leave the jiggery-pokery at the door

“In 1927 Dorothy joined the Society of Authors and brought many grievances to their notice. She complained bitterly about James Agate’s ‘unfairness’—a mild word in the circumstances—to members of the Detection Club. If the great man did not happen to like the book he had under review he gave away the plots, and as he disliked anything and everything about women (always excepting Sarah Bernhardt) he gave away their plots on principle. Dorothy had written to Agate, and to the literary editors of his papers, but had only received “rude replies”. There was another blight in this field, “a frightful female on The Spectator who slaughtered mysteries wholesale, but she was driven out by a subscriber of my acquaintance, who knew the editor” . Dorothy was a leading figure in the Detection Club, which operated from 31 Gerrard Street. Its members were at pains to point out that they had no connections whatever with the Crime Club, but the perverse public continued, and still do, to see no difference between books about crime, and those about detection. Dorothy enlivened things considerably by introducing all sorts of nonsense with candles and skulls into the enrolling ceremony, and composed an oath for the initiates to swear:

President: Do you promise that your Detectives shall well and truly detect the Crimes presented to them using those Wits which it shall please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance upon, nor making use of, Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence or the Act of God?

Candidate: I do.”


(from: Such a Strange Lady, a Biography of Dorothy L. Sayers, by Janet Hitchman)

2 thoughts on “leave the jiggery-pokery at the door

  1. A friend introduced me to Lord Peter Wimsey many years ago. He certainly wasn’t one to put up with any jiggery-pokery or some such piffle, eh wot. I’m not a big detective novel fan,although I think Sayers was top-notch. Said friend also turned me onto Edmund Crispin whose detective was an English don named Fen.

    1. I don’t much care whodunnit either, but I love the way Sayers depicts the marbles-in-mouth wot-wot crowd! (Don’t know Edmund Crispin — will look him up; a don named Fen sounds promising.)

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