In the Teeth of the Evidence is a collection of Dorothy L. Sayers’ short mystery/ detective stories, a number of which feature her best known detectives, Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg, and the rest of which are stand alone tales. I took a Detective Fiction class way back in college, so I had some name recognition for Sayers, but I couldn’t have told you much about her work. This novel brought some of that information back to me- Wimsey and Egg are detectives from the Miss Marple-era of detective novels, where genteel citizen crime-solvers take us through a mystery, usually at a distance. Although a few clues are provided to the reader, we don’t get enough information to solve the crime ourselves, and must wait until we get the big reveal at the end of the story.
Although I love detective fiction of most stripes, I had a really hard time getting into this collection. The language is a little formal (which makes sense for the time in which it was written, the first half of the 20th century), and the lack of connection between the stories themselves are my best guesses as to why I found it so hard to get into. In addition, I think my choice of timing for when I was reading (right before bed) didn’t help- the formal language was lulling me to sleep instead of keeping me page-flipping for the plot twists. In other ways, I think these stories are just uneven- some are better than others, so in that sense I guess I’m lucky they’re all fairly short?
I’m not writing off Sayers completely, but next time I’ll think more about when I’m reading her works, and whether I’m better off trying to find a novel instead of short stories.
CBR11Bingo- The Collection