The Tuesday Night Club has devoted February to Dorothy L Sayers.
In March we will move on to John Dickson Carr – new and casual members always welcome.
Last week’s Sayers links are here
Week two links are here
Week one links are here.
(Thanks to Bev at My Reader’s Block, who took on co-ordination at the last minute.)
For this final Tuesday Night Club entry I have put together three different personal Sayers items:
FASHION: Blog reader Susan Daly emailed me after last week’s entry, wondering if I knew about the designs for Harriet’s wardrobe (and a few clothes for the Dowager Duchess and Miss Climpson) from the book Murderess Ink – well I did once, but I had completely forgotten about them until I saw her email. The book is a gigantic and rather wonderful anthology about female writers, detectives and characters in crime fiction, edited by Dilys Winn, first published in 1979. Crime writer Jane Langton wrote an article about Harriet D Vane’s appearance, and these pictures accompanied it.
I am eternally grateful to Susan for the tipoff. I searched frantically for my own copy of Murderess Ink, and couldn’t find it – but found copies of the pictures at a rather wonderful blog called Mostly Paper Dolls, so thanks to them too.
DEGREES OF SEPARATION: When I was in my first job, I was friendly with a much older colleague who amazed me by revealed that when HE was much younger he’d been an aspiring actor, and had known Dorothy L Sayers well. She had very much enjoyed the company of good-looking young men, he said (I believed him that he fell into this category), and loved being with actors and theatricals of any kind. He said that she wore quite extraordinary clothes… Few connections with the great and the good of this world have pleased me as much as knowing that I knew someone who knew her…
BELL-RINGING Last week I created an exam paper on Lord Peter Wimsey, and I was going to put a question in about bell-ringing, but in the end decided to save the idea for the final TNC entry.
The question would have been:
Name some bell-ringing errors in The Nine Tailors.Allegedly there are an awful lot of them. They start with her use of the word campanology: this is a dictionary word for the art and science of bell-ringing, but was never used by people who actually were serious about bell-ringing – they despised the word.
And, in the book, the vicar relieves the ringers in turn – this would never be allowed in a proper peal.
I have knowledge/not knowledge in this area for personal reasons. I wouldn’t be sure of recognizing any errors, and certainly couldn’t adjudicate, but I married into a very strong bell-ringing family. When my father-in-law died I chose a passage from The Nine Tailors to be read out at his memorial service: my view was that he would certainly have said it was full of errors, but he would appreciate the thought.
This came up when I did a recent post on Nine Tailors, and I was telling part of this story in response to a comment. As I was writing, my husband came in to tell me that there was a mistake in the short extract I had used in the post – ‘you don’t start a peal by saying “go!”’
So, maybe Sayers makes mistakes. But I make no apology for yet again reproducing this beautiful description of the bells ringing in the New Year in the Fens – my favourite passage in the whole of DLS:
Out over the flat, white wastes of fen, over the spear-straight, steel-dark dykes and the wind-bent, groaning poplar trees, bursting from the snow-choked louvres of the belfry, whirled away southward and westward in gusty blasts of clamour to the sleeping counties went the music of the bells.
Little Gaude, silver Sabaoth, strong John and Jericho, glad Jubilee, sweet Dimity and old Batty Thomas, with great Tailor Paul bawling and striding like a giant in the midst of them. Up and down went the shadows of the ringers upon the walls, up and down went the scarlet sallies flickering roofwards and floorwards, and up and down, hunting in their courses, went the bells of Fenchurch St. Paul.