I have been slowly working my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers. Sayers is known both for her detective novels and her non-fiction works on faith and education, and her translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia. She was active writer from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Lord Peter Wimsey, the subject of the series, is a rich, seemingly carefree aristocrat with nothing better to do than solve difficult crimes. In Strong Poison (#6 and the best of the books to that point), Harriet Vane was introduced. She is single detective novelist that was on trial for murder. Wimsey proved her innocent and has been trying to convince her to marry him since then. (She was absent in the 7th book and it was weaker for it.)
In Have His Carcase, Vane is on a walking tour near the sea and stumbles on a freshly dead body. She couldn’t move the body off the rock by herself, but takes pictures and goes after help. By the time she finds help, the body has been washed to sea. Wimsey rushes up from London to help solve the crime, and to continue to ask her to marry him.
The interaction between the two of them makes the book. It is obvious that they were meant for each other, but also very good at what they do, so that it is a real partnership, not just a romance.
This is a complicated mystery. There are a number of potential murderers and all of them have alibis, some of the alibis a bit too neat, but alibis nonetheless. This is the type of mystery I like. Slowly working through the clues and tracking down elements to the story. It is clear that had Vane (I initially wrote Sayers and Sayers did model Vane after herself a bit) and Wimsey not been around the murder would have been treated as a suicide. And really it not clear until near the end that it was actually a murder.
Have His Carcase and Strong Poison are the two best books of the series so far. I have purchased all of the books of the series on kindle. They are published by Open Road Media and on sale fairly regularly. Seven more books to go.