Lord Peter Wimsey

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Wimsey, Peter Death Bredon, DSO; born 1890, 2nd son of Mortimer Gerald Bredon Wimsey, 15th Duke of Denver, and of Honoria Lucasta, daughter of Francis Delagardie of Bellingham Manor, Hants.

  • Educated: Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford (1st class honours, Sch. of Mod. Hist. 1912); served with H.M. Forces 1914/18 (Major, Rifle Brigade). Author of: "Notes on the collecting of Incunabula", "The Murderer's Vade-Mecum", etc.
  • Recreations: Criminology, bibliophily; music; cricket
  • Clubs: Marlborough; Egotists'.
  • Residences: 110A Piccadilly, W.; Bredon Hall, Duke's Denver, Norfolk.
  • Arms: Sable, 3 mice courant, argent; crest, a domestic cat crouched as to spring, proper; motto: As my Whimsy takes me.

The hero of eleven books, a play, and a number of short stories, by Dorothy L. Sayers, with three sequels by Jill Paton Walsh. Though ostensibly mystery novels, modern readers may see them as more like deconstructions of, parodies of, and occasionally paeans to British culture in the Interbellum, that happen to be about murder.

In order of publication, the novels are:

  • Whose Body? (1923)
  • Clouds of Witness (1926)
  • Unnatural Death (1927)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)
  • Strong Poison (1931)
  • The Five Red Herrings (1931)
  • Have His Carcase (1932)
  • Murder Must Advertise (1933)
  • The Nine Tailors (1934)
  • Gaudy Night (1935)
  • Busman's Honeymoon (1937)

There are, further, three collections of short stories:

  • Lord Peter Views the Body (1928; containing 15 stories):
    • "The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers"
    • "The Entertaining Episode of the Article in Question"
    • "The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will"
    • "The Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag"
    • "The Unprincipled Affair of the Practical Joker"
    • "The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention"
    • "The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran"
    • "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste"
    • "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head"
    • "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach"
    • "The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face"
    • "The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba"
  • In the Teeth of the Evidence (1933; containing 2 Lord Peter stories):
    • "In the Teeth of the Evidence"
    • "Absolutely Elsewhere"
  • Hangman's Holiday (1939; containing 4 Lord Peter stories)
    • "The Image in the Mirror"
    • "The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey"
    • "The Queen's Square"
    • "The Necklace of Pearls"

Three further short stories, "Striding Folly," "The Haunted Policeman," and "Talboys", were collected posthumously in the anthology Striding Folly in 1971. All the short stories were subsequently anthologized in the compendium Lord Peter (1972). A collection of mock-historical studies by Sayers and various friends, notably including professional herald C.W. Scott-Giles, of the Wimsey family was printed privately and finally published in 1977 under Scott-Giles's name and the title, The Wimsey Family, with Scott-Giles's illustrations[1]. Three unfinished novels were completed by novelist Jill Paton Walsh, and were published as Thrones, Dominations in 1998, A Presumption of Death in 2002, and The Attenbury Emeralds in 2010. A series of "letters written by various members of the Wimsey family" and generally referred to as The Wimsey Papers appeared in the Spectator magazine between November 1939 and January 1940; these have not yet been anthologized, though various excerpts from them appear in the Jill Paton Walsh novels.

The Wimsey stories take place between 1922 and 1936, and (a bit unusually for a mystery series) the characters age in real time: Lord Peter is thirty-two in Whose Body? and forty-six in Busman's Honeymoon.

Lord Peter is the younger brother of the Duke of Denver, the richest peer in the United Kingdom. As he has no need for a job, he spends his time collecting rare books and acting as a police consultant in murder and grand larceny cases. His main ally in the police is Charles Parker, who later marries Peter's sister. Other recurring characters include Harriet Vane, Peter's love interest and a rare example of an Author Avatar done exceptionally well; Miss Climpson, an elderly spinster whom Peter sometimes sends on fact-finding missions; Mervyn Bunter, Peter's valet and old army buddy; The Honourable Freddy Arbuthnot, financial genius, and one of the oldest Boisterous Bruisers in the book; Peter's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver; and a sleazy actress named Miss Vavasour who seems to be a Weirdness Magnet of some strange kind.

