Read Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers Online


Amusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "TheAmusing and absolutely appalling things happen on the way to the gallows when murder meets Lord Peter Wimsey and the delightful working-class sleuth Montague Egg. This sumptuous feast of criminal doings and undoings includes a vintage double identity and a horrid incident of feline assassination that will tease the minds of cat-lovers everywhere. Not to be missed are "The Incredible Elopement of Peter Wimsey" (with a lovely American woman-turned-zombie) and eight more puzzlers penned in inimitable style by the mistress of murder.Includes:The image in the mirror --The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey --The queen's square --The necklace of pearls --The poisoned dow '08 --Sleuths on the scent --Murder in the morning --One too many --Murder at Pentecost --Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz --The man who knew how --The fountain plays....

Title : Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060923969
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries Reviews

  • Susan
    2019-05-23 14:37

    I rarely read short stories, but I greatly enjoyed this collection by Dorothy L.Sayers, which includes four Lord Peter Wimsey stories, six featuring travelling salesman Montague Egg (I do wish he had merited his own novel) and two stand alone stories.I read this as part of my attempt to, finally, read all of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels/stories. However, I have to say that my very favourites in this collection were the two final stories in this book; the stand alone stories, “The Man Who Knew How,” and “The Fountain Plays.” Of the Lord Peter stories, “The Queen’s Square,” concerning a murder at a ball had a lot of good Wimsey banter, while “The Necklace of Pearls,” had a Christmas house party setting.Montague Egg is a fun character, who appeared in eleven short stories – six appear in this volume, while five appear, “In the Teeth of the Evidence.” With his maxim’s from the, “Salesman’s Handbook,” and his intelligent mind, he is a really great amateur detective and interesting character. I look forward to meeting him again in, “In the Teeth of the Evidence,” and recommend this collection of stories.

  • Jane
    2019-04-30 10:21

    Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. One from the vaults, as I bought it back in 2002 (can I just stop for a minute and praise Audible for keeping my library intact even though I suspended my subscription for several years?)The fact that this is a pretty old audiobook really shows in the quality, and makes me realize just how much audiobooks have progressed since I started listening to them. My main complaint about this one was the changes in sound quality every so often, and narrator Nadia May (who’s well suited to reading Golden Age detective stories) could have done with a better mic to take the brittle edge off her voice—although I suppose it was quite suitable that she sounded as if she were speaking into a mic from the 1930s.The stories themselves are pretty entertaining. There are, I think, four Lord Peter Wimsey stories, several Montague Egg stories and about three or so other stories at the end. Lacking the character development that forms such an attractive (and substantial) part of Sayers’ novels, what you’re left with is the cleverness—nicely worked out little detective puzzles in the Sherlock Holmes style. Some of the resolutions can be guessed early on, some not. You can read this book on two levels: one is for mere entertainment, and one is for the Sayers enthusiast who wants to get a better understanding of her development as a writer. The stories work pretty well for either type of reader.

  • Judy
    2019-04-29 11:39

    This is a highly enjoyable collection of short stories. It's interesting to read this alongside Sayers' novels, since there are quite a few similarites in theme and location. The book starts off with four Lord Peter Wimsey stories. The first of these is rather weak, but the second one has a creepy horror story quality to it (Sayers edited a collection of detection and horror tales) and has stuck in my mind from my first reading of the book years ago. These are followed by two lighter mysteries involving a fancy dress ball and a pearl necklace, where Wimsey is seen amid high society and there's plenty of witty banter. It is also fun to catch a glimpse of his mother, the Dowager Duchess, with her stream of consciousness talking.However, on this reading of the book I enjoyed the stories involving Sayers' second sleuth, Montague Egg, even more than the Wimsey ones. Monty is a commercial traveller selling wine who keeps turning up on the scene of murders. He is an amusing character who, like Wimsey, is always dropping quotes into his conversation - but, where Wimsey quotes from famous literary works, Monty repeats clever rhyming couplets from his personal Bible, the Salesman's Handbook. He has some similarities with Wimsey, but is able to move in everyday environments more naturally. A shame Monty never starred in a novel.There are also two standalone stories at the end of the book, which both have clever plots and twists in the tail.

