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The ad men at Pym’s can sell anything—even murder

The iron staircase at Pym’s Publicity is a deathtrap, and no one in the advertising agency is surprised when Victor Dean tumbles down it, cracking his skull along the way. Dean’s replacement arrives just a few days later—a green copywriter named Death Bredon. Though he displays a surprising talent for the business of selling margarine, alarm clocks, and nerve tonics, Bredon is not really there to write copy. In fact, he is really Lord Peter Wimsey, and he has come to Pym’s in search of the man who pushed Dean.
 
As he tries to navigate the cutthroat world of London advertising, Lord Peter uncovers a mystery that touches on catapults, cocaine, and cricket. But how does one uncover a murderer in a business where it pays to have no soul?
 
Murder Must Advertise is the 10th book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series by reading the books in any order.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.

Topics: Murder, Private Investigators, Blackmail, Secrets, Advertising, Drugs, Nobility, Mistaken Identity, London, 1930s, Witty, Suspenseful, Series, Third Person Narration, Female Author, British Author, and 20th Century

Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on
ISBN: 9781453258934
List price: $9.99
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Another reread. I liked this one more this time round, actually, though I can't quite put my finger on why. I'm not sure why I thought the solutions were all so obvious, the first time I read it; they were reasonably obvious now, but then I've read it once before and listened to the BBC radioplay, so of course they were. Couple of winces from me with several of the female characters -- Dian de Momerie, mostly, and also Tallboy's mistress. They were plot devices, not people; Dian could almost be a person, but then Sayers just drops her at the end. Pamela Dean wasn't precisely treated wonderfully, either, and Miss Meteyard wasn't used to full effect.

Otherwise though, it's all very fun and very vivid, obviously formed partly from Sayers' own experiences, and therefore feeling 'right' to the reader.

The ending still brought me up cold. I somewhat wish that the penultimate chapter was the last: we don't need to see Peter ambling round and clearing everything up after the nasty end of that chapter; it takes the edge off the impression the novel leaves in your mind, and while I know it's a convention with mystery stories to do that, Sayers could've bucked the convention and carried it off.more
No Harriet, but quite sensible and not so ludicrously adored Peter Wimsey.more
I almost think this is my favorite of the Wimsey stories, even though I dearly love Harriet Vane, who doesn't appear here. I think it's the setting in the advertising agency that I like so much -- advertising still almost in its infancy and Wimsey discovering his talent for it. I can easily see why it is one of two Wimseys to make the 1000 Novels list.more
This novel is as much a satire on the advertising industry and office politics as it is a mystery, and none the worse for it. Witty and entertaining, with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. And Peter Wimsey, of course. (Though, sadly, not as much of Bunter as I would have liked!)more
 This has to be one of the classic detective books ever written. Apart from Lord Peter Wimsey (who's just fabulous in almost every way), this has a murder, intrigue, drugs and about as many twists and turns as a corkscrew. I know whodunit - I've read this before, but it still leaves me wondering if he's going to get to the bottom of this murky talemore
Very ambitious and thematically interesting, but honestly Peter Wimsey annoyed me in this book. I don't know that the author intends us to sympathize with his Oxford-graduate values, but he's so very cavalier throughout, and some of his crime-solving techniques were a little too theatrical and manipulative to be believed or tolerated.

