Dorothy L. Sayers’ detective series featuring the elegant and charming Lord Peter Wimsey has captivated readers for nearly a century. The books follow Wimsey as he solves mysteries with his quick wit, vast knowledge, and impeccable manners.
For those new to the series or looking to revisit it, it can be hard to navigate through the works of this prolific author. Due to that, we’ve decided to put down the comprehensive guide to all of Dorothy L. Sayer’s Peter Wimsey books.
How many Peter Wimsey books written by Dorothy L. Sayers are there?
There are 12 books written by Dorothy L. Sayers featuring Peter Wimsey. The series started with the release of Whose Body back in 1932, and the last book in the series called, Thrones, Dominations, was released in 1998.
Thrones, Domination was finished by Jill Paton Walsh, who managed to complete the rough outline and six chapters that Dorothy L. Sayers started before her death in 1957.
The overall Peter Wimsey series was never completed, not by Dorothy, at least. The trustees of the Dorothy L. Sayers estate commissioned Jill Paton Walsh to finish the series. Walsh completed the series by adding four additional books to the series, so in a sense, the complete overview of the Peter Wimsey series features 15 books in total, most written by Dorothy L. Sayers herself and three additional books that were written by Walsh using notes and other sources in which Wimsey as a character appeared.
Dorothy L. Sayers’ Peter Wimsey books in order (at a glance)
Peter Wimsey, a British detective, and amateur sleuth, first appeared in the book Whose Body. Wimsey was depicted as a charming and sophisticated individual with love for poetry and a talent for solving complex crimes. As we’ve mentioned before, even though the series was started by Dorothy L. Sayers, she never managed to finish it. This task fell upon Jill Paton Walsh, who wrote three additional books that we’re also going to include in our Peter Wimsey reading order. The books are as follows:
- Whose Body? (1932)
- Clouds of Witness (1926)
- Unnatural Death (1927)
- The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)
- Strong Poison (1930)
- The Five Red Herrings (1931)
- Have His Carcase (1932)
- Murder Must Advertise (1933)
- The Nine Tailors (1934)
- Gaudy Night (1935)
- Busman’s Honeymoon (1937)
- Thrones, Dominations (1998)
- A Presumption of Death (2002) – written by Jill Paton Walsh
- The Attenbury Emeralds (2010) – written by Jill Paton Walsh
- The Late Scholar (2013) – written by Jill Paton Walsh
Are Peter Wimsey books connected? Do you need to watch them in a specific order?
Even though all Dorothy L. Sayers’ Peter Wimsey Books are connected through the same recurring character of Lord Peter Wimsey, it’s not necessary to read them in order. All cases covered in the books are standalone, and the only thing that is consistently referenced is the family history and some other character-specific details. Peter Wimsey books can easily be read out of order.
What is the best way to read Peter Wimsey books?
The best way to read Peter Wimsey books is in release date order. By reading in this approach, you’re going to make sure to enjoy the story as the author(s) intended. Since there is no set chronological timeline to follow, as each case is specific and unique, you can use our provided reading order below to enjoy the series.
Dorothy L. Sayers’ Peter Wimsey books in order – by release date
1. Whose Body? (1923)
Whose Body is the first book in the series that features Peter Wimsey. Wimsey is called upon to investigate the case of a naked man found dead in a bathtub and must solve the mystery of the man’s identity and determine the culprit behind his murder.
2. Clouds of Witness (1926)
The book follows the investigation of Peter Wimsey into the murder of his brother’s fiancé, with the main suspect being Lord Peter’s elder brother, the Duke of Denver. The case becomes more complicated as Lord Peter uncovers hidden family secrets, corrupt police officials, and witness tampering, leading to a dramatic conclusion.
3. Unnatural Death (1927)
The story revolves around the death of an elderly woman, who was believed to have died of natural causes, but as amateur detective Wimsey investigates further, he begins to uncover evidence of foul play.
4. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)
Peter starts investigating the death of a prominent member of the Bellona Club, an all-male military club in London.
5. Strong Poison (1930)
The book revolves around the character of Harriet Vane, a successful mystery novelist who is on trial for the murder of her former lover. Lord Peter Wimsey, who is in love with Harriet, sets out to clear her name by investigating the case and uncovering the real culprit.
6. The Five Red Herrings (1931)
Wimsey investigates the death of an artist in a Scottish village and the disappearance of the artist’s paintings. The case takes a complicated turn when Lord Peter realizes that the suspects are all painters themselves and were using the paintings as alibis for their whereabouts at the time of the murder.
7. Have His Carcase (1932)
Lord Peter Wimsey returns for the seventh installment of the series. He focuses on a mysterious case of a young woman whose Body was found on the beach near the town of Seaford.
8. Murder Must Advertise (1933)
The story revolves around the murder of a copywriter at an advertising agency, and an amateur detective is tasked with solving the case. He must navigate through a world of corporate competition, hidden motives, and personal scandals to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice.
9. The Nine Tailors (1934)
Set in the fictional English village of Fenchurch St. Paul. The story sees Wimsey, who is called to help solve a series of thefts and the murder of the local church bell ringer. As he investigates, he discovers a web of deceit, hidden identities, and a long-forgotten crime, leading to a climactic confrontation in the church’s belfry during a stormy New Year’s Eve.
10. Gaudy Night (1935)
The book investigates a series of mysterious pranks at a women’s college while also dealing with his own personal struggles. The story explores themes of feminism, academic politics, and romance, as well as the usual murder and intrigue that fans of the series have come to expect.
11. Busman’s Honeymoon (1937)
Lord Peter Wimsey is on a honeymoon with Harriet Vane. The couple’s plans for a peaceful honeymoon are disrupted when a murder occurs at their rented home, forcing the Lord and his Lady to put their detective skills to the test to solve the crime.
12. Thrones, Dominations (1998, finished by Jill Paton Walsh)
The spouse of a well-to-do individual has been discovered deceased, and it falls upon Lord Peter Wimsey and his partner, Harriet, to unravel the mystery.
13. A Presumption of Death (2002, written by Jill Paton Walsh)
Lady Peter Wimsey (formerly known as Harriet Vane) and her children retreat to the countryside to escape the dangers of war but find that rumors of espionage, questionable behavior by pilots and land girls, and a dangerous blackout make the rural area just as risky as London. A young woman’s death during a simulated air raid led to the discovery that it was murder, not enemy action, and with her husband, Lord Peter Wimsey, absent, Harriet sets out to find the murderer and the underlying reason behind the crime.
14. The Attenbury Emeralds (2010, written by Jill Paton Walsh)
Harriet and Peter are investigating the theft of a valuable emerald necklace that belongs to a family friend. As they delve deeper into the case, they encounter dangerous characters and unearth long-hidden secrets that threaten to unravel the family’s reputation.
15. The Late Scholar (2013, written by Jill Paton Walsh)
Lord Peter Wimsey and his wife, Harriet, investigate a disappearance at an Oxford college. The couple must navigate the academic world, old grudges, and secrets to uncover the truth behind the disappearance and solve the case.
Where to read Peter Wimsey books?
You can find all books in the mystery series on Amazon. The books are available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book formats.
Will there be more Peter Wimsey books?
The original author of the series Dorothy L. Sayers died back in 1957, and she never managed to finish the series on her own. The book was picked up by a huge fan of Dorothy’s books and a long-time novelist herself, Jill Paton Walsh. With everything taken into account, there likely won’t be any more books in the Peter Wimsey series, except if, by some chance, Dorothy’s estate hires yet another novelist the expand the universe and prolongs the series a bit more.