  • Arun Divakar
    2019-05-15 16:26

    At the onset, I thought of writing a review in my usual way. A sinuous and rather elongated way of saying whether I liked the book. After writing a few lines I hit the backspace button continuously until all of it disappeared. Being totally honest to the narrative which was straight as an arrow, it is way better to cut through the archaic descriptions and call this a damn fine set of stories ! It was my first by Dorothy Sayers and she is a fine writer by all means.The stories (except two of them) feature amateur sleuths : Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg. Unlike their much famous literary brethren, these are rather unlikely detectives especially Mr.Egg who is a travelling salesman of all people ! The mysteries themselves are rather well etched as puzzles even when the content is that of a murder and such is the beauty of writing. The subtle wit of the stories and the very British way of story telling rubbed off on me very well. You have found a taker in me Senorita ! I shall read more.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    2019-04-27 11:42

    Includes:The image in the mirror --The incredible elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey --The queen's square --The necklace of pearls --The poisoned dow '08 --Sleuths on the scent --Murder in the morning --One too many --Murder at Pentecost --Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz --The man who knew how --The fountain playsThis is a really good collection of short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and Montague Egg. This is my first encounter with Mr Egg and I am looking forward to reading more featuring this very sharp minded travelling salesman.

  • Trelawn
    2019-05-07 13:40

    A couple of stories in, I realised I had already read much of this book within a different collection of short stories by DL Sayers. They are good but not great. If you like the Peter Wimsey books they are worth a read but perhaps not a reread.

  • Thekelburrows
    2019-05-10 10:32

    Not enough Bunter. Never enough Bunter.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-04-29 16:32

    1) I love the way Sayers uses short stories in a sort of exploratory self-indulgence. She allows her characters to engage in situations that are just patently ridiculous, unbelievable, stretched over too long a time, or too slender a premise to warrant a full novel. I like the way she PLAYS in short stories.2) I have never read any Montague Egg stories before and I'm SO glad the novels are about Peter Wimsey instead. I mean, Monty's heart is in the right place, but he's awfully earnest.3) What further do we learn about Peter's character here?"My religious beliefs are a little ill-defined.""I'm a bit of a conjurer myself."4) Rural garages no longer use "clock-faces with movable hands to show lighting-up time." Wow, it took me a LONG time to work out what this meant, and it was key to the plot, as well. "Lighting-up time" is, of course, half-an-hour after sunset, when you need to LIGHT YOUR HEADLAMPS on your Model T or whatever it is that British people drove in 1925. It was significant that the murder occurred on 18 June--at midsummer--when lighting-up time would have been very late (10.20 p.m., in fact).

  • Jan C
    2019-05-24 11:38

    I believe I read this years ago. And didn't recall being crazy about the Montagu Egg stories. They seemed okay this time. But the story that really knocked me out was "The Man Who Knew How". Guy is reading a detective story on the train (author taking a swipe at writers who write intelligent school stories - possibly at Edmund Crispin or Michael Innes?) who isn't too sure about how a guy is looking at him. Other fellow tells him that he knows how to kill people without getting caught. Just look at all these people being found dead in their baths. The reader starts noticing that many people are being found dead in their baths. This story falls in the ironic category. But I really liked it.

