Hangman's holiday

Hangman's holiday is an anthology of Dorothy L. Sayers' short stories compiled in 1934. It's not her writing at its best, although there are some nice touches, and the occasional stand-out decent read including a very clever death by cat!

The anthology consists of 12 short stories. They include 4 Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, 6 Montague Egg tales, and 2 crime stories with no central detective figure. Of the 12 tales by far the best are the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery "The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey", a thoroughly nasty, but very clever tale of revenge; and the Montague Egg story "Maher-shalal-Hashbaz" - which has one of the most unusual murder weapons ever. The two tales sans detective reminded me of some of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected.

None of the stories are brilliant by Sayers' standards. Characterisation is not at its best, and for most of them your imagination has to take a major leap to find the story in any way believable; but they all have their moments, and it's a good entertaining read. I do wish, though, that Sayers had developed her travelling salesman Montague Egg into a fuller formed character. What could he have done, given the longer form of a novel?


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