The books are considered to be among the best pre-World War Two mysteries. The sequels by Paton Walsh take Peter and Harriet into the war and are surprisingly good.

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Lord Peter Wimsey franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • Above Good and Evil
  • Absence of Evidence: The Five Red Herrings turns on the absence of a tube of white paint from the crime scene.
  • All Witches Have Cats: In the short story "The Incredible Elopment of Lord Peter Wimsey", Wimsey poses as a wizard in a remote and backwards village. Nine white cats form part of his disguise.
  • Ambiguously Gay: "Sir Impey Biggs is the handsomest man in England, and no woman will ever care twopence for him."
  • Arc Words: 'Megatherium Trust' in the earlier books
  • Ascended Extra: Lord Peter himself. He started out as a secondary character in a Sexton Blake fanfic that Sayers was writing. Details here.
  • Artifact of Doom: The church bells in The Nine Tailors
  • Author Avatar: Harriet Vane is certainly an author avatar. Sayers herself strenuously, though not perhaps entirely convincingly, denied this.
  • Badass Bookworm: Small, bookish martial artist Peter. Harriet, Parker and Bunter fit as well, all being highly well-read and -spoken, and pursuing intellectual hobbies, as well as being strong and highly capable.
  • Battle Butler: Bunter is quite a competent detective in his own right, and, like Peter, he's an ex-soldier
  • Because I'm Good At It
  • Beardness Protection Program: Nobby enters it in The Nine Tailors.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Harriet watches Lord Peter nap in a punt in Gaudy Night.
  • Big Bad: Cummings in Murder Must Advertise
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many stories include French dialogue or quotations, offered without translation. The reader is simply assumed to be educated enough to read them, and in the short story "The Entertaining Episode Of The Article In Question," a knowledge of French grammar provides a crucial clue -- although people who speak French tend to write it off as a typo until the end, which was doubtless the author's intent.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: The climax of Strong Poison
  • Blue Blood: Peter and his family
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The Honourable Freddy; the Duke of Denver
  • The Book Cipher: Used indirectly in Have His Carcase and directly in A Presumption of Death.
  • Brand X: All the products and advertising campaigns in Murder Must Advertise are, of course, fictional. With one exception, for which see Shout-Out, below.
  • Brats with Slingshots: The murder weapon in Murder Must Advertise
  • Busman's Holiday: Sort of the Trope Namer as the book Busman's Honeymoon references this phenomenon; The Nine Tailors and Have His Carcase are also good examples of the trope.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Peter was one in his youth. His uncle, who claims to have taught Peter all he knows, is a Chivalrous Dirty Old Man.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted - Sayers was a respected Anglican theologian and knew her denominations. Catholicism and High Anglicanism appear in several stories, but so do a number of Protestant and Orthodox faiths.
  • Christmas Cake: Harriet, in her mid-thirties when she marries Peter.
  • Clear Their Name: The plot of Strong Poison
  • Competition Coupon Madness: Lord Peter's "Whiffling" advertising scheme in Murder Must Advertise.
  • Cut and Paste Note
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Lampshaded in Strong Poison
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bunter's sense of humour is like this.
  • Deadly Doctor: Sir Julian Freke in Whose Body?.
  • Dirty Business
  • Dissonant Serenity: Subverted in Strong Poison
  • Dogged Nice Guy

Lord Peter: I shall, with your permission, continue to propose to you at decently regulated intervals, as a birthday treat, and on Guy Fawkes' Day and on the Anniversary of the King's Ascension. But consider it, if you will, a pure formality. You need not pay the slightest attention to it.
Harriet: Peter, it's foolish to go on like this.
Lord Peter: And, of course, on the Feast of All Fools.

