Special Collection: The Works of Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957)

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (13 June 1893-17 December 1957) who preferred to be referred to as Dorothy L Sayers, was a renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages. She is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between the First and Second World Wars that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, that remain popular to this day. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her best work. She is also known for her plays, literary criticism and essays.

In 1912, she won a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford, and studied modern languages and medieval literature. She finished with first-class honours in 1915. Although women could not be awarded degrees at that time, Sayers was among the first to receive a degree when the position changed a few years later, and in 1920 she graduated as a MA. Her experience of Oxford academic life eventually inspired her penultimate Peter Wimsey novel, Gaudy Night.

Another website that offers much more extensive information about the writer and her works at "The Dorothy L. Sayers Society"

Works marked with a * are currently under development at Distributed Proofreaders Canada and will be made available over the next few months.

Lord Peter Wimsey novels and short story collections:

Whose Body? (1923) The first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, which introduced the character.

Clouds of Witness (1926) The second Lord Peter Wimsey novel. Also made into a TV Mini-Series Clouds of Witness.

Unnatural Death (1927) The third Lord Peter Wimsey novel. Also published in the U.S. as The Dawson Pedigree

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) The fourth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Lord Peter Views the Body (1928) 12 Lord Peter Stories

Strong Poison (1930) The fifth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Five Red Herrings (1931) Retitled Suspicious Characters for the first publication in the U.S. The sixth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Have His Carcase (1932) The seventh Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Hangman's Holiday (1933) 4 Lord Peter stories; 6 Montague Egg stories; and two others.

Murder Must Advertise (1933) The eighth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

The Nine Tailors (1934) The ninth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Gaudy Night (1935) The tenth Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

Busman’s Honeymoon (1937) The eleventh and last Lord Peter Wimsey novel. Also made into a movie Haunted Honeymoon.

In the Teeth of the Evidence (1939) 2 Lord Peter stories; 5 Montague Egg stories; and 10 others.

Striding Folly Including Three Final Lord Peter Wimsey Stories (1972) Two of the three stories, Striding Folly and The Haunted Policeman are published here as separate stories. The third, Talboys, (the last Lord Peter story) was written in 1942, but not published until this book (1972), and hence is still under copyright in Canada.

The Haunted Policeman (1939) A single Lord Peter story from Striding Folly

Striding Folly (1939) A single Lord Peter story from Striding Folly

Lord Peter—the Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories (1972) The first edition contains 20 Lord Peter short stories; the second edition includes all 21 Lord Peter short stories by adding "Talboys".

The Wimsey Papers—The Wartime Letters and Documents of the Wimsey Family (1940) The Wimsey Papers are a series of articles by Sayers published between November 1939 and January 1940 in The Spectator. They had the form of letters exchanged by members of the Wimsey Family and other characters familiar to readers from the Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels, but were in fact intended to convey Sayers' opinions and commentaries on various aspects of public life in the early months of the Second World War, such as black-out, evacuation, rationing and the need of the public to take personal responsibility rather than wait for the government to guide them.

A Treasury of Sayers Stories (1958) 16 Lord Peter stories; 6 Montague Egg stories; and two others.

Dorothy L. Sayers: the Complete Stories (2002) All 21 Lord Peter short stories, the 11 Montague Egg stories, and 12 others.

Other books of crime fiction:

The Documents in the Case (1930) written with Robert Eustace

The Floating Admiral (1931, written with members of The Detection Club, a chapter each)

Ask a Policeman (1933, written with members of The Detection Club)

The Travelling Rug (1935)

Six against the Yard (1936, written with members of The Detection Club)

Double Death: a Murder Story (1939, written with members of The Detection Club)

Collections of essays and non-fiction:

Strong Meat (1939) Two essays on theology.

The Lost Tools of Learning (1947) Lecture.

The Greatest Drama Ever Staged (1938) Two essays on theology.

The Mind of the Maker (1941) Christian Theological book.

The Song of Roland: A New Translation by Dorothy L. Sayers (1957) A Heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux in 778.

The Man Born to be King (1941-2) Radio Drama. Currently under development at Distributed Proofreaders Canada

Unpopular Opinions (1946) essays, speeches and articles.

Four Sacred Plays (1948) 4 plays. Includes The Zeal of Thy House, He That Should Come, The Devil to Pay, and The Just Vengeance.