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Dorothy L. Sayers

Dr. Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893 - Witham, 17 December 1957) was a British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers (and she always insisted on that "L.") is perhaps best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, a series of novels and short stories featuring an English aristocrat who is an amateur sleuth. She also wrote a number of short stories about Montague Egg, a wine salesman who also solves mysteries.

Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She also wrote religious essays and plays, of which The Man Born to be King may be the best known.

Sayers was born in Oxford, where her father Rev. Henry Sayers, M.A., was chaplain (and headmaster of the Choir School) of Christ Church College[?], and she was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where she took a first-class degree in modern languages[?] -- one of the first women to receive a degree from that ancient institution. She worked as a teacher and later as a copywriter[?] in an advertising agency, Benson's, in London. This was to give her a useful insight into the advertising industry which she used in one of her mysteries, Murder Must Advertise.

She gave birth to a child in 1924 whilst unmarried. Two years later she married Oswold Arthur "Mac" Fleming (whose professional name was "Atherton Fleming"), by which time she was already writing her detective novels, and they later adopted her son. She was one of very few women invited by C. S. Lewis and his circle to join the Inklings but attended only a few meetings, finding the atmosphere very male-dominated.

[See also Harriet Vane.]

Sayers's work was frequently parodied by her contemporaries (and sometimes by herself), a particularly interesting example being the humorist E. C. Bentley's "Greedy Night" (1938).

Sayers appears, with Agatha Christie, as a title character in Dorothy and Agatha [ISBN 0-451-40314-2], a fictional murder mystery by Gaylord Larsen, in which a man is murdered in her dining room, and Sayers has to solve the crime.


References and external links:

Further reading: Dr. Barbara Reynolds[?]'s Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul.

Op. I by Dorothy Sayers (poetry): http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/sayers/opi/dls-opi



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