So fast forward some 45 years to when I was urged by a friend to try them and that they were wonderful and bought Nine Tailors and of course immediately hooked.  I will say that my favourites are those concerning Harriet Vane.  I love the relationship between she and Peter, she so prickly and proud and he, for the first time in his life, unable to have what he wants and terrified of putting a foot wrong and losing her. So, the glee and delight when she finally says Yes (Gaudy Night - my most favourite).

I read the Vane books very early on and, therefore, do find the books that do not feature her a bit of a let down.  Well, I did but I am now re-reading them all as, in my usual manner, I binge read the lot and am now going back and savouring them and appreciating them more.

In Murder Must Advertise, a copy writer at Pyms, an advertising agency, meets his doom by falling head first down a spiral iron staircase (with knobs on) and breaks his neck.  Whilst regarded by all and sundry as a tragic accident, it transpires that before his death Dean had written to Mr Pym to warn him that  Mma    something was seriously amiss in his agency and dark doings were afoot.  Before he had a chance to spill the beans, he spilled down the stairs. 

Because of this letter, Peter is called in to investigate and is employed as a replacement copywriter, he calls himself Death Bredon (Bredon being his middle name and Death, one presumes, being pronounced De'ath or Deeth) and starts investigating this seemingly innocent accident. 

The main joy of this book is not necessarily the identify of the murderer, one can work this out fairly early on, but the life of an advertising agency as described here. D L Sayers worked in such an environment so has first hand knowledge and experience to impart and the portrayal of the busy bustling office, the hard bitten copy writers, the cheeky young office boys, the constant back chat and gossip:

"...they talked.  Bredon had neverr in his life encountered a set of people with such active tongues and so much apparent leisure for gossip. It was a miracle that any work got done....the atmosphere suited him well enough.  He was a bonhomous soul with the insatiable curiosity of a baby elephant and nothing pleased him better that to be interrupted in the ecocmiums of Sops ('makes Monday, Funday'), or the Whoosh vacuum cleaner ('one Whoosh and it's clean') by a fellow member of the department, fed up with advertising and spoiling for a chat".

There is a rather affected side line in this book where Wimsey, disguised as Harlequin, goes to a country house party for the fast set in society, one where drugs are freely bandied about, and sets out to fascinate one Diane de Momerie, with whom Dean was involved with before his death.  The moments where, masked, Peter fascinates her and treats her with lofty disdain, are pure Michael Arlen and one feels here that DL Sayers is really indulging herself in her adoration of her character.

"The slim body shot through the spray, struck the surface with hardly a splash and slid through the water like a fish....it was perfectly done, it was magnificent.  The girl Dian ran forward and caught hold of the swimmer when he emerged "Oh, you are marvellous.  Take me home Harlequin, I adore you!"

The final realisation of the identity of the murderer takes place at a Pym/Client cricket match where Peter, who is of course a superlative cricketer on top of everything else, gives the game away as he is recognised by one of the spectators 'I have been watching cricket for sixty years and I've seen something very like it.  Pardon me, I say, aren't you Wimsey of Balliol?"

If I did not love Peter so much, I would feel after the above, that he was just too gorgeous and gilded a creature to be true.

Dorothy Sayers was often accused of falling in love with her own creature and I think there is probably a great deal of truth in this and these moments in this book certainly shore up this theory.  I will admit to finding Lord Peter totally fascinating myself but there are times when we miss Bunter, he balances out these excesses and provides a foil to Peter's sometime posing and eccentricities.

But, these small caveats aside, Murder must Advertise is near the top of the Favourite Wimsey List. I am now going to start at the beginning and read them all - all over again.