  • Valerie
    2019-05-13 17:44

    This is the Avon edition, and it suffers from the common problems of Avon books: it's not very durable, it's not on acid-free paper, and there are quite a few typos. But it is a hard copy of a book that's no longer in print.I was terribly disappointed by learning what's in this book. I knew there were some Sayers anthologies that involved non-crimes, or that involved crimes that were not 'capital' crimes. I'd hoped those were the stories that were in this volume, on the principle that it was a 'hangman's holiday' in the sense that there was no work for said 'hangman'.To prevent others from being similarly disappointed, and just on general principles, I will include a table of contents: LORD PETER WIMSEY STORIESI The Image in The Mirror: Contains some interesting observations about how we interpret images of ourselves, but there was no real need to bring in an improbably ruthless character to illustrate those observations.II The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey: This one involves a cruel but non-'capital' crime--a case of a doctor practicing sexual, physical, and emotional abuse on his adopted child whom he (quite illegally) married. It also may have painful personal resonance for people with endocrine problems and their loved ones: so be warned.III The Queen's Square: Sayers was notorious for her dislike of Christmas (problems in the extended family, it looks like). This story extends this dislike to New Year's Eve. The question of lighting is important in this story, and my immediate response was severe discomfort. I couldn't have even come in the described building, if the lighting was like what's described.IV The Necklace of Pearls: This is another non-'capital' story, involving Sayers' hatred of Christmas. Personally, I think the pearl necklace is a lot sillier concept than Septimus Shale's harmless sentimentality about Christmas. But then, I don't care at all about jewelry. And even less about pearls, which are too often obtained by killing living things. MONTAGUE EGG STORIESI The Poisoned Dow '08: Montague Egg is a traveler in wines. He's no Lord Peter Wimsey, but he does have a traveling salesman's knowledge of people, and a Salesman's Handbook full of Ferengi-like aphorisms. In this case, he sets out to determine how a bottle of wine handled by his firm got poisoned--with nicotine. I'm not sure where Sayers got the idea that nicotine is the only poisonous compound in tobacco: but it is, in fact, quite poisonous: which is why it's commonly used as an herbicide.II Sleuths on The Scent: The recognition that members of certain professions open bottles differently from others is not limited to this story: I'm pretty sure there's at least one Isaac Asimov story along the same lines.III Murder in The Morning: Gas stations were beginning to pop up all over the landscape at this point. They were mostly prefab, and were often not precisely labeled. This probably led to quite a lot of confusion, as in this story.IV One Too Many: Commercial travelers and corporate nabobs, apparently, have one thing in common: They've heard of a way to diddle the ticket collectors on trains.V Murder at Pentecost: Set at Oxford, where there are, it appears, one or two of that sort of eccentric who confess to every crime that comes down the pike.VI Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz: Sayers' predisposition to parade her scholarship is here, as often, biblical, and refers to a prophecy by Isaiah. Why the little girl named her cat that...maybe she learned it in Sunday School? This story is so cruel toward cats in so many ways that ailurophobes and ailurophiles alike would be well advised to avoid it. OTHER STORIESI The Man Who Knew How: A man prone to practicing a particular cruel practical joke on strangers chooses the wrong victim.II The Fountain Plays: Sayers had a particular disgust for blackmailers, whom she considered worse than murderers (or so she repeatedly said). There were fairly stringent laws against blackmail at the time, apparently, but how could they really be enforced? In order to press charges against a blackmailer, after all, the victim would have to admit to having done something criminal. This story is frankly not very interesting. Once you've picked up on the basic fact that fountains that recycle their water were already in use by the time of the story, there's really not much more to the story.

  • Moira Fogarty
    2019-05-19 12:26

    Meh. A collection of Sayers' short stories. Some feature Lord Peter, but most have working-class sleuth Montague Egg solving mysteries and spouting adages from the salesman's handbook. The author obviously had her next book -set in an advertising agency- on the brain as she was penning this. I find these stories to be small gems of ideas dressed up as short fiction. It feels as though Sayers came up with an ending and then wrote her way back to the beginning of many of these miniature mysteries. There's a Christmas theft feature (The Necklace of Pearls), two poisonings, several murders, cats, fancy-dress parties, trains and some blackmail in the mix. Solutions are simple and easily seen from afar. One that will puzzle anyone who doesn't have a solid grasp on the endocrine system is “The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey”. Don't get excited! This does NOT feature Harriet Vane - Lord Peter is helping a lady in distress. Wedding bells do not ring (no need to fear bigamy).An okay collection of puzzles, suitable for train travel and the like. Not challenging, nothing too convoluted, light reading with some spooky bits.

  • Tony
    2019-05-27 17:39

    HANGMAN’S HOLIDAY. (1933). Dorothy L. Sayers. ***.This is a collection of short stories by Ms. Sayer that displays her skill in the mystery genre. I wouldn’t say that she was known for her short stories, but they are relatively skillful efforts in that direction. There are a total of twelve stories in all: four featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, six featuring Montague Egg, and two “other” stories with no series hero. I was pleased to discover her character Montague Egg. He was a travelling salesman dealing in wines and spirits, and managed to make his way around England vending his wares. He was much more of a common man than Wimsey, and mixed in well with other tradesmen around the country. I’d like to find more stories featuring him – if more exist. In all, this collection shows a side of Sayers that we don’t normally see in her novels. She is much more sparing of words, and certainly more incisive in delineating her characters. What is missing, however, is the broad humor that is normally encounter in her novels. There is apparently just no room for it. Anyway, this is a fun series of reads; it’s fairly easy to get through two or three of them before bedtime.

  • Andree
    2019-05-03 16:25

    These stories can be roughly divided into the Lord Peter's, the Montague Egg's, and the standalones.I liked the Lord Peter stories. I thought they mostly worked. They amused me at least. They were not nearly as good as the novels.I think the Montague Egg stories worked the best. Something about his personality worked better for short stories. It might also be that because I'm used to reading Lord Peter in novel form, which I think probably relies more on characterization than just straight up mystery, that the short story worked better with a protagonist where I'm not looking for interactions with other characters.The standalones generally didn't work for me at all. I might have gone four stars had it not been for them, but I found them either ineffective or just unpleasant, and not what I was in the mood for.

