My recent blog post on Sherlockian references in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Strong Poison elicited an amazing communication from my friend Sandy Dreier Kozinn. She sent me an incredible 16 Word documents analyzing the Holmes-Wimsey connections book by book. She plumbed the depths more deeply than I ever could have.
With her permission, I offer now as an example of this fine work her perceptive analysis of Whose Body?, the first Wimsey adventure. She occasionally refers to Lord Peter as LP. The page numbers refer to an omnibus edition, Triple Wimsey, from Harper & Row. (The volume also includes Murder Must Advertise and Strong Poison.)
Subtitle – “The Singular Adventure of the Man with the Golden Pince Nez” is a clear reference to “The Adventure of the Golden Pince Nez” in The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
General: Bunter sounds a lot like Brunton, the butler in “The Musgrave Ritual.”
p. 33 – “unless he [Levy] was a most consummate actor” – which
of course, was, as is stated variously in the Canon.
p. 38 – “Did you realize the importance of that?” LP asks Parker. The whole conversation, including LP's put-down of Parker, reads like a bit out of the Canon with
Holmes chiding Watson for his lack
of deduction from observation.
p. 66 – Bunter, to get information, disparages
Peter with “up again to call him early to go off
Sherlocking at the other end of the country.
And the mud he gets on his clothes and his boots!” Holmes, of course,
can tell where mud comes from by simply looking.
Ch. V, p. 90 – “Good parchment paper written with a fine nib by an elderly business man of old-fashioned habits.” Holmes is always making deductions from letters; the paper is especially relevant in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” whereas the handwriting deduction stems from “Reigate Squires.”
p. 91 – the response to
ad is reminiscent of the many cases in which Holmes,
too, knows how to use ads to gain information.
p. 92 & 93 –
Holmes also knows
how to make deductions from mud on boots, LP here does it with typical
p. 96 – “What a dull Agony Column!” This was Holmes’s daily reading, too.
p. 106 – “the aged spider sitting invisible in the centre of the vibrating web” – “He is the Napoleon of crime,
Watson... He has a
brain of the first order. He sits
motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand
radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them.” – “The Final Problem”
Ch. VI, p. 124 – Gladys Horrocks goes out to the Plumbers’ and Glaziers’ Ball; was this a reference to the gasfitter's ball attended by Miss Mary Sutherland, whose father was a plumber in the Tottenham Court Road, in “A Case of Identity?”
IX, p. 186 – LP is glad he's puzzled Parker because it makes
him “feel like .” Later on, on the same page, Peter remarks
that he is “Ready to tackle Professor Moriarty or Leon Kestrel or any of ’em.” Sherlock
XI, p. 211 – LP’s “mind had been warped in its young growth
by “Raffles” and “Sherlock Holmes...”