Author: Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Dates: 13 June 1893 – 17 December 1957
Title of Book: Gaudy Night
Memory peopled the quad with moving figures. Students sauntering in pairs. Students dashing to lectures, their gowns hitched hurriedly over light summer frocks, the wind jerking their flat caps into the absurd likeness of so many jesters’ cockscombs. Bicycles stacked in the porter’s lodge, their carriers piled with books and gowns twisted about their handlebars. A grizzled woman don crossing the turf with vague eyes, her thoughts riveted upon aspects of sixteenth-century philosophy, her sleeves floating, her shoulders cocked to the academic angle that automatically compensated the backward drag of the pleated poplin. Two male commoners in search of a coach, bareheaded, hands in their trousers-pockets, talking loudly about boats. The Warden – grey and stately – and the Dean – stocky, brisk, bird-like, a Lesser Repoll – in animated conference under the archway leading to the Old Quadrangle. Tall spikes of delphinium against the grey, quaveringly blue-like flames, if flame were ever so blue. The college cat, preoccupied and remote, stalking with tail erect in the direction of the buttery.
It was all so long ago; so closely encompassed and complete; so cut off as by swords from the bitter years that lay between. Could one face it now? What would those women say to her, to Harriet Vane, who had taken her First in English and gone to London to write mystery fiction, to live with a man who was not married to her, and to be tried for his murder amid a roar of notoriety? That was not the kind of career that Shrewsbury expected of its old students.
Brief Biography: Sayers was a crime novelist, poet and playwright. She was considered to be one of the queens of crime fiction along with Agatha Christie and is most famous for her novels and short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.