I also wondered about the accuracy of its portrait of British drug rings of the thirties; the author was clearly doing her best not to be sensational, but I think she set herself up for a difficult task. On the other hand, her depiction of British advertising agencies in the thirties was highly entertaining and clearly drawn from personal experience, so that kept the novel as a whole down to earth.more
Still working my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey books. I am enjoying the ones without Harriet, but I find they don’t make me think as hard. MMA was a little didactic about the role of advertising in society, but the real joy of this book was the bickery in-fighting in the ad agency where Lord Peter takes a job in order to investigate a murder. (I’m sure there’s a Nero Wolfe book that’s got the same plot, actually, but I can’t remember what it is right now…)more
In the middle of what might almost seem a playful romp is a rather modern and chilling description of the pressures of the middle-class trying to keep up with the class and social aspirations. And then, if you look closely, underneath everything is a surprisingly noirish story.more
Where I got the book: purchased from The Book Depository. I'm absolutely sure I had the 70s NEL edition once upon a time, but you know how it is with really good books. They grow legs and walk away.Quickie story roundup: Lord Peter Wimsey, for the first time in his life, is pulling in a salary (of £4 a week). Adopting the persona of Mr. Death Bredon, he becomes a copywriter in the advertising firm Pym's Publicity to investigate the mysterious death of one Victor Dean, and discovers that Dean's death is the tip of an iceberg which affects thousands of lives all over London.Dorothy L. Sayers worked in an advertising firm for seven years, and engineering Lord Peter into a job in the environment she knew so well was a gold-plated stroke of genius. By the time she wrote Murder Must Advertise, her copywriting days were three or four years behind her but clearly still burned into her memory and affections. During those years she had been through heartbreak and the carefully concealed birth of an illegitimate child, and there is an edge to her descriptions of Pym's despite the resolutely jolly tone of many of the scenes, although she is careful to direct her cynicism at the practice of advertising in general. It is my theory that the lanky, clever, university-educated Miss Meteyard--cool and sardonic yet knowing--is a self-portrait, DLS in her earlier days, even as Harriet Vane is the embittered post-heartbreak self.I have said before that every Wimsey novel has a tone quite unlike the others. What strikes me about this one is that the chorus of London voices almost makes Lord Peter take second place. From society cocktail parties to cricket to Covent Garden, this is a loving portrait of Sayers' real world wrapped around an ingeniously plotted mystery with plenty of twists and reveals. It paves the way for the realism Sayers achieves in Gaudy Night whereas The Nine Tailors, her next novel, is a throwback to an earlier style (but none the worse for that).I've heard many people say that Murder Must Advertise is their favorite Sayers novel, and I can see why. The drawbacks for me were the cricket match (I never did learn the game, despite having grown up in England) and Lady Mary Parker's dreary domesticity when she'd been such a promising character. And I believe I stumbled across a terrific mistake in chapter 18 (see my updates). But hey, DLS almost certainly spotted it too at some point in her life, and no doubt laughed it off. She was one of the most human of writers, and her fans love her for it.more
I think one should read this book as a historical mystery now. It is almost 80 years since it was written and many things have changed. Although I suppose advertising agencies perhaps operate much the same way. I was interested to read that Sayers herself worked for an advertising agency so she obviously knew what she was writing about.Lord Peter Wimsey, posing as Death Bredon, starts to work in the copy department of Pym's Advertising. He has been brought in by Mr. Pym to investigate the death of a previous employee who fell down the stairs at the agency. No-one else at the agency knows he is a peer. Wimsey seems to enjoy the work at the agency and also to be getting somewhere with the investigation. It appears that the deceased was killed and that the drug trade is somehow involved.I find Wimsey's mannerisms and speech annoying but I think that is because it has been parodied so much. Still, I can't believe anyone really spoke that way. I also found the ending distasteful. However, there is lots to enjoy in this classic detective story, like the description of the cricket match.more