  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Harriet's reaction to Peter's declaration of love
  • Do Wrong Right
  • Downer Ending: In Have His Carcase, it's implied that there isn't enough solid evidence to hold or convict the murderers, even though Peter and Harriet figured out how they did it.
    • In Gaudy Night we're told that at least one of them was convicted.
    • And the end of Unnatural Death sees Wimsey musing that almost certainly, fewer people would have died if he hadn't involved himself - and the man who originally asked him to investigate isn't even grateful.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Peter, as he explains in Busman's Holiday :

I don't happen to be afraid of speed - that's why I like to show off.

  • Driven to Suicide: At least three of the series' various murderers
    • In Murder Must Advertise, suicide is a choice to keep the villain's innocent family from ridicule guaranteed poverty and social ostracism; and in Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, it was seen as the only honourable way out of the situation--which was not unusual in those days, at least in certain realms of fiction.
  • Eureka Moment
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Peter, but also Bunter to some extent
  • Everybody Lives: "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach"
  • Everybody Smokes: Peter, Parker, Harriet and St George all smoke, as do many supporting characters. Peter's masterwork while working in advertising is a campaign for Whifflets Cigarettes.
  • Evil Counterpart: In Whose Body?: Sir Julian Freke, a genius who kills without remorse, motivated by sexual jealousy and anti-Semitism, is contrasted with Lord Peter who catches criminals for the fun of it and feels deep guilt.
  • Evil Matriarch: Helen Denver is not to be liked by any reader
  • Expy: Bunter for Wodehouse's Jeeves; arguably Freddy Arbuthnot for Bertie Wooster
  • Face Death with Dignity: Murder Must Advertise
  • Faking the Dead: "The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba," where Peter stays publicly dead for two years while undercover -- even Parker believed him dead (although no one seems too surprised when Peter turns up alive).
  • Food Porn: Lord Peter, being a noted gourmet, often indulges in such meals. The judge's summing-up in Strong Poison is a darker example, as it shows how inappropriate his treatment of the case is.
  • Follow That Car!: Several times; lampshaded in Murder Must Advertise
  • A Friend in Need
  • Friend on the Force: Inspector Charles Parker
  • Genius Ditz: Freddy Arbuthnot
  • Genre Savvy: Peter and other characters often reference how people act in detective stories and the extent to which it fits "reality."
  • Genre Shift: It doesn't stick, but The Nine Tailors definitely takes a hard left turn into Magic Realism, and in Busman's Honeymoon the existence of the Wimsey family ghosts is an easily accepted fact.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting
  • Gentleman Thief: Nobby Cranton wants to be one, but he's more of an aspirational burglar and spiv, and is not well-spoken or -mannered.
  • Good Old Ways
  • Go-To Alias: Peter generally uses "Death Bredon".
  • Grande Dame Helen, Duchess of Denver is a humourless, stuffy Society woman; Lady Hermione Creethorpe, in "The Queen's Square," is a more typical elderly example.
  • The Great Depression: Not a major factor, as it didn't hit England as hard as some other countries, but it is mentioned in the later books
  • Green-Eyed Monster
  • Guile Hero: Peter, arguably.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Peter has sent so many people to their deaths, even though most of them were murderers themselves, that he has come to view himself as a killer just as evil as those whom he brings to justice--if not more so, since he does it for his own amusement
  • Heroic BSOD: Peter was badly shell-shocked in World War I, some years before the series begins; during the series, he has two intense breakdowns: one in Whose Body? and another in The Nine Tailors. He also feels his innocence and his very morality slowly slipping away over the course of the series
  • High-Class Glass: Peter has several but doesn't actually need any of them...for his vision, anyway
  • Honor Before Reason: Gerald appears to be doing this for much of Clouds Of Witness. Subverted, though, in that he feels (not without some reason) that the harm he will cause to someone else by speaking out may be as great as the harm he may suffer by keeping silent.
