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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dorothy L. Sayers' THE NINE TAILORS

There was an interesting, if rather odd, piece about THE NINE TAILORS on the "You Must Read This" segment on NPR's All Things Considered recently. You can read and/or listen to the story here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17618908.

I disagree with Jonathan Hayes both about his description ("brutal"??) and his assessment (not her best) but certainly agree with him that (like all Sayers) "it's a far richer read than anything by Agatha Christie." Although I may enjoy the quartet of books in which Lord Peter meets and marries the unconventional Harriet Vane more, I think THE NINE TAILORS may indeed be Sayers' best book, featuring not only her always-eloquent prose and charming dialogue, but the intriguing bell-ringing theme beautifully underpinning the plot and giving it a special, well, resonance.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! "Interesting, and rather odd" - the story of my life! Thanks for your comments on my Sayers' piece, Jill.

    I agree with you that "brutal" is the wrong word for the novel - unfortunately, a poorly chosen adjective got amplified when NPR decided on "A Brutal British Mystery" or something similar for the headline.

    When I wrote the piece, I'd recently read Christie's THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD, and found it anemic and irritating (and not because of the ending). I thought of the mutilated body in the grave near the beginning of TAILORS and felt that it was an image not only more gripping than anything in the Christie story, but also more true to life. Using "brutal" was laziness on my part, I'm afraid - an adjective that will live on in infamy.

    But we'll have to continue to disagree about TAILORS being Sayers' best - I love the book, but there's far too much bell-ringing arcana for yrs truly!