complete collection of the Lord Peter Wimsey books, mainly because I couldn’t help myself and also because of the feels. I went straight to Have His Carcase because I needed more Lord Peter and Harriet Vane having adventures together RIGHT NOW. And I was totally right to do so.

Basically, my entire Have His Carcase reading experience was a lot of excited internal screaming. I already knew what was going to happen because I cheated and watched the TV show version before reading the book,1 but knowing everything that was going to happen actually made it BETTER. I looked forward to reading my favorite scenes, and for once knowing who the murderer was before the detectives do didn’t annoy me at all.

wave of feels gif

Look, these aren’t romances as defined by the conventional romance story. They’re mysteries, with romance woven throughout like delicate gold thread through a huge tapestry (a hunting scene, perhaps). But the romance between Peter and Harriet is SO lovely, and so real, that I can’t help but pull it out and stare at it in amazement.

The mystery part is pretty good, too, of course. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep one occupied, and the murder is elaborate and confusing. Even if you don’t like romance you’d probably enjoy Have His Carcase— especially if you’re already a fan of the Lord Peter series.

I’ve always liked Dorothy L. Sayers’ ability to incorporate humor and sarcasm into her murder mysteries; it keeps me on my toes. I also like that she can write these amazing stories with mysteries and romance and family and humor and politics and ALL THIS STUFF and they never feel too crowded or boring.

I cannot WAIT to read Gaudy Night.

Read: November 26-30, 2013

Light kinda-spoilers down here for the ending, for those who’ve already read Have His Carcase. Were you disappointed with the final events, like I was? I am not a fan of up-in-the-air kind of ending. Like, we know who did it, we know how they did it, but View Spoiler » It felt so unsatisfying, especially after the TV show which DOES have a more solid ending.


  1. sidenote, that is an AWESOME ADAPTATION. Edward Petherbridge is everything I ever wanted in a Lord Peter and Harriet Walter is pretty damned amazing, too. Further sidenote: do you think actors every get weirded out playing people with their own names? And what about when authors create characters with their name but the characters aren’t supposed to be the author, even as a fictional version? That’s weird, too.

3 thoughts on “Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers”

  1. Oh how I love Have His Carcase. It’s not the best mystery Sayers ever wrote, but I love for Harriet and Peter to get to have fun detecting things together. And also when you finish Have His Carcase, there is Gaudy Night waiting for you! Wonderful wonderful Gaudy Night!

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