  • Katie
    2019-05-13 12:47

    3.5 starsErrr, not what I expected as only 4 out of 12 of these stories involve Peter! Then there are six with Montague Egg, who Google tells me Sayers used in several short stories, and 2 just completely stand alone.I actually liked the Montague Egg stories best. So many of these Peter short stories seem experimental, like these ones verged on horror. And that just doesn't seem to fit in with the main series. It feels almost like reading about a different character leading not-quite the same life. You don't get many non-Peter regular characters at all.But the Egg ones were fun! Almost brain teasers.The stand alones were not really my thing. Too much of people making dumb decisions.Anyway, happy to be done with this so I can move on to a full length story!

  • Veronika Iris
    2019-05-27 15:35

    Wie immer absolut delightful und wunderschön geschrieben, aber teilweise waren mir die Kurzgeschichten ein bisschen zu kurz um die Atmosphäre und die Charas richtig zu genießen. Aber sehr unterhaltsam.

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    2019-05-03 10:35

    The copy of this audiobook that I borrowed was damaged, so I missed out on a couple of the stories. In any case, there is a broader spectrum in this collection of shorts than in the previous Sayers compilations, which was a good thing, and demonstrated her versatility; from the tiresome Montague Egg with his constant quotes from the apocryphal Salesman's Handbook (sorry, the Egg is addled IMO), through the typical Wimsey-as-boy-wonder (I love Lord Peter, but not in his short-story Deus Ex Machina mode), to the frankly creepy, and on to the now-we-know-silly idea that a hormonal deficiency can turn one to a maundering hunk of insentient flesh. (As I suffer from that particular deficiency myself, I know Sayers' premise is nonsense, but then it was written before the layman had very much information on the subject of "glands". More than one of Sayers' Wimsey tales is premised on the function or dysfunction of the human metabolism.)I sound like I'm complaining but I'm not, really. As I say, more variety than the norm in Sayers' short stories, and I found it more enjoyable than I expected. I'm just sorry I missed out on a couple of the tales--and that says a lot.

  • Angela
    2019-05-11 15:33

    And for a hard change of pace from the previous book, I jumped over to Dorothy L. Sayers' Hangman's Holiday, an old short story collection featuring several shorter pieces about the redoubtable Lord Peter Wimsey as well as her lesser-known amateur sleuth, Montague Egg.I continue to like Sayers' novels better than her short pieces, and I definitely prefer novels when it comes to mysteries in general; with short pieces it often seems like you have only enough time for the crime and then the immediate solution. Sayers definitely gets around that in several of the pieces in this collection, though. I particularly liked "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey", in which the victim of the crime underwent a plight to which I was particularly sympathetic, and the last two standalone pieces, "The Man Who Knew How" and "The Fountain Plays", both of which had clever twist endings.This is a bit of a hard to find book--I only scarfed it because someone had sold a used copy to the University Bookstore. Sayers' novels are way easier to find. But give this a read if you can find it. Three stars.

  • Yvann S
    2019-05-03 14:37

    This collection of 12 short stories, predominantly featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg, are a gentle introduction to Ms. Sayers’ writing. Each is neatly self-contained and the answer revealed in a gentlemanly flourish without arrogance (such as that of M. Poirot).I’ve not read any Sayers before, but after Alex was raving about a Wimsey mystery, this little collection was just right. The short stories are a bit shorter (12 in 256 pages) than the set of Christie short stories I reviewed, and that may be why I enjoyed them more; the writing had to be tighter.Wimsey and Egg are both excellent detective characters with their own foibles and idiosyncrasies without being isolating or offputting. I’m a particular fan of Egg’s little rhymes from The Salesman’s Handbook.The stories did occasionally tend to the darker side which was less to my taste, but others may prefer it as a little less cozy and cloying than many of this style.A great collection and I will be looking out for more.

  • Damaskcat
    2019-05-08 12:29

    This is a collection of short stories - some featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, some featuring clever salesman Montague Egg and two crime short stories which don't feature either character. I particularly liked 'The Necklace of Pearls' in which Lord Peter uses his powers of observation to find a missing necklace and 'The Queen's Square' which also features events at a party.Montague Egg, with his rhyming couplets, sunny temperament and excellent powers of observation, is a marvellous character. I always wish when I read stories about him that Dorothy L Sayers had given him a book to himself. I loved the way he helps a girl rescue her cat in 'Mahar-shalal-hashbaz' and the ingenious murder in the same story. The last two stories in the collection are ingenious and I particularly enjoyed the neat twist in 'The Man Who Knew How'. This is an excellent and varied collection of crime short stories and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys short stories as well as fans of DLS.