Ms Sayers wrote detective novels but later shifted to theological dramas. This book is one in a series of detective novels featuring the hero, Lord Peter Wimsey and is set in an advertising agency. Wimsey is undercover, hired to investigate the death of one of the copy writer’s, Dean. Wimsey uncovers a cocaine dealing ring. It is an enjoyable mystery but the main reason the book made the list is because of Ms Sayers portrayal of the advertising world. Ms Sayers worked as a copywriter in the advertising world and was able to draw on her own experience. The drug dealers are using the agency to operate and the author can use the operations of the agency to develop the detective story. The main character Wimsey does conjure of ‘whimsey’ and he brings to mind Bertie Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse’s series of Jeeves. There is a detailed section toward the end of the book about a cricket game and I have to admit, none of it made sense but both Wooster and Wimsey are cricketers and athletes.more
One of my favourite Wimseys, in which Lord Peter goes undercover at an advertising agency. Fascinating for its glimpse into 1930’s office life, in which everyone dresses formally and addresses their colleagues by their last names.more
Insight into the world and ethics of an advertising agency, with a murder mystery thrown in. Sayers ruminates interestingly on the purpose and desirability of advertising - as pertinent today as when it was written. Could have done without the l-o-n-g cricket match description though.more
Reading this novel I get why people praise Dorothy Sayers not just as some clever puzzle-maker, creator of a classic detective or a mere mystery writer, but as a fine novelist who wrote works that can be called literature. In this story, after a half-finished letter implying corruption is found among the effects of a seeming accident victim, Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover in an advertising agency to investigate. Dorothy Sayers herself worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency, and it shows in the details of the workings of the agency and the theme throughout of the ethical complexities, nay, more like the ethical shortcomings, of the business: "Of course there is some truth in advertising. There's yeast in bread, but you can't make bread with yeast alone. Truth in advertising," announced Lord Peter sententiously, "is like leaven, which a woman hid in three measures of meal. It provides a suitable quantity of gas, with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentation into a form that the public can swallow."There are also the running themes of class distinctions based on education and the futility of the drug war. The book seems quite relevant still today. There's also a sophisticated style apparent at times--even some passages that use the stream-of-consciousness technique. For all that I don't want you to think this makes for dry reading. As with all of Sayers' books, there's plenty of wit and humor to be found. Particularly striking in that regard is the boy Ginger Joe, who aspires to be a detective and the incident with Mr Copley, where his view of himself as savior of the firm is punctured the next day. Sayers paints a deliciously comic yet insightful picture of office politics among a murder investigation. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the Sayers books I've read, not everything comes across as credible (the identical cousins subplot made me raise my eyebrows almost to my hairline), but this one did have a clever resolution. Not so much as to who--Sayers tips her hat to that fairly early--as to how. A clever, enjoyable, and thoughtful novel.more
My second-favourite Wimsey story (after Gaudy Night), mostly because both Sayers and Lord Peter seem to be having so much fun in the advertising agency.more
I understand that Sayers herself worked in an advertising agency. It isn't surprising, given the detail and feeling for the place shown here. What is wonderful is that this takes place in the '30's, and the workings of a then-modern ad agency are fascinating from this distance. A touch of tightening might have benefitted the book but it is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it--language, wit, situation, whimsey, Wimsey, and all.more
