Posts are beginning to appear about bloggers plans for reading over the Christmas period so I thought I would trump every single one of them by announcing that I am going to be spending Christmas at Denver Castle in the company of Lord Peter Wimsey. Now what, I ask you, could possibly be a more delightful prospect than that? I am absolutely sure that each and every one of you is now in the process of turning a delicate shade of green. You can be certain that the Duke will insist on celebrating Christmas in the most complete manner imaginable. Not only will the food be first rate, but there will be wonderful decorations (no tatty paper streamers hanging from the chandeliers for George Denver) and all the traditions from wassailing through to Midnight Mass observed in their full splendour. And even if Lord Peter himself is not completely comfortable in the company of some of his relatives, you can be sure that he will be the most attentive of hosts. How I am going to make the transition back to my own little hovel in the New Year I have simply no idea.
What lies behind these plans? Well, in the New Year I’m intending taking a course on the ways in which Dorothy L Sayers’ work reflects the social and political climate of the interwar years and I need to brush up on my Wimsey. Although I have, in the past, read all of the novels, the only one I know really well is Gaudy Night and I suspect that I have a rather unusual take on that. I am, of course, perturbed by the murders but what distresses me to my academic core is the act of plagiarism. I suspect you have to have worked in academia to have any hope of understanding the magnitude of the theft that lies at the root of the novel’s plot, after all even I can appreciate that in the greater scheme of things stealing someone else’s idea is not likely to substantially effect the path of wars or famines or global warming. Nevertheless, whenever I read Gaudy Night I still find myself shocked beyond belief that one scholar could do that to another. The murders become a side issue. Of the other novels I have only a very sketchy remembrance and so my plans for the two weeks around the Christmas period really do focus on Lord Peter and his relatives. From one source or another I have managed to gather together the first nine books and I am going to revelling in an absolute feast of crime fiction from the Golden Age.
Of course, too much of even the very best of things can become a little cloying so, lest that should prove to be case in this instance, I also have a couple of review copies of novels due in the New Year to read. There is a very good chance that I might spend Christmas Day itself with Ruth Galloway and her daughter Kate. I haven’t told The Bears that though. I’m sure that Kate would love them dearly but she is still very young and the phrase love them to bits comes to mind. I don’t want them worried unnecessarily.
So, what are your reading plans for Christmas and is there anyone who can trump my invitation to Denver Castle? Whatever you have in mind I hope all your festive reading wishes come true.