  • sage
    2019-05-19 13:21

    Extremely short and wildly uneven. Interesting to see how her non-Wimsey stories compare. Very interesting to see her dip a toe into the early 20th century horror genre. She captures ghastly almost too well. Also, there's an interesting bit of meta on "one of those mystery novels" that rips it apart on exactly the lines of what bugged me about Have His Carcase. Makes me suspect DLS was srsly blocked in this era and sending any damned thing to the publisher while struggling to put another good novel together.

  • Joy
    2019-05-26 09:39

    Short stories, mostly featuring Sayers' predominant heroes Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg. To me they were mostly fine, but there were two standouts.In "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey," Lord Peter comes to the aid of Professor Langley, who has discovered his former beloved in a degenerated condition, sequestered in Pyrenees with her physician husband. The gruesomeness of the story benefits from an intelligent drama."The Man Who Knew How" features neither detective, and like the other, this story depends on the volatile mix of two specific personalities.

  • Joanna
    2019-05-20 10:46

    This isn't actually a Wimsey book. It's a collection of short mystery stories, two of which have Wimsey in them. Most of them are about Monty Egg. Enjoyable, but a little more scattered.

  • Bruce
    2019-05-12 11:27

    Nice collection of short mysteries

  • Miriam
    2019-05-14 15:37

    Now that I've started I remember reading this collection in high school. The stories so far are weirder than her norm -- almost Father Brown-ish.

  • Pamela Shropshire
    2019-05-13 17:33

    This is another short story collection: 4 Lord Peter Wimsey stories, 6 featuring Montague Egg and 2 general murder stories both with ambiguous endings.I really enjoyed the Montague Egg stories. He's quite a different type of detective than LPW; most of his detecting takes place exclusively in his brain - no sleuthy shadowing or surveilling or reconstructing necessary. My favorite story was Murder at Pentecost, set at the fictional Pentecost College in Oxford. Although the college is fictional, other places mentioned are real, particularly the Bodleian Library where M. Egg deduces the murderer. One reason I liked this story so much is that we recently visited Oxford for the first time - it's such a beautiful town. We didn't get to see the Bodleian (spent too much time at the Botanical Gardens and the Ashmolean) but it's definitely on the list for next time.The final story of the collection, The Fountain Plays, is very familiar. I'm pretty sure I've heard a radio play adaptation of it.Quite enjoyable!

  • Chris
    2019-05-16 13:31

    A collection of short stories, only a few of which feature Lord Peter Wimsey, these are very much snapshots of period crime fiction. Sayers seems here to be playing with the genre and the results are mostly good. I enjoyed the last two stories the most, being a diversion from the formulaic mystery. These are more like Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, although she was a few decades ahead of him! Also featured in several stories, Montague Egg is an unusual sleuth; a travelling salesman who solves crimes. Definitely worth the time of any crime fiction aficionado, and particularly any fan of Sayers.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-26 11:50

    A pleasant collection of stories from an always-interesting author, but it feels more like forgotten writings someone found in Sayers' desk than a cohesive collection. It was nice to see some non-Wimsey characters--Montague Egg had such funny little sales book aphorisms!--but I think Sayers is a novelist at heart. Something about the pacing was off, and the mysteries themselves weren't incentive enough to make up for that. I felt repeatedly like she wanted to build out the characters more but didn't have the space.

  • Jeff Suter
    2019-05-15 12:49

    A mixed bag of short stories, including a couple of Wimsey tales. Plus the "working class" detective Montague Egg - or to be more accurate the Lower Middle-Class sleuth. Obviously these are ideas that didn't pan out for a novel or - in some cases - didn't really work. The Monty Egg stories are lighter in tone and more humorous. While a nice read, not as satisfying as a full-blooded Wimsey book.

  • Roxana
    2019-05-13 16:34

    Some of the earlier stories fall a bit flat, but the last two - The Man Who Knew How and The Fountain Plays - are brilliant little gems of puzzles. Maybe coincidentally, these happen to be the only two stories in the mix that star neither of Sayers' detectives, Lord Peter Wimsey and Mr. Montagu Egg; they are bit freer than the Wimsey and Egg stories, and more clever and compelling because of it.

  • Holt Dwyer
    2019-04-29 10:45

    A collection of short mysteries starring Lord Peter Wimsey, subject of Sayers' detective novels, and also Montague Egg, amateur detective and traveling wine merchant. The brevity of the mysteries means that they don't compare favorably with the Wimsey novels, and Monty Egg's facile jingles become wearing very quickly.