Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey and Salisbury.


We are just over a month into our Creative Wiltshire project and are busy developing a collections policy as well as researching material to enable us to compile a database of creative people with a Wiltshire connection. This is proving fascinating as it can highlight gaps in our collection and while looking at older copies of Wiltshire Life magazine we discovered that Dorothy L. Sayers, creator of Lord Peter Wimsey, was a pupil at Godolphin School, Salisbury from 1909 to 1911. A plaque has been awarded by Salisbury Civic Society to the Cathedral Hotel, frequented by both Dorothy L. Sayers with her Aunt Gertrude and also Lord Peter Wimsey himself, in Whose Body? published in 1923, his first adventure as a detective.

Whose Body? By Dorothy L Sayers
Whose Body? A book by Dorothy L Sayers

Some of us may remember the adaptations made by the BBC in the 1970s starring Ian Carmichael or the later 1987 version starring Edward Petheridge and Harriet Walters. This particular novel mentions Salisbury and involves Lord Peter visiting and staying at the Cathedral Hotel, renamed the ‘Minster Hotel’ in the novel. He attends evensong at the Cathedral and pays a visit to a well respected local solicitor, Mr. Crimplesham, whose pince-nez had been found on a dead body discovered in a bath in Balham. Suffice to say that we have tracked down a copy of said novel; our edition is the tenth impression dating from 1947 and published by Victor Gollancz Ltd., London. It illustrates the popularity of Dorothy L. Sayers at that time and it is satisfying to know that she is now represented in our local studies collection here at the history centre, reflecting her association with Salisbury.

Joy Rutter

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