Tag Archives: Dorothy L Sayers

At Home With Shedunnit

Who would be the Hastings to your Poirot? What kind of mystery would you like to write? What would you do if you came across a corpse? In this special episode to celebrate Shedunnit’s third anniversary, Caroline’s husband Guy takes the mic and asks her all these questions and more.

Guy is on Twitter as @guywjc and you can find out more about his work at guycuthbertson.com. Caroline is @cacrampton on Instagram.

There are no spoilers in this episode.

My new map and guide, Agatha Christie’s England, is available now in physical form at shedunnitshow.com/map or as an audiobook at shedunnitshow.com/audiomap.

Books mentioned:
The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (first in the Falco series)
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett
The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers
Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert

Thanks to today’s sponsor:
If I Go Missing The Witches Did It, an audio series by Realm. Listen now on your podcast app of choice and find out more at realm.fm.

To be the first to know about future developments with the podcast, sign up for the newsletter at shedunnitshow.com/newsletter.

Find a full transcript of this episode at shedunnitshow.com/athomewithshedunnittranscript

The podcast is on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram as @ShedunnitShow, and you can find it in all major podcast apps. Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss the next episode. Click here to do that now in your app of choice.

Music by Audioblocks and Blue Dot Sessions. See shedunnitshow.com/musiccredits for more details.

Links to Blackwell’s are affiliate links, meaning that the podcast receives a small commission when you purchase a book there (the price remains the same for you). Blackwell’s is a UK independent bookselling chain that ships internationally at no extra charge.

Double Trouble

What happens when two people write a whodunnit together? Thanks to my guests, Cordelia Biddle and Steve Zettler. They write separately under their own names and together under the pseudonym Nero Blanc. The whole Crossword Mysteries series can be found at crosswordmysteries.com, where there are links to buy each title. There are no spoilers in… Continue Reading

The Murder At Road Hill House Transcript

Caroline: If there is, then you might have come down with a case of detective fever. According to Wilkie Collins’s 1868 novel The Moonstone, these were the symptoms — along with a sudden passion for seeking out knowledge and gathering clues. This story was a popular early appearance of detection as we know it today in… Continue Reading

The Murder At Road Hill House

This sensational case from 1860 ignited a wave of detective fever that we still haven’t recovered from. Thanks to my guest Robin Stevens — you can hear her on two previous episodes of the show, Back to School and Death Sets Sail on the Nile, and her new collection of short stories about schoolgirl detectives Hazel… Continue Reading

Policing the Detectives Transcript

Caroline: Is detective fiction an escapist genre? The marketing for today’s thrillers and cosy mysteries that encourages us to “get away from the real world” for a while by reading about fictional crimes would suggest that it is. Expecting to be soothed by plots that centre on violent death might sound counter intuitive, but it… Continue Reading

Policing the Detectives

 Is it possible to write a whodunnit and leave out the police? Many thanks to my guest, Nicole Glover. More information about her work is available at nicole-glover.com, and her first book, The Conductors, is out now in the US and the UK. The inspiration for this episode was Nicole’s article “Who Are You… Continue Reading

A Century of Whodunnits Transcript

 Something I love about making this podcast is the space it provides for me to zoom right in. I can dedicate a whole episode to a single trope from classic detective fiction, whether that’s tropes like “the butler did it” or settings like “on a boat”. I’ve narrowed the focus even further by putting… Continue Reading

A Century of Whodunnits

 Reading through the twentieth century, one murder mystery at a time. There are no major spoilers in this episode, but the opening plot scenario of each book is discussed briefly. There is a major spoiler for the Sherlock Holmes story “The Final Problem” from 1893. The ten books I read for this episode are:… Continue Reading

Cryptic Crimes Transcript

Caroline: Classic detective fiction has rules. Codified as the genre grew in popularity in the 1920s and early 30s, these conventions mostly feed into the idea of “fair play” between author and reader. The art of writing a good murder mystery, then, is sticking to this framework while also subverting it. There’s a great skill… Continue Reading

Cryptic Crimes

If you can solve a crossword, you can solve a murder. Thanks to my guest, Hamish Symington. You can find out more about his work at hamishsymington.com and order a custom cryptic crossword from him at customcrypticcrosswords.com. There are no major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or… Continue Reading

The First Whodunnit Transcript

Caroline: The world of detective fiction has recently passed an important milestone. It’s a hundred years since the appearance of Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. First serialised in the London Times in 1920, it appeared in book form first in the US at the end of that year and then in… Continue Reading

The First Whodunnit

What was the first murder mystery, really? No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Sources and further information: — The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie — Partners In Crime by Agatha Christie — A Study In Scarlet by… Continue Reading

