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

Dorothy L. 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.

Example Fanworks

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

  • Placet, a livejournal comm for stories in catrinella and mechaieh's Harry Potter/Peter Wimsey universe
  • '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.
  • 'That Still Centre' by A. J. Hall. After a planning appeal, Miss Jan Scott receives an unexpected invitation to lunch from the client on the other side, the elderly Duke of Denver. He says he once knew her mother -- but who does he mean? Crossover with The Marlows by Antonia Forest


Wimsey Fiction from Pro Authors

Sayers herself once wrote a short piece, The Young Lord Peter Consults Sherlock Holmes, for a BBC radio broadcast or for the BBC's Radio Times magazine (1954) in which a very young Peter Wimsey traveled to Baker Street in order to consult Sherlock Holmes[1] about a lost kitten.

Marion Mainwaring's Murder in Pastiche, or Nine Detectives All at Sea (1974) includes thinly disguised caricatures of nine detectives including Wimsey, Ellery Queen, Perry Mason, Mike Hammer, Nero Wolfe, etc.

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 and The Attenbury Emeralds. 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