Dorothy L. Sayers

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Name: Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Also Known As: Dorothy L. Sayers
Occupation: Author
Medium: Books (Novels and short stories)
Works: Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages


Sayers was a British novelist who lived from 1893 to 1957. Her most fannishly signficant work was the Lord Peter Wimsey detective series, featuring the protagonist of the same name, joined in the last four books of the series by romantic interest Harriet Vane. The Wimsey books are sometimes collectively called "The Corpus." On Livejournal, fiction written for the books is sometimes said to be Sayersverse or Wimseyverse fic, or just Wimseyfic for short.

Although some of the books in the series are marred by occasional anti-Semitism, they remain appealing to fans for many reasons. These include Lord Peter's perseverance in the face of personal vulnerability (a veteran of WWI, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder), the strong bond between Peter and his manservant Bunter (perceived by many as being particularly slashy) and the canonical romance between Peter and Harriet Vane, a conflicted yet strong female character who struggles to reconcile her desire for independence with her feelings for Lord Peter. The second-to-last book in the series, Gaudy Night, is almost entirely from Harriet's POV, and is a favorite among many fans.

There have been two series of TV adaptations of the books, one running from 1972 to 1975 and starring Ian Carmichael, and the other in 1987, starring Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter and adapting the first three Harriet Vane novels (Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, and Gaudy Night). The latter seems to be most often used by fans for icons and graphics.

Wimsey Fandom

One of the best places to find Wimsey-related discussion is the long-running LordPeter mailing list at YahooGroups. Fanfiction is usually not allowed on LordPeter except for certain specific times of year.

Wimsey fiction is requested reliably each Yuletide. Much Wimsey fic is gen; among fanfiction that features a pairing, popular subjects are Peter/Harriet and Peter/Bunter, with occasional Peter/Charles Parker. Crossovers with other fiction appropriate to the period are common.

There are a few livejournal communities for Wimsey meta and fic. They are low-traffic but a good place to look for Wimseyfic or icons.

Talboys: "A community for all friends of Lord Peter Wimsey, his wife and his family - and of course for the adorers of Dorothy L. Sayer's work."

Wimseyfic may also be found at rarelitslash (link).

AO3 lists some 272 works under Lord Peter Wimsey.

Notable Works

  • Placet, a livejournal comm for stories in catrinella and mechaieh's Harry Potter/Peter Wimsey universe
  • 'Baltic Adventure', the first in a cross-over series between the Peter Wimsey universe and Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons by 'constantlearner'. This concerns spying adventures in the Baltic in 1938 and various Sayers characters including Lord Peter and Freddie Arbuthnot play minor roles; 'Vale, Pater' and 'Gerry Wimsey Falls in Love' are later instalments in the series focussing heavily on the Denver family.
  • 'Underground' by A. J. Hall. 2011. Two women are flung together by what seems to be an accident on the Underground. But then the Tube train draws up at a station that was closed in 1932.... Crossover with Torchwood.

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


Wimsey Fiction from Pro Authors

Sayers herself once wrote a short piece for a BBC radio broadcast in which a very young Peter Wimsey traveled to Baker Street in order to consult Sherlock Holmes [1] about a lost kitten.

Laurie R. King's third Mary Russell novel, A Letter of Mary (1996), features a cameo by a young Lord Peter Wimsey (named only as "Peter", and referenced elsewhere in the series as the "second son of a Duke"). However, King was forbidden from using the character again by the Sayers estate. [2]

In 1998, mystery author Jill Paton Walsh completed Sayers' unfinished Wimsey novel Thrones, Dominations, following it up with A Presumption of Death. Critical reaction was mixed. [3]

Author Stephen King once began a Peter Wimsey story in which Harriet had been killed during the Blitz; although it was never finished, or published, copies of the story fragment were apparently in circulation in the Stephen King fandom for some time. [4]. It was very, very sad. Reaction from one section of Livejournal fandom was basically, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT." [5]


  1. John W. Kennedy, Re: Sherlock Holmes / Doyle question Posted August 5, 2005. Accessed November 19, 2008.
  2. R.J. Anderson, RUSS-L Frequently Asked Questions Last accessed December 3, 2008.
  3. Wikipedia, Reception of Thrones, Dominations Last accessed November 19, 2008.
  4., Two excerpt from Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished Last accessed November 19, 2008
  5. Liviapenn on LJ, Oh, you guys... Posted April 12, 2007. Last accessed November 19, 2008
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