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->''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 Creator/DorothyLSayers, with [[AuthorExistenceFailure three sequels by Jill Paton Walsh]]. Though ostensibly mystery novels, modern readers may see them as more like [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructions of]], parodies of, and occasionally paeans to British culture in [[GenteelInterbellumSetting 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[[note]] He would subsequently provide Sayers with the maps and diagrams for her translation of Dante's ''[[TheDivineComedy Commedia]]''[[/note]]. One unfinished novel, ''Thrones, Dominations'', was completed by novelist Jill Paton Walsh in 1998, who went on to write three sequels on her own: ''A Presumption of Death'' in 2002, ''The Attenbury Emeralds'' in 2010, and ''The Late Scholar'' in 2013. 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 ''A Presumption of Death''.

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 [[spoiler:marries Peter's sister.]] Other recurring characters include Harriet Vane, Peter's love interest and a rare example of an AuthorAvatar 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 Bruiser}}s in the book; Peter's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver; and a sleazy actress named Miss Vavasour who seems to be a WeirdnessMagnet of some strange kind.

The books are considered to be among the best pre-UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo mysteries. The sequels by Paton Walsh take Peter and Harriet into the war and beyond.

While there is an [[OldShame film]] called ''The Silent Passenger'' made in Sayers's lifetime based on the character, she disliked it, a feeling seemingly reciprocated by the public and fandom, as it has not survived. In the 1970s, the BBC produced five miniseries starring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter (''Clouds of Witness'', ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'', ''Five Red Herrings,'' ''Murder Must Advertise'', and ''The Nine Tailors''). Carmichael also starred in the BBC's radio drama series from the '70s to the '80s which adapted nearly all the novels, save for ''Gaudy Night,'' which was finally adapted in 2005. The '80s saw Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter adapt the three main Harriet Vane novels, ''Strong Poison,'' ''Have His Carcase,'' and ''Gaudy Night.'' Carmichael brought both humor and depth to the role, while Petherbridge emphasized the melancholy and romantic sides of the sleuth.

----
!!The books provide examples of:
* AboveGoodAndEvil: Sir Julian Freke believes that morality is a neurological reflex, redundant in a modern, individualist society, and that one who can commit immoral acts without guilt or shame is therefore a more enlightened human being. [[spoiler:This is part of his motivation for committing at least one murder.]]
* AbsenceOfEvidence: ''The Five Red Herrings'' turns on the absence of [[spoiler:a tube of white paint]] from the crime scene. A dog-in-the-night-time-style example appears in "The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention", when a horse that is terrified of an allegedly haunted heath doesn't react at all to a phantom coach driven by a headless horseman.
* AbsentMindedProfessor: Miss Lydgate of Shrewsbury College. Also, the Reverend Venables is an amateur rather than a professional scholar, but is otherwise a textbook example.
* ActuallyNotAVampire: One witness in ''The Five Red Herrings'' is chased out of a disused part of the house by what she thinks is a zombie. She realises, on reflection, that this apparition was actually a badly-injured man hiding in the attic, which is almost as frightening.
* AdaptationExpansion: ''Busman's Honeymoon'' was expanded from a stage play.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Critics at the time doubted that ''Unnatural Death'''s method of murder would work. Not only would it work, it was actually employed by a number of real-life murderers.
* AllWitchesHaveCats: 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.
* AlwaysMurder: Every novel involves a murder, mysterious death, or at least attempted murder. ''Gaudy Night'' predominantly concerns lesser crimes, though, and violence doesn't emerge until the criminal has been pursued for some time.
** Amusingly {{Lampshaded}} in ''Thrones, Dominations'', where Harriet becomes worried that the corpse in her latest mystery might be the victim of manslaughter or unlawful death rather than true murder. She explains that a murder is an absolute necessity for a successful mystery story; anything less won't sell.
* AmbiguouslyGay: "Sir Impey Biggs is the handsomest man in England, and no woman will ever care twopence for him."
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: In ''Unnatural Death'', Miss Climpson relays a racist rant by another character, about a "nasty dirty black man" who should have been thrown out of the house, including that the mere sight of him turned the ranter's stomach... then apologises for mentioning stomachs in polite company.
* AscendedExtra: Lord Peter himself. He started out as a secondary character in a SextonBlake fanfic that Sayers was writing. [[http://www.sextonblake.co.uk/sayers2.html Details here.]]
* ArtifactOfDoom: [[spoiler:The church bells]] in ''The Nine Tailors''
* AuthorAvatar: Harriet Vane is certainly an author avatar. Sayers herself strenuously, though not entirely convincingly, denied this.
** Miss Meteyard, a rather ladettish, Oxford-educated advertising copywriter in ''Murder Must Advertise'' is actually an excellent candidate for this. [[spoiler: She even has some kind of romantic history that she'd rather was kept secret from her straight-laced boss.]] She's a pretty minor character, though, so has never drawn the attention Harriet did.
