Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

I have to admit, I picked up this book by Dorothy L. Sayers because the title amused me. Previously, I had been unaware of Ms. Sayers' existence. She was apparently quite the woman. Best know for her detective novels about the amateuar sleuthing of Lord Peter Wimsey, she also:

- Was a notable Christian Scholar. (although she had a child out of wedlock way back 1923 - Scandal!)
- Did a translation of Dante's Inferno that is still respected today.
- Was the first woman to receive a degree from Oxford. (Previously, women could attend the university, but didn't receive degrees.)
- Was a success in the advertising (She created that campaign for Guiness that features the toucan. Not sure what a toucan has to do with Guiness, but it is charming. Also, credited with coining the phrase, "It pays to advertise.")

I was excited after reading the first few pages of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club to realize that it was set in post WWI England. I am fascinated by post WWI and think it is a very overlooked time period. New innovations in killing and healing kept alive many soldiers who previously would have perished on the battlefield. Civilians had to learn how to deal with these shell shocked and disfigured veterans. Definitely a time of change.

Anyway, I enjoyed The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, largely for its authentic historical setting, but also for the character of Lord Peter Wimsey. I did find it interesting that Sayers was very harsh on women in the novel, frequently having the male lead characters kvetch about them. For such a progressive, groundbreaking woman, I found that part of her writing a little surprising. But, she may have been frequently criticized by her female peers during life. No one likes a progressive...

No comments:

Post a Comment