I really like the main character, Lord Peter Wimsey. I got lost in the description of the cricket match although I was able to follow what was a good thing and what was bad. And who could not be entertained by a line like "What-ho! That absolutely whangs the nail over the crumpet."?more
Beautiful language, gloriously ridiculous plots, and the first to bring the emotional life of her characters into the fore of the mystery. (Even though she did insist on apologizing for it.)more
This was a delightful romp with Lord Peter Wimsey, a detective who goes undercover into Pym's Publicity to find out what, if anything underhand is going on in that most upstanding and reputable advertising agency that could have caused the death of not just one but 5 individuals.It's as delightful and cosy a read as others in the series, and this doesn't fail to entertain.more
One of the best of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, as Lord Peter goes undercover at an ad agency to investigate the mystery of why one of the copywriters fell to his death on a spiral iron staircase. Dorothy L. Sayers has a lot of fun with her subject and her setting, one she would have known well from her own career in advertising, as she contrasts this with the empty world of the bright young things. Superb.more
My alltime favorite British mystery. What Sayers (who worked in an ad agency) had to say about this form of communication is still right on target today. Witty and fun.more
Whimsy is great, not just a murder, probably better on tape because of accents.more
Good British mystery. The main character was likable without being preternaturally smart. My only complaint was the drawn out cricket match that I just couldn't follow.more
One of my favourite Wimsey's. Love the colour of the advertising agency and the bright young things. And the human sympathy to the murderer - Sayers is no snob.more
My first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery! A gem! Much fun is had by both author and characters with the setting. Enjoyed throughout by me.
more
When a young advertising copywriter tumbles down a steep flight of stairs, the coroner deems his death an unfortunate accident. Mr. Pym, of Pym’s Publicity, suspects otherwise, and calls in Lord Peter Wimsey to investigate the case undercover as his badly-behaved “cousin,” Mr. Death Bredon. It turns out that the death of the copywriter is only a small part of the mystery, as Wimsey finds himself embroiled in the complicated machinations of a cocaine smuggling ring. What does Pym’s Publicity have to do with it all?Dorothy Sayers worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency from 1921-1933, helped create the Guinness ads that are sometime seen today, and is credited with inventing the slogan, “it pays to advertise.” So Sayers knew her stuff, and it shows (she even goes into detail about what copy is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of legal repercussions).There are quite a few characters to keep track of, and it’s nearly impossible for the reader to figure out who’s behind it all. There’s a lot more to this book than advertising and cocaine, though—there’s also a few wanton women and some blackmail to spice things up a bit. The characters are witty, varied, and memorable, and the plot doesn’t overwhelm. Definitely a great place to start reading Sayers’s work if you haven’t read her work before.more
“You’ll soon find that the biggest obstacle to good advertising is the client.” A lot has changed about advertising since this book was published in 1933, but considering this quote, obviously a lot has remained the same as well.I read Murder Must Advertise as the first of ten books for the 1% challenge – it’s one of the 1001 Books to Read before you Die. I’ll be totally honest though – I didn’t have that much fun reading it. Plus points for me: Set in an advertising agency, fun facts about advertising in the 1930s (most ads were in newspapers, smoking was a big ad money maker), main characters were copywriters (or pretending to be copywriters), crime was actually pretty ingenious.Minus points for me: Too many characters to keep track of or care about, pacing is very slow and some scenes are too long and drawn out (especially a scene near the end where the agency plays cricket for an entire chapter) and none of it seems terribly urgent.I’d only really recommend this to patient readers who work in advertising or who just love old school mysteries.more
One of my favorites of the pre-Harriet novels. I think The Nine Tailors has better writing, but this is tight and fast-paced and really shows us Peter.more
Read all 37 reviews