  • Honorary Aunt: Viscount St George cajoles Harriet into being this. Later, of course, she becomes a real aunt.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Subverted; Peter disclaims all religion, but he views himself, not religion, as the one at fault. He's not actually an atheist, just a Christian with a very bad conscience, but he has much the same logic as those who follow this trope.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Hilary Thorpe
  • Identification by Dental Records: Though the identification is usually subverted. For example, in "In the Teeth of the Evidence," an evil dentist fakes his own death by deliberately faking a patient's teeth to look like his, then murdering the patient. The Nine Tailors also featured a failed dental identification.
  • Idle Rich: Discussed with scathing contempt by Antoine in Have His Carcase
  • If We Survive This
  • Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Usually Peter is an Amateur Sleuth, but occasionally his sleuthing intersects with his rare book knowledge...
  • Ironic Echo: Gaude, Sabaoth, John, Jericho, Jubilee, Dimity, Batty Thomas, and Tailor Paul. Nine Tailors Make a Man.
    • Also, the first spoken word in Whose Body? is the same as the final spoken word in Busman's Honeymoon, and is said by the same person, but in a very different context and mood.
  • It Gets Easier: For the villain in Unnatural Death
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Regularly sending people to the gallows eventually causes Peter to view himself as an evil person, the cause for the He Who Fights Monsters and Hollywood Atheist tropes above.
  • It's for a Book: A book or a bet is the usual excuse for Peter's and Miss Climpson's investigations. Inverted in Strong Poison.
  • The Jeeves: Bunter may very well be the second-most archetypal example
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sugg
  • Jive Turkey: Used as part of Mary Whitaker's plan
  • Knife Nut: Cummings's gang
  • Knight Templar: At the climax of Strong Poison, Lord Peter tells Norman Urquhart that he has just given him a massive dose of arsenic and asks why he isn't showing symptoms. This prompts Urquhart to break down and confess that he has made himself immune to arsenic, and so was able to kill his cousin by splitting an arsenic-laced omelette with him. Then Parker arrests him. Of course, Peter says that he was lying about the arsenic in the sweets, but there's also a possibility that he wasn't...
    • Also, using a Hannibal Lecture to get the murderer to shoot himself at the end of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Repeatedly. For the entire mystery genre
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
  • Likes Older Women: Reggie Pomfret in Gaudy Night.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Mr. Oliver, from a copy of Oliver Twist, in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
  • Literary Allusion Title: Not just the books, usually each chapter too
  • Little Old Lady Investigates: Miss Climpson
  • Long List: Peter rattles off a particularly impressive one in The Nine Tailors, consisting of all the things he's figured out about the case. The only thing missing from it is the identity of the murderer.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jock Graham in The Five Red Herrings; Nobby Cranton in The Nine Tailors
  • Magical Negro: Hallelujah Dawson, a handsome, elderly West Indian clergyman who's falsely accused of murder and takes it in his stride while charming everyone around him
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Invoked, and debunked, in Have His Carcase
  • Malicious Slander
  • The Masochism Tango: One lasting for five years
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The solution to The Nine Tailors - rationally plausible, but spooky. The Image in the Mirror suggests that twin brothers might share a psychic connection, though it lampshades the unlikelihood.
  • Meaningful Name: Hallelujah Dawson. Yes, that's his real name. Yes, he's a missionary. How did you guess? Then there's the venerable Rev. Venables (see The Vicar, below) and the equally Reverend Tredgold (named in anticipation of Heaven's golden streets). Arguably, Wimsey's own name is an example, and Lampshaded in the series: his coat of arms bears the motto "As My Whimsy Takes Me."
  • Mega Corp: Pym's Publicity in Murder Must Advertise, although it's obviously less extreme than others of the type
  • Motive Rant: Annie Wilson at the end of Gaudy Night berates the S.C.R. for what she sees as a betrayal of the feminine ideal (never mind that the S.C.R. are actually for the most part fairly girly--they're bluestockings, not tomboys). She is arguably the only ideologically-motivated villain in the entire series (although revenge also plays a part, and the scene in question is both highly effective and unbelievably offensive and disturbing. This single scene is typically considered Sayers's masterpiece.
