More typically I’ve infuriated myself by re-reading a couple of Wimseys: The Nine Tailors and Busman’s Honeymoon. I’m always reminded of a nurse who worked at the same hospital as VR and who had just discovered Lord Peter; couldn’t get enough him. Then she came across a para where Bunter (Lord Peter’s “man”) is required to shave his boss and that was the end of that.
Dorothy Sayers mines a very rich vein of snobbism which curdles my left-wing blood and yet fascinates me as a matter of public record. In Nine Tailors Wimsey crashes his car and is invited to stay the night with the local vicar; Bunter is shipped off to the kitchen with the housemaids. The same Bunter who saved Wimsey’s life during WWI.
Even more astonishing is the way country folk (Chimney sweeps, farm labourers, shopkeepers, sextons) all slip quite easily into addressing Wimsey as My Lord or referring to him as Lord Peter. Without tuition.
Perhaps the most unbearable passage occurs when Wimsey takes an ugly, downtrodden woman back to his flat (119A Piccadilly, in London’s West End), plays her Bach (perhaps Scarlatti) on the piano and says it would be better on a harpsichord. Exposes her to this heavenly environment, then drops her back into the plot.
So, why do I re-read Sayers? One reason is I’ve now caught up with all the quotations (in French) and the musical references that were beyond me in my youth. It takes a snob to recognise a snob.