Reviews

Another reread. I liked this one more this time round, actually, though I can't quite put my finger on why. I'm not sure why I thought the solutions were all so obvious, the first time I read it; they were reasonably obvious now, but then I've read it once before and listened to the BBC radioplay, so of course they were. Couple of winces from me with several of the female characters -- Dian de Momerie, mostly, and also Tallboy's mistress. They were plot devices, not people; Dian could almost be a person, but then Sayers just drops her at the end. Pamela Dean wasn't precisely treated wonderfully, either, and Miss Meteyard wasn't used to full effect.

Otherwise though, it's all very fun and very vivid, obviously formed partly from Sayers' own experiences, and therefore feeling 'right' to the reader.

The ending still brought me up cold. I somewhat wish that the penultimate chapter was the last: we don't need to see Peter ambling round and clearing everything up after the nasty end of that chapter; it takes the edge off the impression the novel leaves in your mind, and while I know it's a convention with mystery stories to do that, Sayers could've bucked the convention and carried it off.more
No Harriet, but quite sensible and not so ludicrously adored Peter Wimsey.more
I almost think this is my favorite of the Wimsey stories, even though I dearly love Harriet Vane, who doesn't appear here. I think it's the setting in the advertising agency that I like so much -- advertising still almost in its infancy and Wimsey discovering his talent for it. I can easily see why it is one of two Wimseys to make the 1000 Novels list.more
This novel is as much a satire on the advertising industry and office politics as it is a mystery, and none the worse for it. Witty and entertaining, with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. And Peter Wimsey, of course. (Though, sadly, not as much of Bunter as I would have liked!)more
 This has to be one of the classic detective books ever written. Apart from Lord Peter Wimsey (who's just fabulous in almost every way), this has a murder, intrigue, drugs and about as many twists and turns as a corkscrew. I know whodunit - I've read this before, but it still leaves me wondering if he's going to get to the bottom of this murky talemore
Very ambitious and thematically interesting, but honestly Peter Wimsey annoyed me in this book. I don't know that the author intends us to sympathize with his Oxford-graduate values, but he's so very cavalier throughout, and some of his crime-solving techniques were a little too theatrical and manipulative to be believed or tolerated.

