Sunday, January 24, 2021

Six top academic mysteries

Edwin Hill is the Edgar- and Agatha-award nominated author of Little Comfort, The Missing Ones, and Watch Her.

[Q&A with Edwin Hill]

At CrimeReads. he tagged six favorite academic mysteries, including:
Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers (1935)

I teach a course called Women Crime Writers as part of the Emerson College MFA program. Sayers’ novel was the first book I added to the syllabus (paired with her fantastic essay, “Are Women Human?”). Set in Oxford’s Shrewsbury College, the novel focuses on Lord Peter Wimsey’s occasional partner, Harriet Vane, who returns to attend a gaudy (a reunion of sorts) expecting to be called out for having been accused of murder (in 1930’s Strong Poison). Instead, Harriet has a blast – and snarks on plenty of her fellow alums herself – only to have the event marred by a series of malicious pranks, including a poison pen letter, graffiti, and vandalism. Harriet then calls on Wimsey to solve the crime.

This is by far my favorite of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, if only because it’s more of a Harriet Vane novel, and she’s a much more interesting character for me. It’s too bad that Sayers abandoned the series after one more book (1937’s Busman’s Honeymoon). Who knows what Harriet could have done if she’d been given her own novel?
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gaudy Night is among Ruth Ware's six favorite books about boarding schools, Kate Macdonald's top ten conservative novels, and Anna Quindlen's favorite mystery novels.

--Marshal Zeringue