There are only two things getting me through this tragic and sad time before season three of Downton Abbey starts:

1. My super-secret stash of organic dark chocolate (and of course I mean everybody in my family knows where I “hide” it because I frequently stand in front of the cabinet like a dog waiting to be let outside) AND

2. The Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.

Last fall, I read a book about what books to read (oh yes I did, and it was good) and the author recommended Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. You may recall how much I liked it. And even better, it’s part of a huge series of books about Lord Peter Wimsey’s illuminating dry wit. Here’s what you need to know in a fair and balanced approach.

Will fill your Downton Abbey needs because:
// The series is set in roughly the same time period as the end of season two and (I assume) season three.
// The Dowager Countess might be the same person as Lord Peter’s mother. One-liners abound.
// Lord Peter is rich and has a valet, so you’ll still get references to Ridiculous Things Really Rich People Do as well as a good dose of High Standards the Valet Has for Anything Regarding His Rich Charge.
// Even though the books are genre fiction, they’re smart genre fiction. Sort of like how Downton is really just a soap opera, but it’s a British soap opera. Just go with it.

Will totally leave you hanging because:
// There is not enough description of beautiful dresses and even if there were, you wouldn’t be able to see all the beaded glory.
// Lord Peter doesn’t have a romantic interest. I mean, he sort of does, but not in the breathtaking way the Crawley sisters do.
// No theme music.

Even if you’re not a Downton fan (Brad!), I still recommend these books. The first in the series is Whose Body? and I’ll just tell you now–it’s not Kemal Pamuk’s.

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