I also wondered about the accuracy of its portrait of British drug rings of the thirties; the author was clearly doing her best not to be sensational, but I think she set herself up for a difficult task. On the other hand, her depiction of British advertising agencies in the thirties was highly entertaining and clearly drawn from personal experience, so that kept the novel as a whole down to earth.more
Still working my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey books. I am enjoying the ones without Harriet, but I find they don’t make me think as hard. MMA was a little didactic about the role of advertising in society, but the real joy of this book was the bickery in-fighting in the ad agency where Lord Peter takes a job in order to investigate a murder. (I’m sure there’s a Nero Wolfe book that’s got the same plot, actually, but I can’t remember what it is right now…)more
In the middle of what might almost seem a playful romp is a rather modern and chilling description of the pressures of the middle-class trying to keep up with the class and social aspirations. And then, if you look closely, underneath everything is a surprisingly noirish story.more
Where I got the book: purchased from The Book Depository. I'm absolutely sure I had the 70s NEL edition once upon a time, but you know how it is with really good books. They grow legs and walk away.Quickie story roundup: Lord Peter Wimsey, for the first time in his life, is pulling in a salary (of £4 a week). Adopting the persona of Mr. Death Bredon, he becomes a copywriter in the advertising firm Pym's Publicity to investigate the mysterious death of one Victor Dean, and discovers that Dean's death is the tip of an iceberg which affects thousands of lives all over London.Dorothy L. Sayers worked in an advertising firm for seven years, and engineering Lord Peter into a job in the environment she knew so well was a gold-plated stroke of genius. By the time she wrote Murder Must Advertise, her copywriting days were three or four years behind her but clearly still burned into her memory and affections. During those years she had been through heartbreak and the carefully concealed birth of an illegitimate child, and there is an edge to her descriptions of Pym's despite the resolutely jolly tone of many of the scenes, although she is careful to direct her cynicism at the practice of advertising in general. It is my theory that the lanky, clever, university-educated Miss Meteyard--cool and sardonic yet knowing--is a self-portrait, DLS in her earlier days, even as Harriet Vane is the embittered post-heartbreak self.I have said before that every Wimsey novel has a tone quite unlike the others. What strikes me about this one is that the chorus of London voices almost makes Lord Peter take second place. From society cocktail parties to cricket to Covent Garden, this is a loving portrait of Sayers' real world wrapped around an ingeniously plotted mystery with plenty of twists and reveals. It paves the way for the realism Sayers achieves in Gaudy Night whereas The Nine Tailors, her next novel, is a throwback to an earlier style (but none the worse for that).I've heard many people say that Murder Must Advertise is their favorite Sayers novel, and I can see why. The drawbacks for me were the cricket match (I never did learn the game, despite having grown up in England) and Lady Mary Parker's dreary domesticity when she'd been such a promising character. And I believe I stumbled across a terrific mistake in chapter 18 (see my updates). But hey, DLS almost certainly spotted it too at some point in her life, and no doubt laughed it off. She was one of the most human of writers, and her fans love her for it.more
I think one should read this book as a historical mystery now. It is almost 80 years since it was written and many things have changed. Although I suppose advertising agencies perhaps operate much the same way. I was interested to read that Sayers herself worked for an advertising agency so she obviously knew what she was writing about.Lord Peter Wimsey, posing as Death Bredon, starts to work in the copy department of Pym's Advertising. He has been brought in by Mr. Pym to investigate the death of a previous employee who fell down the stairs at the agency. No-one else at the agency knows he is a peer. Wimsey seems to enjoy the work at the agency and also to be getting somewhere with the investigation. It appears that the deceased was killed and that the drug trade is somehow involved.I find Wimsey's mannerisms and speech annoying but I think that is because it has been parodied so much. Still, I can't believe anyone really spoke that way. I also found the ending distasteful. However, there is lots to enjoy in this classic detective story, like the description of the cricket match.more
Ms Sayers wrote detective novels but later shifted to theological dramas. This book is one in a series of detective novels featuring the hero, Lord Peter Wimsey and is set in an advertising agency. Wimsey is undercover, hired to investigate the death of one of the copy writer’s, Dean. Wimsey uncovers a cocaine dealing ring. It is an enjoyable mystery but the main reason the book made the list is because of Ms Sayers portrayal of the advertising world. Ms Sayers worked as a copywriter in the advertising world and was able to draw on her own experience. The drug dealers are using the agency to operate and the author can use the operations of the agency to develop the detective story. The main character Wimsey does conjure of ‘whimsey’ and he brings to mind Bertie Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse’s series of Jeeves. There is a detailed section toward the end of the book about a cricket game and I have to admit, none of it made sense but both Wooster and Wimsey are cricketers and athletes.more
One of my favourite Wimseys, in which Lord Peter goes undercover at an advertising agency. Fascinating for its glimpse into 1930’s office life, in which everyone dresses formally and addresses their colleagues by their last names.more
Insight into the world and ethics of an advertising agency, with a murder mystery thrown in. Sayers ruminates interestingly on the purpose and desirability of advertising - as pertinent today as when it was written. Could have done without the l-o-n-g cricket match description though.more