* BadassBoast: Wimsey, when asked by a drunken Pomfrett why he won't stand up and fight: "First, because I'm twenty years older than you. Secondly, because you're six inches taller than I am. And thirdly, because I don't want to hurt you."
* BadassBookworm: 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.
* BattleButler: Bunter is quite a competent detective in his own right, and, like Peter, he's an ex-soldier.
* BecauseImGoodAtIt: Harriet in "Gaudy Night" is asked why she writes detective literature -- isn't it trivialising crime? She replies in part "I know what you're thinking -- that anybody with proper sensitive feelings would rather scrub floors for a living. But I should scrub floors very badly, and I write detective stories rather well."
* BeardnessProtectionProgram: Nobby enters it in ''The Nine Tailors''.
* BeautifulDreamer: Harriet watches Lord Peter nap in a punt in ''Gaudy Night.''
* BetaCouple: Freddy Arbuthnot/Rachel Levy and Parker/Lady Mary both serve as foils to Peter and Harriet, representing inter-class relationships with extended courtships, facing familial disapproval and social, financial and gender inequality.
* BigBad: [[spoiler:The drug lord Cummings]] is directly or indirectly responsible for all the crimes in ''Murder Must Advertise''.
* BilingualBonus: 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.
* BluffingTheMurderer: In the climax of ''Strong Poison'', Lord Peter tricks the murderer into thinking he's eaten poisoned food -- which, if he was really the murderer, he would be immune to. Rather than feign illness, the murderer makes a run for it and is promptly arrested.
* BlueBlood: Peter and his family are some of the highest nobility in the realm, as are a great many of their friends. Peter sadly notes that, by the 1930s, they're suffering from inbreeding, their traditional lands are basically worthless, and their countless relatives are the most tiresome snobs.
* BoisterousBruiser: The Duke of Denver is a proper old-fashioned British country gentleman - gruff, short-tempered, and fond of shooting and shouting.
%%* TheBookCipher: Used indirectly in ''Have His Carcase'' and directly in ''A Presumption of Death''.
* BrandX: All the products and advertising campaigns in ''Murder Must Advertise'' are, of course, fictional. With one exception, for which see ShoutOut, below.
* BratsWithSlingshots: [[spoiler:The murder weapon in ''Murder Must Advertise'']].
* BreatherEpisode: After the brutal killings of ''Unnatural Death'', the darkly comic examination of post-war malaise of ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'', and the emotional turmoil of ''Strong Poison'', ''The Five Red Herrings'' is a light, mechanical railway-timetable mystery Peter investigates while on holiday, with a relatively happy ending.
** Another relatively lighthearted entry: ''Cloud of Witnesses,'' comes in between the truly grisly murder of ''Whose Body'' and the even darker ''Unnatural Death.''
* BusmansHoliday:
** ''The Five Red Herrings'': Lord Peter takes time out of a fishing holiday in Scotland to investigate a killing [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident made to look like a painting accident.]]
** ''Have His Carcase'': Harriet's walking tour is interrupted by a murder mystery.
** ''The Nine Tailors'': Lord Peter's visit to friends in Norfolk is interrupted by a car accident... which, four months or so later, leads to his involvement in a murder mystery.
** ''Busman's Honeymoon'': Lord Peter's honeymoon is interrupted by a murder mystery. The title is a deliberate reference to this trope.
* ButIDigress: The Dowager Duchess tends to change the subject four or five times -- in rapid succession -- whenever she opens her mouth.
* TheCallsAreComingFromInsideTheHouse: Used in ''Absolutely Elsewhere'' - a murderer has their accomplice place the call from another town, and picks up the extension when the call goes through, as a way of faking an alibi.
* ChangingOfTheGuard: The stories experimented with perspective shifts from the beginning, but we see Harriet's point of view more and more as the books go on. ''Gaudy Night'' only has one scene that features Peter without Harriet, and ''Busman's Honeymoon'' is shared between them as a couple.
* TheCharmer: Lord Peter is very quick-witted and talented at getting people on side - or, when it becomes necessary (or he's bored), mocking or manipulating them. In the early books, he comes across as rather too prickly and facetious - he moderates this as he ages and expands his social circles. Bunter takes over this role when dealing with working-class folks - especially female servants, who appreciate his dark good looks and flirtatious manner.
* ChivalrousPervert: Peter was one in his youth. His uncle, who claims to have taught Peter all he knows, is a Chivalrous DirtyOldMan.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: 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.
* ChristmasCake: Harriet, in her mid-thirties when she marries Peter.
* ClearTheirName: The plot of ''Strong Poison''.
* ClockDiscrepancy: ''Have His Carcase'' has a discrepancy that's based on medical evidence rather than timepieces. [[spoiler: Harriet finds the body of the victim with still-liquid blood pooled around it; then the body is washed out to sea before it can be autopsied. Peter and Harriet spend most of the book assuming the murder happened almost immediately before she found the body, because the blood didn't have time to clot; in actuality, the victim was a hemophiliac and the murder happened several hours earlier.]]