  • More Hero Than Thou: In Nine Tailors, two men try to shield each other from blame for murder, unaware that neither of them did it.
  • Murder-Suicide: Peter stops the murderer from committing suicide in Whose Body?, and encourages it (more or less) in Murder Must Advertise.
  • Mystery Writer Detective: Harriet Vane
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast : Sir Julian Freke, William Bright (because Light Is Not Good).]]
  • Necessarily Evil: Peter hates himself a lot.
  • Noodle Incident: The Attenbury Emeralds case. Also, an incident with a pig, during the war.
  • Not Proven: Have His Carcase ends with Peter and Harriet knowing who committed the murder, how it was done, and that there's no possible way he could ever be convicted for it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Peter and Climpson seem to use this as their entire modus operandi
  • Old Flame Fizzle: Harriet finds going to Gaudy Night to see an old friend doesn't work out well.
  • Oh Crap: Younger brother of an Upper Class Twit, Lord Peter goes out of his way to cultivate an Upper Class Twit image himself. The hapless criminals of Britain think of him as "Bertie Wooster playing detective"; by the time they find themselves face to face with Lord Peter's frightening intelligence, it's much too late.
  • The Ojou: Hilary Thorpe
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Wimsey and Harriet Vane go punting in Gaudy Night, and the scene is retained in the 1987 BBC television production. Such boating excursions are traditional at Oxford, where the story is set. The modern twists on this are their practical discussion of Harriet's poison pen prankster investigation and the "spot of celibacy" Harriet is maintaining, despite Wimsey's numerous proposals of matrimony.
  • Once For Yes, Twice For No: Climpson stages a seance using this at the climax of Strong Poison.
  • Oop North: Clouds of Witness begins in rural Yorkshire, complete with dour, taciturn farmers and boggy moors. The Five Red Herrings is set largely in the south of Scotland, but occasionally crosses the border. Parker is originally from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
  • Open Sesame: The words Open Sesame must be spoken in Peter's voice to open the inner compartment of the safe in The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba.
  • Oxbridge: Gaudy Night is a love letter to academic life, set in Oxford and steeped in dons, gowns and punts.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Several parents attempt this, including Lady Levy's and Lady Dormer's, because the prospective spouse is middle-class and/or Jewish. Often, the couple frustrate them by eloping. The Levys go on to veto The Hon. Freddy Arbuthnot's suit to Rachel Levy, but he proves himself by courting her for seven years and agreeing to raise their children Jewish.
  • Passed Over Inheritance: In The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, he's brought in determine who is it.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: In Murder Must Advertise, Lord Peter is arrested for murder just after leading an amateur cricket team to victory; the manager of the opposing team immediately avers that nobody who plays cricket like that could possibly be a murderer.
    • At the same time however, Wimsey's innings in that game blows his "Death Bredon" cover, as someone recognises his batting style.
  • The Poppy: The absence of one becomes a plot point in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.
  • Promotion to Parent: Peter becomes trustee of a fortune left to the orphaned Hilary Thorpe in The Nine Tailors, letting him ensure she gets the best education and pursue her career, despite the objections of her old-fashioned uncle and guardian.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Whitaker
  • Pun-Based Title: Lots of these in the short stories, for example:
    • "The Entertaining Episode Of The Article In Question"
    • "In The Teeth Of The Evidence"
    • "The Undignified Melodrama Of The Bone Of Contention"
  • Rats in a Box: In The Nine Tailors, neither Wimsey nor the police can figure out which of two brothers murdered the victim, so they put the brothers alone in a room and secretly listen to what they say to each other. It turns out that neither of them did it, but both thought the other did, and so they had been unnecessarily covering for each other.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Tallboy; Will Thoday
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Male members of the Wimsey family usually turn out this way, according to their chronicler. From the other Wiki:

