What's the secret writing code used by Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey?
September 18, 2015 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading, in one of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories, of a simple but clever secret writing code he devised. Might anyone either know which novel in which the code was described, the code itself, or some place where it's listed? I've googled it, to no avail. Short of tracking down and poring through each of the novels, I thought I'd ask here. Thank you.
posted by holdenjordahl to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: There's a description of a code in chapter 26 of Have His Carcase -- could that be it?
posted by Jeanne at 6:40 PM on September 18, 2015


Best answer: Can you give any more details? I know these novels quite well, and it's not ringing any bells. The closest I can think of is in Have His Carcase where he and Harriet Vane, in somewhat tedious detail, decode something that IIRC is written (by someone else) in the playfair cipher. Is it possible it's in a short story, or conceivably in one of the modern continuation novels (by Jill Patton Walsh)?
posted by advil at 6:41 PM on September 18, 2015


Best answer: There is a pretty detailed deconstruction of a Playfair cipher in Have His Carcase.
posted by Kpele at 6:44 PM on September 18, 2015


Best answer: And now that I'm thinking about it, Peter also solves a fairly intricate crossword puzzle in one of the short stories (Lord Peter Investigates is the name of the collection I think). There are not, as far as I recall, any puzzle-y things in the Jill Patton Walsh books.
posted by Kpele at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2015


Best answer: And now that I'm thinking about it, Peter also solves a fairly intricate crossword puzzle in one of the short stories (Lord Peter Investigates is the name of the collection I think). There are not, as far as I recall, any puzzle-y things in the Jill Patton Walsh books.

Right, in "The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will" (link legal only in Canada). Also, apparently in A Presumption of Death he does create a code which Harriet has to decode, I haven't read it so I couldn't say how prominent it is in the text.
posted by advil at 7:01 PM on September 18, 2015


Response by poster: Excellent work - thanks!
I just checked and I believe it is the Playfair Cipher.
Now I have to track down A Presumption of Death. I'm wondering what other code that could be.
Thanks again!
posted by holdenjordahl at 7:11 PM on September 18, 2015


Just for completeness, I'll add that in The Three Tailors, Whimsey breaks a code based on bell change ringing.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:18 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


In A Presumption of Death, the code is a skip cipher, based on the poem he and Harriet write together (well, sort of) in Gaudy Night. Just for completion's sake :)
posted by kalimac at 2:36 PM on September 19, 2015


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