* CompetitionCouponMadness: Lord Peter's "Whiffling" advertising scheme in ''Murder Must Advertise'' is described as becoming a nationwide obsession.
* ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch: InUniverse, Harriet attends a literary party, where a gang of authors take turns theorising why some thoroughly arty and undeserving novel has been awarded a reviewer's prize - because of advertising deals, or political loyalties, or familial connections, or other underhand reasons. Naturally, none of them have actually read the book, or have the faintest idea what it's even about.
* ConspicuousGloves: In the novel ''Have His Carcase'', the fact that the victim was wearing gloves is a clue to his [[spoiler: haemophilia]], which figures in the plot.
* TheCoroner: Several coroner's inquests take place throughout the books, but Dr Horner, assistant to forensic examiner Sir James Lubbock, is an example of the "medical examiner" model: he's a hearty, cheerful man who chatters, jokes and sings while he's sawing through the skull of a weeks-old corpse.
* CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: The antagonist in ''Unnatural Death'' [[spoiler: murders her own aunt, her maid and her best friend, and attempts to murder Lord Peter, Parker, Miss Climpson and a London solicitor, before finally killing herself]], all to secure a fortune that, as we discover in ''Gaudy Night'', they would have inherited anyway.
* CrimeReconstruction: At the end of ''Five Red Herrings'', Lord Peter and the police re-enact the events of the murder and the following day, accumulating evidence as they go.
* CutAndPasteNote: The poison-pen writer in ''Gaudy Night'' uses letters cut from newspapers for her notes. A search for the source papers forms part of the investigation.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: In ''Strong Poison'', Lord Peter suggests this as a motive for murder: the murderess kills her lover, so his books become bestsellers. Then when she's arrested and hanged, her books will become bestsellers, too.
* DeadpanSnarker: Bunter's humorous dialogue is always delivered as part of his highly formal, old-fashioned and subservient manner of speaking.
* DeadlyDoctor: The murderer in ''Whose Body?'' kills his victim, and then dissects the body as part of a lecture to his students.
%%* DirtyBusiness
* DisguisedInDrag: Jacques "Sans-culotte" Lerouge, who disguises himself as a flirtatious, gamine lady's maid in order to infiltrate wealthy houses and pilfer their valuables.
%%* DissonantSerenity: ''Strong Poison''
* DoggedNiceGuy: Lord Peter pursues Harriet for something like five years.
-->'''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.
* DontYouDarePityMe: Harriet's reaction to Peter's declaration of love.
* DoWrongRight: Bill Rumm in ''Strong Poison'' is a reformed burglar, who knows how wrong it is to break into safes. But if it ''should'' become necessary to break into a safe, the only way to do it is pick the lock. Blowing the door off is inartistic.
* DownerEnding: In ''Have His Carcase'', [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: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.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: 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.
* DrivenToSuicide: At least three of the series' various murderers.
** In ''Murder Must Advertise'', suicide is a choice to keep the villain's innocent family from 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.
** In ''Strong Poison'', the grief-stricken Ryland Vaughan tells Peter his suicide plan, and shows him the drugs he intends to use. We never find out what happens to him.
* EurekaMoment: ''Whose Body?'', ''Clouds of Witness'' and ''Have His Carcase'', among others, are solved with Eureka Moments. ''Whose Body?'' discusses the phenomenon in some detail.
* EverybodyLives: Each of the novels has at least one major death, at least in the backstory; ''[[spoiler:Gaudy Night]]'' is the least bloody, as the death was some years ago and all of the criminal's victims survive.
* EverybodySmokes: 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.
* EvilCounterpart: In ''Whose Body?'': [[spoiler: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.
* EvilMatriarch: Helen, Duchess of Denver, is a rather unpleasant person, and nobody in her family much likes her. She's openly antagonistic towards Peter and Harriet in the later books.
* EvilTwin: Appears in the short story ''The Image in the Mirror''. A pair of mirror-image twins, born out of wedlock, are SeparatedAtBirth -- one is raised by a kindly aunt as her own, while the other is taken to the colonies by the mother and left alone and resentful after her death.
* {{Expy}}: Bunter is explicitly compared to Wodehouse's Jeeves; Lord Peter and Freddy Arbuthnot both resemble Bertie Wooster.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: ''Murder Must Advertise''
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:"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).]]
* FamilyVersusCareer: One of the major themes of ''Gaudy Night'', and of Harriet's arc as a whole. The staff and students of the college reflect a range of approaches to the issue, from Miss Hillyard who DoesNotLikeMen and [[RealWomenDontWearDresses hates family women and thinks career should always come first]], to Annie Wilson, who believes women should serve their husbands and StayInTheKitchen. Harriet contrasts both extremes with fellow alumna Phoebe Tucker, who has three children and a flourishing archaeology career alongside her husband.
