Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dorothy Sayers Quotables

Reading a Dorothy Sayers' mystery yields not only the regular enjoyment one usually derives from a Golden Age detective novel (Christie, Marsh, Carr, Tey, Allingham, Queen) but the most delightful of asides to think about. Here are just a few examples I noted from a recent re-reading of Sayer's 1926 Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Clouds of Witness.

“Ah, well, as the old pagan said of the Gospels, after all, it was a long time ago, and we’ll hope it wasn’t true.”

“Must have facts,” said Lord Peter, “facts. When I was a small boy I always hated facts.  Thought of ‘em as nasty, hard things, all knobs. Uncompromisin’.”

"If all these new-fangled doctors went out of way to invent subconsciousness and kleptomania, and complexes and other fancy descriptions to explain away when people had done naughty things, she thought one might just as well take advantage of the fact.”

“Did you want to be a missionary in your youth?  I did.  I think most kids do some time or another, which is odd, seein’ how unsatisfactory most of us turn out.”

“My lords,” interjected Sir Impey, “if the learned Attorney-General considers the word murder to be a triviality, it would be interesting to know to what words he does attach importance.”