Originally Posted by fantasyfan
I hadn't read any of Dorothy L.Sayers' mystery novels for quite some time--the last being Murder Must Advertise about 20 years or so ago. Hence, I settled into Gaudy Night which is reputed to be one of her best Wimsey stories and one which involves Harriet Vane as well.
Its reputation is deserved. GN is elegantly and intelligently written and the characterization is far better than one gets in most mystery novels. Above all, it is really a Harriet Vane novel--though Lord Peter is there at the beginning and end--for it is through her eyes we see events developing. These events involve a series of highly disruptive events in the normally quiet university atmosphere. At first they seem to be pranks, but soon a sinister element becomes more obtrusive. . . .
The setting is Oxford University and though the specific College is fictional, it is probably based on Somerville College which Sayers attended and which for a time was exclusively for women. It certainly comes vividly to life in this novel.
It's one of my favourites, although I think I'd probably put "Murder Must Advertise" right at the very top.