* FoodPorn: 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.
* FollowThatCar: Several times; lampshaded in ''Murder Must Advertise''
* FreudianExcuse: Discussed in ''Clouds of Witness'' - the Dowager Duchess of Denver is firmly opposed to modern psychology, and doesn't believe in "subconsciousness" or "repression." Later stories - particularly ''Gaudy Night'' - involve a greater deal of psychological analysis, of heroes and villains alike.
%%* AFriendInNeed
* FriendOnTheForce: Lord Peter has two: Chief Inspector Charles Parker, his best friend who freely consults him on cases, and Sir Andrew Mackenzie, chief of Scotland Yard, who ensures he has formal access to evidence when necessary.
* GambitRoulette: ''Unnatural Death''. Also, many agree that [[ThePlan the plans]] Peter uses to outwit the villains in ''Strong Poison'' and ''Murder Must Advertise'' are nothing short of [[Manga/DeathNote L-worthy.]]
* GeniusDitz: Freddy Arbuthnot has a deep understanding of the stock market, but in all other matters is a blithering UpperClassTwit.
* GenreSavvy: Peter and other characters often reference how people act in detective stories and the extent to which it fits "reality."
* GenreShift: It doesn't ''stick'', but ''The Nine Tailors'' definitely takes a hard left turn into MagicRealism, and in ''Busman's Honeymoon'' the existence of the Wimsey family ghosts is an easily accepted fact.
* GenteelInterbellumSetting
* GentlemanThief: Nobby Cranton wants to be one, but he's more of an aspirational burglar and spiv, and is not well-spoken or -mannered.
* GoodOldWays: Lord Peter tries to uphold them; the positive and negatives of such an approach (including the arrogance and entitlement of the male-dominated aristocratic elite) are freely discussed.
* GoToAlias: Peter generally uses "Death Bredon".
* GrandeDame Helen, Duchess of Denver is a humourless, stuffy Society woman; Lady Hermione Creethorpe, in "The Queen's Square," is a more typical elderly example.
* TheGreatDepression: Not a major factor, as it didn't hit England as hard as some other countries, but it is mentioned in the later books.
* GreedyJew: Averted. Lord Peter and his fellow aristocrats associate with a number of Jewish financiers, jewellers, and so forth, who are invariably presented sympathetically. The anti-Semitism of the era is discussed, but the only characters who express it themselves are either villainous or rather stupid.
* GreenEyedMonster: Several villains are motivated by severe jealously, including [[spoiler:Sir Julian Freke, William Grimethorpe, Eric P. Loder, and Standish Weatherall.]]
%%* GuileHero: Peter.
* HangingJudge: The magistrate in ''Clouds of Witness'' and the judge in ''Strong Poison'' both deliberately steer their juries toward a guilty verdict on a capital charge. Fortunately, the former has no sentencing power, and the latter is stymied by an obstinate juror.
* HeightAngst: After he fails to identify a clue relating to a tall man's murder in ''Busman's Honeymoon'', a passage describes the 5'9" Lord Peter as opining: '"If I'd had more inches," said Peter, regretfully (for his height was a sensitive point with him) ...'
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: 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.
* HeroicBSOD: Peter was badly shell-shocked in UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne, 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.
* HighClassGlass: Peter has several but doesn't actually need any of them...[[GadgeteerGenius for his vision, anyway]]
* HonorBeforeReason: Lord Peter suffers from this in his early cases. In ''Whose Body?'', he feels compelled to visit the criminal shortly before they are arrested, and this warning very nearly allows them to escape justice.
** 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.
* [[HonoraryUncle Honorary Aunt]]: Viscount St George cajoles Harriet into being this. Later, of course, [[spoiler: she becomes a real aunt]].
* HollywoodAtheist: Averted; Peter was raised in the Church of England, and, though he's unsure of his own beliefs, he knows Christianity inside-out and bears it no ill will. He's friendly with a number of clergymen, consults them for moral advice, and politely attends church services and assists in ringing the bells.
* HookedUpAfterwards: ''Unpleasantness'' ends with Robert Fentiman taking Ann Dorland out to a show.
* HugeSchoolgirl: Hilary Thorpe
* IdentificationByDentalRecords: 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.
* IdleRich: Discussed with scathing contempt by Antoine in ''Have His Carcase''.
* IfWeSurviveThis: When they were serving together in the army, Lord Peter offered Bunter a job if they both survived.
* ImagineSpot: In ''Have His Carcase'' when Peter gently mocks Harriet for not being able to ride, she pictures him on a large, spirited horse. Her imagination then makes a "terrific effort" and places her by his side, riding an even larger, more spirited horse.
* InterClassRomance: Peter, the younger son of a duke, courts Harriet, the orphan of a country doctor. Mary, daughter of a duke, courts Parker, a middle-class police inspector.
