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Book Report: Busman's Honeymoon

I can’t remember, now, what led me to pick up Busman’s Honeymoon again. I read it fairly often. It’s probably my favorite of the Wimseys, being more obviously and upfront a novel about Lord and Lady Peter.

Alas, the detective interruptions irritate me more and more as I reread the book. None of the murderer’s earlier scenes show any inkling that he is the sort of person who would think up an elaborate trap and execute it in cold blood, or that he would have the presence of mind to act the way he does when the body isn’t discovered. No, for all that Dorothy Sayers made Frank Crutchley a interesting and unsympathetic character (the bit about getting one girlfriend’s ironmonger dad to make a key for a love nest for another girlfriend is just classic), it doesn’t work at all for the murderer. And, of course, as with most of the Wimsey books, the actual murder, viewed front to back, makes no sense at all: the part-time gardener with his plans to marry the heiress (he mistakenly thinks the victim is rich) sets up an elaborate trap—one that he would never have the opportunity to test under any circumstances—in the aftermath of a heated argument, and before actually securing the inheritance by marrying the old maid. He then brags about his womanizing in the town, and his reaction to the presence of a world-famous detective is to ask to borrow money from him. This would be plausible in a character of infinite coolness and sagacity (well, plausible within genre conventions, of course) but Frank Crutchley is an angry young man who feels put upon and resentful, and can’t keep his fool mouth shut about his womanizing. I mean.

The amazing thing about the Wimsey books, though, is that it really doesn’t matter. No, the murder bits don’t make sense, and they are, still, murder mysteries. But they are enjoyable books despite that. I don’t really understand how that works, but I think it’s an important point. And probably an important point about Agatha Christie too, I suppose. I should try another one of those ones soon.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,