There were so many excellent, interesting points in the comments on The Nine Tailors that I thought I'd bring them centre stage and make this a follow-up post of sorts. Some are specific to the novel, others apply across our reading generally, so if you want to further the discussion here, please do so, it's not just for those who contributed to Saturday's post.
Setting and detail:
Those bells! Some of us found the whole business of the bells and change-ringing absolutely fascinating. Audrey said she "loved the language of the bells - incomprehensible but poetical", Margaret found it "intimidating and indispensable", Julie was bored by that aspect and felt the need to "just to get on with it"! To a lesser extent the Fen country descriptions provoked similar reactions, though of course in both cases, all that scene-setting was crucial to the story. As ever with books, one man's meat is another man's poison: some of us lap up that degree of detail, others feel it hinders plot development and so prefer less of it. As a rule, in which camp would you put yourself?
I think we're all agreed we'd like a Bunter of our own, and Lord Peter's "charmed life", as Ruthiella put it, is an appealing characteristic of these books. Again speaking generally, do you find you're more drawn to books which promise agreeable people in pleasant places, worlds in which - with the benefit of a magic wand - you might quite like to spend time yourself, or are you equally happy to read about less congenial types in grim situations? Your choice may of course depend on what's going on in your own life at any time, e.g. as Ruth says, Dorothy L. Sayers's books are her "go-to re-read in tough times, cozy times, can't sleep times, need something wonderful, wise and well-crafted to get lost in times".
Losing the plot:
(1) Lots of us commented that we couldn't follow the ins and outs of one major section of the book, and the fact of being lost in that way provided food for thought. Both Sandy and Mr. C. were happy to be carried along and "be absorbed into this world', letting the intricacies wash over them "in an impressionistic way", others felt they wanted to appreciate every twist and turn. This led to Claire's point about reading on a Kindle and how it can be difficult to flip back and forth to specific passages if you need to remind yourself of some detail - the search function is very helpful, but you may not have a good enough search term to use to take you back, while a vague memory of where in the physical book an incident takes place may be sufficient to get you to the scene in question. I haven't encountered this lack of orientation with the Kindle, and I was reading The Nine Tailors in paper form, but I'd like to know if you feel this is a drawback of sorts to e-books generally. (2) Do you feel the need to follow every plot shift in a novel and understand completely what has happened, how, why and when, or like the gentlemen above, are you quite content to sit back and enjoy the ride? (3) Chloe commented, "I remain undecided if a plot so clever 90% of readers can't follow is a good or a bad thing". Very interesting point - what do you think?
The past is another country...:
Lots of us commented that the book was of its time and that that was part of its attraction for us (though it was a huge success in its own day, too). Ruth said books such as this one are "deliciously old, other, offering entry to another time and place", and I think that puts it very well and explains part of its charm.
Many thanks to everyone who recommended other Dorothy L. Sayers novels for those of us who are now eager for more. The titles mentioned were Gaudy Night, Strong Poison and Five Red Herrings. Has anyone read any of the Jill Paton Walsh books which feature Lord Peter Wimsey? As I understand it, Thrones, Dominations was begun by DLS and abandoned, and JPW used what material there was and finished the book; she also used the character in A Presumption of Death and The Attenbury Emeralds.