* InterdisciplinarySleuth: Usually Peter is an AmateurSleuth, but occasionally his sleuthing intersects with his bibliophily, his classical education and/or his historical training.
* IOweYouMyLife: Harriet feels this way toward Peter after ''Strong Poison'', and resents him for the debt, for the continuing scandal she endures after the trial, and for [[PygmalionPlot restoring her to life and then pursuing her affections.]]
* IRememberBecause: One witness in ''Unnatural Death'' notes that she remembers Miss Dawson's maids' surname because it was such a silly name: "Gotobed". Averted in ''Whose Body?'' and ''Clouds of Witness'', where investigators and witnesses spend several pages painstakingly reconstructing memories with reference to physical records, and where IRememberBecause explanations are specifically referred to as inadmissible in court.
** [[spoiler: Subverted]] in ''Strong Poison''; the servants remember in detail everything Boyes could possibly have eaten or drank in their house because [[spoiler: the murderer is their master and he made ''sure'' they remembered, to create the impression he couldn't have been poisoned on their premises.]]
* IronicEcho: [[spoiler: 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.
%%* ItGetsEasier: For the villain in ''Unnatural Death''
* ItNeverGetsAnyEasier: Regularly sending people to the gallows eventually causes Peter to [[HeroicBSOD view himself as an evil person]], the cause for the HeWhoFightsMonsters and HollywoodAtheist tropes above.
* ItsForABook: A book or a bet is the usual excuse for Peter's and Miss Climpson's investigations. Inverted in ''Strong Poison''.
* TheJeeves: Bunter is famously efficient and deferential, and is explicitly compared to Jeeves.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Inspector Sugg spends ''Whose Body?'' bullying witnesses, arresting the wrong suspects, and trying to keep Lord Peter out of his investigation. He's next seen in ''Clouds of Witness'' helping Peter, Parker and Freddie Arbuthnot safely home after a drunken night out.
* KissingCousins: The duke and his wife, as Harriet points out when Peter worries about children.
* KnifeNut: [[spoiler:Cummings's]] gang
* KnightTemplar: At the climax of ''Strong Poison'', Lord Peter [[spoiler: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, [[spoiler: using a HannibalLecture to get the murderer to ''shoot himself'' at the end of ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.'']]
* KnowsAGuyWhoKnowsAGuy: In ''Strong Poison'', The Hon. Freddy saw a man who knows a fellow who has it from a chappie that the villain is in financial trouble. The man owed Freddy a favour, and can have the fellow put him in touch with the chappie in exchange for another favour -- for the chappie, that is, not for the fellow, or the man. Y'see?
* LampshadeHanging: Repeatedly. For the entire mystery genre
* LaserGuidedKarma: Lord Peter gets a blackmailer to return the stolen items by turning the tables.
* LastNameBasis: The SCR all refer to each other by [[TheyCallMeMisterTibbs title or honorific]], except for very close friends, who use last-name-based nicknames, like "Teddy" for Miss Edwards.
* LeaveBehindAPistol: ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club''
** Less literally in ''Murder Must Advertise'' [[spoiler: it's actually 'redeem yourself by walking straight into an obvious 'nasty accident' trap']]
* LikesOlderWomen: Reggie Pomfret in ''Gaudy Night'', an undergraduate of twenty or so, is taken with Harriet (who's in her early-to-mid-thirties).
* LineOfSightName: [[spoiler: Mr. Oliver]], from [[spoiler: a copy of ''Oliver Twist'']], in ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club''
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Not just the books, usually each ''chapter'' too
* LittleOldLadyInvestigates: Miss Climpson investigates solo in ''Unnatural Death'' and ''Strong Poison''.
* LongList: 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.
* LostInCharacter: In ''Murder Must Advertise'', Peter gets enough into the character of Death Bredon and the details of his [[ZanyScheme Whiffle campaign]] that an interruption from Scotland Yard with evidence related to his actual case is greeted with genuinely heartfelt cursing.
* LoveableRogue: Jock Graham in ''The Five Red Herrings''; Nobby Cranton in ''The Nine Tailors''.
* MagicalNegro: 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.
* MajoredInWesternHypocrisy: Invoked, and debunked, in ''Have His Carcase''.
* MaliciousSlander: The villain in ''Gaudy Night'' distributes slanderous letters to turn her victims against each other and themselves.
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: In ''Strong Poison'' -- who knows who is the father of the children born to an infamous actress?
* TheMasochismTango: Peter and Harriet spend five years going on emotionally fraught dates and insulting each other (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) before they've sorted themselves out enough to begin again and have a healthy relationship.
* MatterOfLifeAndDeath: Sir Julian's attempt to get into Parker's cab [[spoiler: and there murder him]] has him urging this.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: 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.
* MeaningfulName: 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'' TheVicar, ''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."
* MegaCorp: Pym's Publicity in ''Murder Must Advertise'', although it's obviously less extreme than others of the type.
