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This is Dorothy L. Sayers, a renowned crime novelist, translator, feminist and all around badass and June 13th is her birthday!  She is most famous for her novels involving the sleuth Lord Peter Whimsey, and is renowned for her translation of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” But who was she really? Let’s investigate. Prepare your monocles. 
 
Dorothy Sayers started out in life as a student of medieval and modern languages. She received a scholarship to attend Somerville College, Oxford, and was one of the first women in Britain to receive an actual degree (several years after her graduation). After working for a publishing company and teaching in France, Sayers began work as a copywriter at S.H. Benson Advertising in London. During her ten year’s at the agency, Sayers was responsible for several ads that are still used or varied upon today, including the Guinness “Zoo” campaign.  
 
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Lord Peter Whimsey, making you wish you could be as cool as he is right there
It was around the beginning of her advertising career in 1921 that Sayers also began her first crime novel, “Whose Body?” It is here that we meet Lord Peter Whimsey, the quintessential distinguished British gentlemen. He is good looking, wildly intelligent, athletically skilled, and just for kicks solves crimes. Throughout his eleven novels, Lord Peter acts as a combination of exquisite English taste and rambunctious scoundrel. Sayers made of point of evolving Lord Peter as a real person, aging in real time along with herself, and gave him real life issues to deal with amongst his investigations. This comes to a peak when he meets the criminal novelist Harriet Vane, who brings an end to Lord Peter Whimsey in the throes of matrimony. 
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Lord Peter's car, Mrs. Merdle. Fighting crime has never been done so stylishly.
Sayers not only explored the world of crime with Lord Peter, but also delved into intriguing and often relevant issues of the day in her novels. Her book “Murder Must Advertise” explores ethics in advertising; the struggles of World War One veterans in “Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club”; and cryptanalysis and ciphers are explored in “Have His Carcase.”  A more controversial subject was broached in the novel “Gaudy Night”, in which Sayers (and Lord Peter) advocate for women’s education, as well as rebuking the rising Nazi Doctrine of "Kinder, Kirch, Küche” (the restriction of women to just household functions). This novel is often described as the first “feminist crime novel.” 
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So why should we care about some random British lady's birthday? Dorothy Sayers was a multifaceted writer and activist.  She was a successful writer of popular crime novels. She was a noted copywriter, a well respected translator whose work is still in print today, and a voice for women’s rights.  In an age when women’s rights were ignored all over the world, Sayers wrote essays in support of women’s education and civil liberties. She didn’t stand by and wait for someone else to speak up, she was right there on the front lines. This is someone I both respect and admire. For this, a most happy birthday to Dorothy L. Sayers. 
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