Reading this novel I get why people praise Dorothy Sayers not just as some clever puzzle-maker, creator of a classic detective or a mere mystery writer, but as a fine novelist who wrote works that can be called literature. In this story, after a half-finished letter implying corruption is found among the effects of a seeming accident victim, Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover in an advertising agency to investigate. Dorothy Sayers herself worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency, and it shows in the details of the workings of the agency and the theme throughout of the ethical complexities, nay, more like the ethical shortcomings, of the business: "Of course there is some truth in advertising. There's yeast in bread, but you can't make bread with yeast alone. Truth in advertising," announced Lord Peter sententiously, "is like leaven, which a woman hid in three measures of meal. It provides a suitable quantity of gas, with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentation into a form that the public can swallow."There are also the running themes of class distinctions based on education and the futility of the drug war. The book seems quite relevant still today. There's also a sophisticated style apparent at times--even some passages that use the stream-of-consciousness technique. For all that I don't want you to think this makes for dry reading. As with all of Sayers' books, there's plenty of wit and humor to be found. Particularly striking in that regard is the boy Ginger Joe, who aspires to be a detective and the incident with Mr Copley, where his view of himself as savior of the firm is punctured the next day. Sayers paints a deliciously comic yet insightful picture of office politics among a murder investigation. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the Sayers books I've read, not everything comes across as credible (the identical cousins subplot made me raise my eyebrows almost to my hairline), but this one did have a clever resolution. Not so much as to who--Sayers tips her hat to that fairly early--as to how. A clever, enjoyable, and thoughtful novel.more
My second-favourite Wimsey story (after Gaudy Night), mostly because both Sayers and Lord Peter seem to be having so much fun in the advertising agency.more
I understand that Sayers herself worked in an advertising agency. It isn't surprising, given the detail and feeling for the place shown here. What is wonderful is that this takes place in the '30's, and the workings of a then-modern ad agency are fascinating from this distance. A touch of tightening might have benefitted the book but it is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it--language, wit, situation, whimsey, Wimsey, and all.more
I really like the main character, Lord Peter Wimsey. I got lost in the description of the cricket match although I was able to follow what was a good thing and what was bad. And who could not be entertained by a line like "What-ho! That absolutely whangs the nail over the crumpet."?more
Beautiful language, gloriously ridiculous plots, and the first to bring the emotional life of her characters into the fore of the mystery. (Even though she did insist on apologizing for it.)more
This was a delightful romp with Lord Peter Wimsey, a detective who goes undercover into Pym's Publicity to find out what, if anything underhand is going on in that most upstanding and reputable advertising agency that could have caused the death of not just one but 5 individuals.It's as delightful and cosy a read as others in the series, and this doesn't fail to entertain.more
One of the best of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, as Lord Peter goes undercover at an ad agency to investigate the mystery of why one of the copywriters fell to his death on a spiral iron staircase. Dorothy L. Sayers has a lot of fun with her subject and her setting, one she would have known well from her own career in advertising, as she contrasts this with the empty world of the bright young things. Superb.more
My alltime favorite British mystery. What Sayers (who worked in an ad agency) had to say about this form of communication is still right on target today. Witty and fun.more
Whimsy is great, not just a murder, probably better on tape because of accents.more
Good British mystery. The main character was likable without being preternaturally smart. My only complaint was the drawn out cricket match that I just couldn't follow.more
One of my favourite Wimsey's. Love the colour of the advertising agency and the bright young things. And the human sympathy to the murderer - Sayers is no snob.more
My first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery! A gem! Much fun is had by both author and characters with the setting. Enjoyed throughout by me.
more
When a young advertising copywriter tumbles down a steep flight of stairs, the coroner deems his death an unfortunate accident. Mr. Pym, of Pym’s Publicity, suspects otherwise, and calls in Lord Peter Wimsey to investigate the case undercover as his badly-behaved “cousin,” Mr. Death Bredon. It turns out that the death of the copywriter is only a small part of the mystery, as Wimsey finds himself embroiled in the complicated machinations of a cocaine smuggling ring. What does Pym’s Publicity have to do with it all?Dorothy Sayers worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency from 1921-1933, helped create the Guinness ads that are sometime seen today, and is credited with inventing the slogan, “it pays to advertise.” So Sayers knew her stuff, and it shows (she even goes into detail about what copy is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of legal repercussions).There are quite a few characters to keep track of, and it’s nearly impossible for the reader to figure out who’s behind it all. There’s a lot more to this book than advertising and cocaine, though—there’s also a few wanton women and some blackmail to spice things up a bit. The characters are witty, varied, and memorable, and the plot doesn’t overwhelm. Definitely a great place to start reading Sayers’s work if you haven’t read her work before.more
“You’ll soon find that the biggest obstacle to good advertising is the client.” A lot has changed about advertising since this book was published in 1933, but considering this quote, obviously a lot has remained the same as well.I read Murder Must Advertise as the first of ten books for the 1% challenge – it’s one of the 1001 Books to Read before you Die. I’ll be totally honest though – I didn’t have that much fun reading it. Plus points for me: Set in an advertising agency, fun facts about advertising in the 1930s (most ads were in newspapers, smoking was a big ad money maker), main characters were copywriters (or pretending to be copywriters), crime was actually pretty ingenious.Minus points for me: Too many characters to keep track of or care about, pacing is very slow and some scenes are too long and drawn out (especially a scene near the end where the agency plays cricket for an entire chapter) and none of it seems terribly urgent.I’d only really recommend this to patient readers who work in advertising or who just love old school mysteries.more
One of my favorites of the pre-Harriet novels. I think The Nine Tailors has better writing, but this is tight and fast-paced and really shows us Peter.more
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