** Several characters lost money in the collapse of the Megatherium Trust.
* MinorInjuryOverreaction: In ''Five Red Herrings'', the wealthy painter Gowan has his friends and servants arrange an elaborate alibi, and skips the country in the middle of the night, because [[spoiler:Campbell cut off his prized beard.]]
* MotiveRant: [[spoiler:Annie Wilson]] at the end of ''Gaudy Night'' berates the S.C.R. for [[spoiler: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 ([[spoiler: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.
* MoreHeroThanThou: In ''Nine Tailors'', two men try to shield each other from blame for murder, unaware that neither of them did it.
* MurderSuicide: Peter stops the murderer from committing suicide in ''Whose Body?'', and encourages it (more or less) in ''Murder Must Advertise''.
* MysteriousNote: Mysterious poison-pen letters (together with pranks and outright vandalism) are part of a plot against Shrewsbury College, Oxford in ''Gaudy Night''.
* MysteryWriterDetective: Harriet Vane is best known for her detective novels. She takes an active part in the investigations of ''Have His Carcase'' and ''Gaudy Night''.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast [[spoiler:: Sir Julian ''Freke'', William ''Bright'' (because LightIsNotGood).]]]]
* NecessarilyEvil: Peter hates himself '''''a lot'''''.
* NoodleIncident: The Attenbury Emeralds case. Also, an incident with a pig, during the war.
* NotAGame: Investigating murder. Parker points this out explicitly in ''Whose Body?''
* NotProven: ''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.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Peter and Climpson seem to use this as their entire ''modus operandi''.
* OfCorpseHesAlive: [[spoiler:Both ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'' and ''Five Red Herrings''.]]
* OldFlameFizzle: Harriet finds going to Gaudy Night to see an old friend doesn't work out well.
* OhCrap: Younger brother of an UpperClassTwit, Lord Peter goes out of his way to cultivate an UpperClassTwit 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.
%%* TheOjou: Hilary Thorpe
* OldFashionedRowboatDate: 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.
* OnceForYesTwiceForNo: Climpson stages a seance using this at the climax of ''Strong Poison''.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Peter is shot in the shoulder in ''Clouds of Witness'', and seems barely wounded at all -- he tells the shooter that if he'd hit him "in the head, or the heart, or anywhere that matters," they'd ''really'' be in trouble.
* OnOneCondition: In "The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will", the will specifies a puzzle that must be solved in order to locate the actual bequest.
* OopNorth: ''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.
* OpenSesame: The words OpenSesame must be spoken [[spoiler: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.
* ThePardon: The post-UsefulNotes/WorldWarI pardon of deserters is a plot point in ''Nine Tailors.''
* ParentalMarriageVeto: 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.
* PassedOverInheritance: In ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'', he's brought in determine who is it.
* PastimesProvePersonality: In ''Murder Must Advertise'', [[spoiler: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.
* PlanetOfSteves: Several quite unusual names - Gotobed, Pomfret, Jukes - reappear throughout the books, attached to presumably unrelated characters.
* UsefulNotes/ThePoppy: The absence of one becomes a plot point in ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club''.
* PromotionToParent: 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.
* PsychoLesbian: [[spoiler:Whitaker]]
* PunBasedTitle: 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"
* RatsInABox: 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. [[spoiler: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.]]
* RealityEnsues: In ''Have His Carcase'', Harriet is accustomed to writing scenes where people examine horribly mutilated corpses in the calmest manner. Then she discovers a dead man whose throat has been cut, and finds it a much more distressing experience than she'd imagined.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Contemporary critics thought the method of murder used in ''Unnatural Death'' was laughable. Not only is it plausible, it was used as a method of execution by the Nazi medical system, and was the M.O. of at least one real-world serial killer.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:Tallboy; Will Thoday]]
* RedOniBlueOni: Male members of the Wimsey family usually turn out this way, according to their chronicler. From [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Denver the other Wiki]]:
-->"Most Wimseys were like the 16th Duke, and his father: '[[BoisterousBruiser Bluff, courageous]], [[TheBigGuy physically powerful]]' [[IdiotHero but not very intelligent]]; of [[HotBlooded hearty and voracious appetites of all kinds]]. They could be '[[BloodKnight cruel, yet without malice or ingenuity]].' The other type is [[ShorterMeansSmarter physically slighter]], [[TheSmartGuy smarter]], with [[GenkiGuy great nervous energy]], and '[[NotSoDifferent lusts no less powerful]], [[GuileHero but more dangerously controlled to a long-sighted policy]].' These became churchmen, statesmen, traitors; but sometimes poets and saints.
* RefugeInAudacity: The murderer's plot in ''Whose Body?'', which is even less audacious than their original plan -- to [[spoiler:make it look like Sir Reuben disappeared into thin air, leaving behind a pile of empty clothes.]]
* ReleasingFromThePromise: Lord Peter to his first fiancee
* RememberThatYouTrustMe: Lord Peter to Ann Dorland in ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'', when the police come to question her just as he's finally getting her to share the facts that prove her innocence.