The People’s Pathologist

 Before there was CSI, there was Bernard Spilsbury. No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Please be aware there is a brief mention of suicide at the end. Sources and further information: — The Florence Maybrick episodes of this… Continue Reading

The People’s Pathologist Transcript

The murder mystery is a form that brings forth certainty from uncertainty. The job of the detective is to sort through the chaotic mass of clues and testimony to create an ordered, coherent narrative of how a crime was committed. Medical evidence forms a vital part of this process, often creating the parameters for a… Continue Reading

The Psychology of Anthony Berkeley

 He was one of the most influential crime novelists of the 1920s and 1930s, but has languished somewhat in obscurity since. A troubled, dark, incredibly innovative writer: to really get to know Anthony Berkeley, you need to dive deeply into his fiction. Thanks to my guest Martin Edwards. His latest novel is Mortmain Hall… Continue Reading

The Psychology of Anthony Berkeley Transcript

 Caroline: The writers of detective stories can be as much of a mystery as the plots they create. During the 1920s and 30s, this attitude was especially prevalent. Some authors, grudgingly or not, accepted the publicity duties that often go with literary success — Dorothy L. Sayers, with her day job in advertising, was even… Continue Reading

Notable Trials

How did a legal history series become so well known that even Lord Peter Wimsey owned a set? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/notabletrials. Special thanks today to my guest Dr Victoria Stewart. You can follow her on Twitter @verbivorial and order her book Crime Writing in Interwar Britain: Fact… Continue Reading

The Mutual Admiration Society

One chilly night in November 1912, a group of young women gathered together to share their writing with each other. From that meeting, we got Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, and so much more besides. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/mas. Special thanks today to my guest Mo Moulton, you can… Continue Reading

Brides In The Bath

Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. But three times? Three women dead in identical circumstances is highly suspicious. This is the story of the brides in the bath. Find links to all the books mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/bridesinthebath. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free… Continue Reading

Back To School

School is an enclosed world that breeds tension and suspicion and stress. No wonder it’s such a perfect setting for a murder mystery. Find links to all the books mentioned and more details about my guests at shedunnitshow.com/backtoschool. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes… Continue Reading

15. Period Style

Murder mysteries: if you believe the clichés, they all happened in the 1920s and 1930s, surrounded by flappers and butlers.  But let’s take a second to wonder — why is it that detective fiction is so closely associated with this period style? Find more information about my guest Jacqueline Winspear and the Maisie Dobbs books… Continue Reading

Pseudonyms

Authors’ names loom large when we think about detective stories. Yet many of them are pseudonyms, created just to appear on book covers. But why go to all this trouble? And what makes a good pen name, anyway? Find more information about my guest Helen Fields / H.S. Chandler at her website helenfields.co.uk and get… Continue Reading

The Secret Life of Ngaio Marsh Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the thirteenth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Before we get started with today’s show, I want to tell you about another podcast you should check out. The Lonely Palette is a show that aims to make art history accessible, enjoyable,… Continue Reading

The Secret Life of Ngaio Marsh

By any definition, the New Zealand crime writer Ngaio Marsh lived an extraordinary life. But who was she really, this globetrotting blockbuster author who divided her life between opposite sides of the world? Find more information about my guest Joanne Drayton and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/ngaiomarsh. To be the first to know… Continue Reading

Round Robin Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twelfth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Writing is a solitary pastime. To invent the characters and stories that readers love, most authors have to lock themselves away from the world, avoiding company and interruptions until the blank page is… Continue Reading

Round Robin

 Writing is usually a solitary pastime, yet a group of detective fiction authors in the early 1930s decided to work together on murder mystery stories. Is it possible to construct a compelling whodunnit this way, or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Fill out the audience survey and have your say in the… Continue Reading

The Other Detectives

Some sleuths need no introduction. But other characters, also created by famous authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, lurk in obscurity. In this episode, we’re on the hunt for the other detectives. Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/theotherdetectives. The podcast is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr… Continue Reading

The Other Detectives Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the eleventh episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Some sleuths need no introduction. They are constantly re-incarnated on television, on stage, in films, in new novels. Fans pore over the books and stories in which they appear, passionately discussing and dissecting… Continue Reading

Nurse Daniels

On 6 October 1926, a woman went into a cloakroom in Boulogne, France and never came out. She was never seen alive again. Her disappearance captivated the world, and even detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers tried to solve the case. This is the story of Nurse Daniels. Find more information about this episode and links… Continue Reading

