Lord Peter Wimsey Books in Order, the Complete Guide to Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gentleman Detective

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Meet Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey DSO, a British gentleman detective from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Reading Lord Peter Wimsey Series in Order

Lord Peter Wimsey is a creation of Dorothy L. Sayers (with writer Jill Paton Walsh for the continuation of the series). The character is introduced in the novel Whose Body? in 1923 and features in 11 novels and several short stories.

Lord Peter Wimsey Novels written by Dorothy L. Sayers

Whose Body? (1923)
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)

Let’s point out that Dorothy L. Sayers had started working on a new Lord Peter Wimsey but abandoned it, leaving behind her fragments and notes. The book was completed by Jill Paton Walsh and published in 1998:

– Thrones, Dominations (1998)

Lord Peter Wimsey Short Stories written by Dorothy L. Sayers

All the short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey are collected in the anthology Lord Peter, released in 1972 (or in Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories). They were all published in other collections before. Following is a listing to help you know which stories you can find in the different Short story collections:

Collected in Lord Peter Views the Body (1928):

“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”

Collected in Hangman’s Holiday (1933):

“The Image in the Mirror”
“The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey”
“The Queen’s Square”
“The Necklace of Pearls”

Collected in In the Teeth of the Evidence (1939)

“In the Teeth of the Evidence”
“Absolutely Elsewhere”

Collected in Striding Folly (1972)

“Striding Folly”
“The Haunted Policeman”
“Talboys”

Your Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Reading Order by Dorothy L. Sayers in chronological order

All the credit for this chronological order goes to Michael Rawdon, who built a chronology while reading the stories.

– “The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps that Ran”
Whose Body?
Clouds of Witness
– “The Abominable History of the Man with the 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 Learned Adventure of the Dragon’s Head”
– “The Unprincipled Affair of the Practical Joker”
Unnatural Death
– “The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste”
– “The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach”
– “The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face”
– The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
– “The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention”
– “The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba”
Strong Poison
– “The Image in the Mirror”
– “The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey”
The Five Red Herrings
– “The Queen’s Square”
Have His Carcase
– “The Necklace of Pearls”
Murder Must Advertise
– “In The Teeth of the Evidence”
The Nine Tailors
– “Striding Folly”
Gaudy Night
Busman’s Honeymoon
Thrones, Dominations (unfinished; completed by Jill Paton Walsh)
– “The Haunted Policeman”
– “Talboys”

Lord Wimsey Books written by Jill Paton Walsh

Dorothy Sayers didn’t finish Thrones, Dominations. The book was completed years later by Jill Paton Walson before she begun to released new mysteries featuring Lord Peter, released between 2002 and 2013:

A Presumption of Death (2002)
The Attenbury Emeralds (2010)
The Late Scholar (2013)

More About Lord Peter

Who is Lord Peter Wimsey? The Origins of a Gentleman Detective

Sayers wrote about the creation of her gentleman detective in an article entitled “How I Came to Invent the Character of Lord Peter Wimsey”, published in Harcourt Brace News, July 15th 1936, “I do not as a matter of fact remember inventing Lord Peter Wimsey. He walked in complete with spats and applied in an airy don’t-care-if-I-don’t-get-it way for the job of hero.”

When we, readers, encounter Lord Peter for the first time, he is a rich, well-educated 32-year-old with a lot of free time on his hands. As the second son of a Duke, it’s his older brother Gerald who is in charge of the family estate, leaving Lord Peter with the possibility of having a dilettante lifestyle.

As Sayers explained: “Lord Peter’s large income… I deliberately gave him… After all it cost me nothing and at the time I was particularly hard up and it gave me pleasure to spend his fortune for him. When I was dissatisfied with my single unfurnished room I took a luxurious flat for him in Piccadilly. When my cheap rug got a hole in it, I ordered him an Aubusson carpet. When I had no money to pay my bus fare I presented him with a Daimler double-six, upholstered in a style of sober magnificence, and when I felt dull I let him drive it. I can heartily recommend this inexpensive way of furnishing to all who are discontented with their incomes. It relieves the mind and does no harm to anybody.”

Lord Peter is one of the prominent gentlemen detectives alongside Hercule Poirot, Albert Campion, and Roderick Alleyn. He employs his deductive reasoning skills to solve complex mysteries. In his work, he is often assisted by his loyal valet and close friend, Bunter, as well as his trusted friend, police detective Charles Parker; and, in a few books, by Harriet Vane.

About Dorothy L. Sayers

Born on June 13, 1893, in Oxford, England, Dorothy L. Sayers was a prominent figure in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. She pursued her education at Somerville College, Oxford, where she focused on modern languages and successfully graduated in 1915. During World War I, she worked in a shell factory, an experience that later influenced her writing.

Sayers began writing detective fiction in the 1920s, with her first novel, Whose Body? published in 1923, introducing readers to her famous detective character, Lord Peter Wimsey. Beyond her detective novels, Sayers made significant contributions by translating Dante’s epic Divine Comedy and crafting insightful essays on religious topics.

Dorothy L. Sayers passed away of a heart attack on December 17, 1957.

Lord Peter and The Case of the Adaptations

Since 1935, there have been several adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers’s novels. The gentleman detective has been played by many actors, including:

  • Comic actor Peter Haddon played Lord Peter Wimsey in the 1935 British film The Silent Passenger, an adaptation Sayers disliked.
  • Ian Carmichael is perhaps the most iconic actor to have portrayed Lord Peter Wimsey in several television adaptations during the 1970s and reprised his television role as Lord Peter in ten radio adaptations for BBC Radio 4.
  • Edward Petherbridge took on the role of Lord Peter Wimsey for BBC Television, including Clouds of Witness (1987), The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1987), and Strong Poison (1987).
  • Simon Russell Beale portrayed Wimsey in a radio adaptation of Strong Poison (1999).