* RichBitch: Dian de Momerie; weirdly, also a HardDrinkingPartyGirl. Also, Helen, Peter's sister-in-law.
* RichBoredom: Harriet admits that Peter catches murderers for fun, but it's still good work.
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: Peter's standard pose. He does actually manage his property -- substantial real estate holdings -- but is far too well-bred to ever discuss them.
* RightfulKingReturns: Invoked in ''Have His Carcase''
* RightOnTheTick: At the end of ''Busman's Honeymoon.'' Lord Peter falls apart at 8am, because he knows that's when the murderer he caught is being hanged.
* RoyalBlood: Invoked in ''Have His Carcase''. Harriet wonders if the victim really did have imperial blood, which provides a EurekaMoment for Peter: [[spoiler:Did he have haemophilia, like the Russian royal family?]]
* RubeGoldbergHatesYourGuts: The solution to [[spoiler: ''Busman's Honeymoon''. The murderer weighted a metal flowerpot that hung above the radio, such that when the victim switched the radio on, the flowerpot would drop and kill him]].
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Discussed in ''Whose Body?'', when Peter considers ceasing investigating the railway baron Milligan because he made a generous donation to the Duke's Denver church. Parker reminds him that he has a duty to catch criminals even if they're rich, or charitable, or likeable.
* SecondLove: Harriet, for Lord Peter (his first love was Barbara, to whom he briefly alludes in ''Strong Poison'').
* SecretTestOfCharacter: As mentioned under SillyWill below, one of Lord Peter's cases involves figuring out why a fabulously rich and extremely eccentric uncle had left to his medical student nephew the uncle's digestive tract, and all contents thereof. [[spoiler: The explanation turns out to be that the uncle purchased and swallowed a fortune in gemstones just before jumping out a window. If the nephew could work this out, he would legally inherit all those gemstones, which would be more than enough money to last him a lifetime.]]
* SerialKiller: [[spoiler: Mary Whitaker]] is the BlackWidow variant, and relies on a low-profile, MakeItLookLikeAnAccident method.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Huge whacks of ''Busman's Honeymoon''
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Wimsey in his early thirties is bony and gawky, and regarded as so funny-looking that caricaturists tone him down a bit when drawing him. Wimsey in his late forties is considered very handsome. Maturity was evidently kind to him.
* ShellShockedVeteran: 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's own husband was a shell-shocked ex-soldier, so she knew whereof she wrote.
* ShoutOut: 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 RealLife 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 ShoutOut to Creator/GilbertAndSullivan, ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', or both.
** In ''Five Red Herrings'', there are mentions of several other detective novels. At least two of them are deliberate hints to the solution of the murder: "Sir John Magill's Last Journey" in which [[spoiler:the murderer impersonates his victim to conceal the true time of death]], and "The Two Tickets Puzzle", in which [[spoiler:a vital railway ticket is forged]].
* SillyWill: In "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach", a wealthy man leaves his stomach to his great-nephew, a medical student. When Lord Peter decides he wants to see the actual wording of the will, he poses as an author collecting examples of comic wills.
* SmartPeopleKnowLatin: And Peter and Harriet are smart enough that he proposes to her, and she accepts, in Latin.
** TruthInTelevision for educated English people of that generation. Also, the specific words he uses (''placetne, magistra?'') are a ShoutOut to the Oxford degree ceremony. [[note]]The standard form is ''placetne, magistre?'' asking the assembled graduates ("Masters") to consent to admit the graduand. Wimsey uses the female form ''magistra'' to Harriet, who is herself an Oxford graduate. This ties in nicely with the FamilyVersusCareer themes of the novel.[[/note]]
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: Averted -- while a few gifted players appear among the supporting characters, neither Peter nor Harriet can play very well.
* SpiritedYoungLady: Lady Mary Wimsey, country lady and socialist activist.
* SpousalPrivilege: Invoked in ''The Nine Tailors'' as the reason why the police can't allow the Thodays to marry.
* StrawFeminist: Miss Hillyard in ''Gaudy Night'', whose prejudice against [[RealWomenDontWearDresses "womanly" women, married women and mothers]], especially in the workplace, is implied to arise from [[YouNeedToGetLaid simple jealousy]] and is contrasted against the various more reasoned models of feminism displayed by the university staff and students.
* StrongerThanTheyLook: Lord Peter is a small, slight man, and gets thrown around when caught in a scrum, but has terrific strength in his arms and body, and can't be overpowered one-on-one.
* TheSummation: [[OnceAnEpisode Once per book]], but most epically in ''Gaudy Night''.
* SurpriseWitness: Lord Peter himself in ''Clouds of Witness'', when he appears in court having just completed a transatlantic flight.
* SweetTooth: Norman Urquhart has a serious one, [[spoiler:which leads to his downfall.]] Peter's lack of one saves his life at least once.