Nurse Daniels Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the tenth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: On 6 October 1926, a young woman went into the cloakroom on the quay at Boulogne in France. Her friend was waiting for her outside, expecting her to come out again quickly because they… Continue Reading

The Rules Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the ninth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: A good detective story has a recognisable rhythm. The plot might have unexpected twists and the characters can surprise you, but there are certain structures and tropes that recur through much of the crime… Continue Reading

The Rules

A good detective story has a recognisable rhythm and plot points. But how did these tropes come about? And what happens when you break the rules? Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/therules. The podcast is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram as @ShedunnitShow, and you can find… Continue Reading

Dining with Death Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the eighth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: It’s a perfect image of family harmony and domestic bliss. Everyone gathered around a table groaning with food, brought together for the daily ritual of breaking bread. Maybe it’s a huge dining room… Continue Reading

Dining with Death

Food matters in books. It helps to set the scene, build up characters and evoke a period, and it also symbolises comfort, security and domesticity. Yet in detective fiction, food can also be a method for murder. Everything is lovely at the family dinner, until somebody clutches their throat, turns blue in the face, and… Continue Reading

Edith Thompson Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the seventh episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: On the morning of 9 January 1923, a brutal and horrifying execution took place at Holloway Prison in London. The condemned young woman screamed and cried, but no last minute reprieve arrived. Just… Continue Reading

Edith Thompson

 On the morning of 9 January 1923, a brutal and horrifying execution took place at Holloway Prison in London. The condemned young woman screamed and cried, but no last minute reprieve arrived. Long after she was dead, her story would inspire authors like James Joyce, E.M. Delafield, Dorothy L. Sayers and Sarah Waters, and… Continue Reading

Crime at Christmas Transcript

 Here’s a full transcript of the fifth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: The classic Christmas traditions are all about comfort. Blazing fires, mulled drinks, vast quantities of food — it’s all intended make the darkest time of year that little bit brighter. Much… Continue Reading

Crime at Christmas

Reading crime fiction from the early twentieth century is a really popular activity at Christmas. It’s nice to curl up with a good whodunnit by the fire, but if we stop and think about it, reading about complicated ways for people to die is not exactly the most festive thing to do. So why is… Continue Reading

The Lady Vanishes

 On 3 December 1926, Agatha Christie left her home in the southern English county of Berkshire just after 9.30 in the evening. She drove away, taking a small suitcase and a fur coat with her. The following morning, the car was found 15 miles away on the edge of a lake called Silent Pool.… Continue Reading

The Lady Vanishes Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the fourth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. On 3 December 1926, Agatha Christie left her home in the southern English county of Berkshire just after 9.30 in the evening. She drove away in her Morris Cowley car, taking a small suitcase… Continue Reading

Queer Clues Transcript

 Here’s a full transcript of the third episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. [Music] Caroline: On the surface, everything about classic detective stories seems straightforward. It’s all very black and white: people are either good or bad, guilty or innocent. There’s not a lot of grey… Continue Reading

Queer Clues

The detective stories of the 1920s and 30s aren’t exactly well known for being edgy, or at the vanguard of the struggle for gay rights. But there are queer clues everywhere in these books, if you only know where to look for them. Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed… Continue Reading

Crippen Transcript

 Here’s a full transcript of the second episode of Shedunnit.  Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: A classic murder mystery is a closed circle. It’s why settings like trains, islands and country houses are so popular in the detective stories of the 1920s and 30s. They naturally limit and… Continue Reading

Crippen

The detective writers of the 1920s and 1930s weren’t working a vacuum. They took a keen interest in the crimes of their time, often weaving elements from actual murder cases into their plots or referencing them directly. And there was one case, a murder both infamous and domestic, that interested the likes of Agatha Christie,… Continue Reading

Surplus Women

After the First World War, there was a great flowering of female independence as more women chose to live single lives. This change, and the backlash to it, is all there to be found in the murder mysteries of the period, if you just dig a little below the surface. From self-contained, professional women like… Continue Reading

Surplus Women Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the first episode of Shedunnit.  Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Every age has had a different way of describing a woman who exists alone, rather than as part of a couple. Today, she might just call herself “single”, but at different times in… Continue Reading

Whodunnit? Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of this mini first episode of Shedunnit.  Listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: For a couple of decades between the first and second world wars, something mysterious happened. Many things, actually — there were murders in country houses, on golf courses, in Oxford colleges, on trains, in vicarages, in far… Continue Reading

Whodunnit?

 For a couple of decades between the first and second world wars, something mysterious happened. A golden age of detective fiction dawned, and people around the world are still devouring books from this time by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley, Gladys Mitchell, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey and more. In this… Continue Reading