Introduction & Overview of Suspicion by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Suspicion Summary & Study Guide Description

Suspicion Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Suspicion by Dorothy L. Sayers.

In mystery fiction, Dorothy L. Sayers believed that the writer must play fair with the reader. The solution to the problem must be fathomable to the thoughtful reader. Sayers firmly adhered to this standard both in her novels and her short stories. The detective short story, however, presented challenges, most notably the brevity of the form, which required the writer to propose an interesting complication, an engaging detective, and a believable resolution in a very limited span of pages. Despite these restrictions, Sayers published forty-three short stories between 1925 and 1939.

Sayers cautioned that the detective story must put "all its eggs in one basket; it can turn one trick and one trick only; its detective-interest cannot involve a long investigation—it must be summed up in a single surprise." In her story "Suspicion," Sayers admirably achieves this goal. "Suspicion" was one of the stories in 1939's In the Teeth of the Evidence that featured neither of Sayers' stock detectives, Lord Peter Wimsey or Montague Egg. Instead, the main character is the hapless Mr. Mummery, who is convinced that the new cook is out to poison him and his wife. The story seems to be heading toward a solution so obvious that it becomes somewhat unbelievable. Sayers, however, has her "trick" lying in wait, one that turns the entire story around. Because Sayers has so compellingly drawn the reader into Mr. Mummery's web of confusion and suspicion, most readers will likely feel the effect of the dawning of the truth as keenly as Mr. Mummery does.

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This section contains 256 words
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Short Stories for Students
Suspicion from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.