* TakingTheHeat: Lady Mary attemps this in ''Clouds of Witness''. It turns out the suspect she's protecting didn't do it - he's just too paranoid to come forward and exonerate himself.
* TakingTheVeil: An uncle did this, GenderFlip, in the BackStory of ''Unnatural Death'', being quite a scandal
* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Strong Poison]]'' [[spoiler: It was in the cracked egg.]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: In ''Clouds of Witnesses'' Peter delivers a richly deserved one to [[spoiler: Mary's fiancee, Goyles when, after spending half the book tracking him down it turns out that Goyles hadn't shot Cathcart at all, only stumbled across his body in the dark and ran off in a panic.]]
* ThisIsReality: Very common among the GenreSavvy protagonists.
* ThriftyScot: Peter makes a lot of ThriftyScot jokes. Of the many Scottish characters in the stories, only Great-Uncle Joseph from ''The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach'' seems noticeably thrifty.
* TimeDelayedDeath: ''Busman's Honeymoon'' as well as ''Have His Carcase'' -- though that has its own spin on this trope.
* {{Tomboy}}: It's hard to find a little girl in the books who ''isn't'' a tomboy of some sort -- usually a car/motorbike fanatic. ''Five Red Herrings'' has two!
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Sylvia Marriott and Eiluned Price, particularly in the 1987 Edward Petherbridge series.
* TheToothHurts: The reason Lord Peter visited his dentist in ''In the Teeth of the Evidence''? A tooth broke.
* TranquilFury: Peter's first letter to his nephew in ''Gaudy Night''
* TricksterMentor: Meleager Finch's posthumous plan to make his niece Hannah more frivolous, involving two wills and a crossword puzzle.
* TrueArtIsIncomprehensible: In-universe, Peter meets a number of bohemian thinkers who hold to this belief, expressing that, for instance, "Scenes which make emotional history should ideally be expressed in a series of animal squeals."
* UnableToSupportAWife:
** George in ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'' -- unusually, the condition arises after he marries.
** Why Denver was able to dismiss Goyles in ''Clouds of Witness''
** One Dawson family member lost his fiancee when his family lost its money, in ''Unnatural Death''
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Invoked in the invention of Peter's identical cousin, Death Bredon, in ''Murder Must Advertise'' and ''The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste''.
* UndercoverWhenAlone: In ''The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba''.
* UnusualChapterNumbers: Each book has a different system. Some have plain numbers; some are named for that chapter's chief character; some are thematic.
* UpperClassTwit: Peter's brother Gerald, the Duke of Denver; Gerald's wife Helen, the Duchess of Denver
* ViewersAreGeniuses: 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''...
* TheVicar: Several across the stories, reflecting Sayers's interest in theology. The Reverend Tredgold in ''Unnatural Death'' is High Church and conscientious, and offers Peter sensible moral counsel. The Reverend Boyes in ''Strong Poison'' is long-suffering, poor and notably tender-hearted. The Reverend Venables in ''The Nine Tailors'' is High Church (again), energetic, long-winded and obsessed with his pet subject of campanology. The Reverend Goodacre in ''Busman's Honeymoon'' is a classic bumbling Vicar, complete with an inept attempt at a sherry party. Mr Hancock in ''The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention'' is High Church (yet again!), over-earnest, and out of his depth in a conservative rural parish. All of these, especially the Rev. Venables, are based to a greater or lesser degree on Sayers' father.
* TheWatson: Parker, Bunter, Harriet or a local policeman typically serve as Peter's Watson, and various members of the SCR serve as Harriet's. These Watsons are generally very bright themselves, and serve as sounding-boards to more speculative theories or areas of highly-specialised exposition.
* WaxMuseumMorgue: In ''The Abominable History of the Man With the Copper Fingers''. The last statue the jealous sculptor made of his mistress... isn't quite a statue.
* WhamEpisode: The cricket match chapter in ''Murder Must Advertise'' ends with [[spoiler:Lord Peter getting arrested]]. Howzat?
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In ''The Five Red Herrings'', part of the evidence against Waters is the absence of his bicycle, and the police note that they don't know whether to arrest Waters, or make a search for a bicycle thief. [[spoiler: Waters is innocent, and the bicycle thief is never mentioned again.]]
* WineIsClassy: Lord Peter is a big time oenophile[[note]]"wine lover" for the Greek-impaired.[[/note]] and so this trope comes up often.
* WishfulProjection: Dr Penberthy in ''The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'' accuses a number of women around him of having an obsession with sex, until it becomes clear that he's got one himself.
* WithDueRespect: Bunter frequently addresses Lord Peter in this manner, with equal parts sincerity and criticism. Naturally, he's always right.
* UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne: Though he was a capable soldier, decorated for valour, Peter's wartime experiences basically left him shattered.
* ZanyScheme: ''Clouds of Witness'' has pretty nearly ''every character'' trying to pull one of these on the others
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