The Lord Peter Wimsey series
by Dorothy Sayers

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 2.32.52 PMAny of the 14 books in the series about an aristocratic amateur sleuth who solves mysteries in England between the world wars. 

Opening paragraph (from Gaudy Nights):  Harriet Van sat at her writing-table and stared out into Mecklenburg Square.  The late tulips made a brave show in the Square garden, and a quartet of early tennis-players were energetically calling the score of a rather erratic and unpracticed game.  But Harriet saw neither the tulips non tennis-players.  A letter lay open on the blotting-pad before her, but its image had faced from her mind to make way for another picture. . . .

Quotes from critics:  “The Wimsey books are literate and delightful mysteries” (Chicago Tribune); Gaudy Night stands out even among Miss Sayers’s novels.  And Miss Sayers has long stood in a class by herself” (Times Literary Supplement); “But for the balm that reassures one about surviving the vicissitudes of life, one could not do better than to anchor on to Lord Peter Wimsey” (author Elizabeth George); “a real tour de force, and done with ease and grace” (Saturday Review); “a royal performance” (The Spectator)

Bio:  Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) was a prodigious writer of crime novels, poems, plays, essays, literary criticism, and translations.   She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Oxford University.  Her Lord Peter Wimsey novels remain extremely popular, but according to Wikipedia, “Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy to be her best work.”