"Most Wimseys were like the 16th Duke, and his father: 'Bluff, courageous, physically powerful' but not very intelligent; of hearty and voracious appetites of all kinds. They could be 'cruel, yet without malice or ingenuity.' The other type is physically slighter, smarter, with great nervous energy, and 'lusts no less powerful, but more dangerously controlled to a long-sighted policy.' These became churchmen, statesmen, traitors; but sometimes poets and saints.

  • Remember That You Trust Me
  • Rich Bitch: Dian de Momerie; weirdly, also a Bottle Fairy. Also, Helen, Peter's sister-in-law.
  • Rich Boredom: Harriet admits that Peter catches murderers for fun, but it's still good work.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Peter's standard pose. He does actually manage his property - substantial real estate holdings - but is far too well-bred to ever discuss them.
  • Rightful King Returns: Invoked in Have His Carcase
  • Right on the Tick: In Busman's Honeymoon.
  • Royal Blood: Invoked in Have His Carcase
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The solution to Busman's Honeymoon.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Too many characters to count, but most notably Tod Milligan
  • Second Love
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Huge whacks of Busman's Honeymoon
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: During the First World War, Peter was buried alive in a collapsed dug-out, and suffers from what would nowadays be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His friend George Fentiman in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club has an even worse case, suffering frequent psychotic episodes. Sayers' own husband was a shell-shocked ex-soldier, so she knew whereof she wrote.
  • Shout-Out: In Murder Must Advertise, Death Bredon creates an innovative advertising campaign that he predicts (accurately) will be "the biggest advertising stunt since the Mustard Club"; the Mustard Club was a famous Real Life advertising gimmick for Colman's Mustard. Murder Must Advertise was inspired by the time Sayers spent working in advertising before the Wimsey novels took off -- and now, three guesses who came up with the Mustard Club...
    • One of the characters in Strong Poison refers to the advertising slogan "Guinness is good for you." Guess who came up with that slogan? (If you go into an "Oirish Pub" and see one of those old Guinness ads with zookeepers and toucans, you may be satisfied to learn that that was Sayers, too.)
    • Peter's address, 110 A Piccadilly, is a subtle salute to Sherlock Holmes, who lived at 221 B Baker Street.
    • It's a rare Wimsey story that doesn't include a Shout-Out to Gilbert and Sullivan, Alice in Wonderland, or both.
  • Smart People Know Latin: And Peter and Harriet are smart enough that he proposes to her, and she accepts, in Latin.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Lady Mary Wimsey, country lady and socialist activist.
  • Spousal Privilege: Invoked in The Nine Tailors as the reason why the police can't allow the Thodays to marry.
  • The Summation: Once per book, but most epically in Gaudy Night.
  • Surprise Witness
  • Sweet Tooth: Norman Urquhart has a serious one, which leads to his downfall. Peter's lack of one saves his life at least once.
  • Taking the Heat
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Strong Poison It was in the cracked egg.
  • This Is Reality: Very common among the Genre Savvy protagonists.
  • Time-Delayed Death: Busman's Honeymoon as well as Have His Carcase -- though that has its own spin on this trope.
  • Tranquil Fury: Peter's first letter to his nephew in Gaudy Night
  • Trickster Mentor: Meleager Finch
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Invoked in the invention of Peter's identical cousin, Death Bredon, in Murder Must Advertise and The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: Each book has a different system. Some have plain numbers; some are named for that chapter's chief character; some are thematic.
  • Upper Class Twit: Peter's brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver; Gerald's wife Helen, the Duchess of Denver
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Well, readers anyway. The books are stuffed with obscure literary allusions, and just try to solve the crossword puzzle clue in The Fascinating Problem Of Uncle Meleager's Will...
  • The Vicar: Venables, in The Nine Tailors.
  • Weak, But Skilled: Lord Peter is not a physically imposing man nor a particularly stong one, but he has insanely fast reflexes and considerable skill in several martial arts.
  • Wham! Episode: The cricket match chapter in Murder Must Advertise ends with Lord Peter getting arrested. Howzat?
  • Wine Is Classy: Lord Peter is a big time oenophile[2] and so this trope comes up often.
  • With Due Respect
  • World War I: Though he was a capable soldier, decorated for valour, Peter's wartime experiences basically left him shattered.
  • Xanatos Roulette: Unnatural Death. Also, many agree that the plans Peter uses to outwit the villains in Strong Poison and Murder Must Advertise are nothing short of L-worthy.
  • Zany Scheme: Clouds of Witness has pretty nearly every character trying to pull one of these on the others
  1. He would subsequently provide Sayers with the maps and diagrams for her translation of Dante's Commedia
  2. "wine lover" for the Latin-impaired.