Interwar Britain was a “golden age” for the mystery story. Contemporary fiction, including many mysteries, often reflect the social conditions of its period of creation. Dorothy L. Sayers's mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, spanning 1923–1942, cast light on many social conventions and concerns from the period, including their evolution. Unlike many fictional detectives, Wimsey's character does evolve over time, and those changes were in part due to Sayers injecting situations that dealt with issues of class, gender, social justice, and how the character of Wimsey responded. This in turn reflects interwar concerns over these issues, and the interwar transformations of British society in terms of both class relations and the growing professionalization of the middle classes. The stereotypical upper-class amateur operating under Victorian concepts of noblesse oblige, Wimsey from the start of the series developed in more obvious social justice directions in order to adapt to changes in societal expectations while striving to maintain his social and financial advantages. The Wimsey stories provide a useful and readily available case study for these issues during the interwar period in Britain.

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