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Appeared in Spring & Summer 2005, Vol. XXX, Nos. 1 & 2

 

Introduction

Criticism of detective fiction in the past has tended to assume that the classic detective novel is, above all, a work of entertainment with little or no serious message for its readers. Even those who like it or who write it have been known to describe it as a “blatant example of throwaway literature,” (1) or state that “it does not, and by hypothesis never can, attain the loftiest levels of literary achievement.” (2) W.H. Auden, whose essay, “The Guilty Vicarage,” (3) was probably the first attempt to analyze the genre from a specifically Christian point of view, was slightly ashamed of his addiction to detective fiction, an attitude shared by, among others, T.S. Eliot. More recently, however, there have been signs of a different perspective. Stanley Hauerwas claims that through reading detective fiction “we are made better,” (4) while Patrick Wright considers that it “claims the high ground increasingly spurned by modern literary scholarship, dealing with the great absolutes—death, retribution, punishment.” (5)

Although it would be unrealistic to claim that every detective novel ever written contains hidden depths of theological significance, it is possible to maintain that detective fiction can and does treat important themes in Christian theology. (6) This study will examine in detail just one of these themes, the question of Christian conversion. To what extent has this theme been successfully treated by writers of detective fiction? Have they managed to combine a well-plotted mystery and a profound exploration of their theme?

In general, British detective fiction does not allow us to forget God. It abounds with priests, vicars, monks and nuns. Its landscape contains churches, abbeys and vicarages. Many of its most famous authors also wrote religious books. (7) A constant stream of evil, sin and guilt flows from its pages, leading as often as not to some form of confession. In such a spiritual environment it is surprising how rarely we meet the theme of religious conversion. Although many criminals regret their crimes, few are prepared to admit that they are “miserable offenders” (8) or to turn to God. However, before looking at the few examples of the phenomenon which do exist in British detective fiction, we shall clarify briefly just what we mean by conversion.

Conversion is one of the foundations of western Christian society, being rooted as it is both in the Greek philosophical and the Judeo-Christian traditions. It is found wherever there is the idea of a Fall from perfection, since a gap between what is and what should be implies the possibility of a return to the ideal state or right path. For Christians, the idea of conversion involves the call to turn back to God and is illustrated first by the preaching of the Old Testament prophets and then, supremely, by the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus himself.

In Scripture, two Greek words are used to convey this concept: the verbs metanoien and epistrepho. Epistrepho is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word sùb, meaning to return or turn back. It conveys a positive physical act of turning round or reorienting one’s life towards God. Metanoien, on the other hand, can best be defined as a change of mind and “describes a radical change in the individual’s disposition.” (9) Often translated as “repentance” in English versions of the Bible, it involves not only an acknowledgement of the sins and errors of the past and a decision to leave the old way of thinking, but also an act of the will to take on a new, and in this case Christian, mindset and lifestyle. Conversion is therefore a leaving behind, an admission that a wrong turning has been taken somewhere along the line. With this in mind, we must take care not to confuse vocation—changing direction as a result of hearing God’s call—with conversion. For example, Brother Cadfael starts a new life as a monk in Ellis Peters’ “A Light on the Road to Woodstock.” (10) However, this is not really a conversion, as he has no particular sin or error from his past life to leave behind. God merely shows him that it is time for a change. In the same way, while Sister Magdalen, formerly mistress to a rich baron, allows her sisters in the convent to think of her as a convert, she clearly tells Brother Cadfael that she took the veil for rather less spiritual reasons. (11)

Occasionally a detective novel will mention in passing a conversion that has already taken place before the book begins, such as Blindfold Bill’s transformation from burglar to Salvation Army officer in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison. However, only three serious attempts to explore the theme of conversion in any depth spring to mind in the great British writers of detective fiction, and even one of these may not be immediately apparent. The three are: the conversion of Flambeau in G.K. Chesterton’s The Innocence of Father Brown; the conversion of Paul Berowne in P.D. James’ A Taste for Death; and, more discreetly, the conversion of John Munting in Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Documents in the Case. The religious theme of these works does not appear to have adversely affected their popularity as detective fiction with the general public.

These examples are all the more interesting as they approach the question of conversion from three quite different angles. Flambeau is a converted criminal, Berowne is the murder victim and Munting is a friend of the murderer’s who discovers how the crime was committed. Chesterton is interested in the spiritual side of conversion, or how God brings the sinner back to himself. P.D. James, on the other hand, observes how the conversion of one man affects all those around him, or how the world reacts to his changed life. Sayers, from yet another point of view, looks at the intellectual and moral aspects of conversion, or why faith and science are not incompatible. By examining their respective spiritual pilgrimages, the reader gains insight into the ways different people react to the revelation of God in their own lives or the lives of others.

 

G.K. Chesterton’s Flambeau

Chesterton’s Flambeau is a Frenchman who was born a Catholic and believes in God. When we first meet him in “The Blue Cross,” however, he has taken a wrong turn and is living in both sin and error. He is the most notorious criminal in Europe, known for his talent for “ingenious and wholesale robbery.” (12) In addition to his life of crime, Flambeau has been misled by theological error: he questions the reliability of reason. Looking to the skies, Flambeau evokes “wonderful universes above us where reason is utterly unreasonable” (13) and “other worlds [which] may perhaps rise higher than our reason.” (14) Chesterton implies that this false worldview may have led Flambeau to doubt the absolute moral law and the need to obey the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”

This is the situation when, according to Father Brown, God decides to intervene in Flambeau’s life and bring him back to the right path with “an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.” (15) Father Brown himself is God’s instrument along Flambeau’s road to conversion, a “fisher of men.” (16) He is called, as Chesterton said in his article “The Divine Detective,” “to pursue and discover crimes, not in order to avenge, but in order to forgive them.” (17) He represents the Church, that “unrelenting sleuthhound who seeks to save and not to slay.” (18)

We follow Flambeau along the road to conversion in three short stories: “The Blue Cross,” “The Queer Feet” and “The Flying Stars.” In the first story, Flambeau is dressed as a priest in order to steal a silver cross which Father Brown had brought to London. The real priest suspects him at once and manages not only to prevent the theft, but also to surprise Flambeau by exposing both his criminal methods and the logical flaws in his worldview. It is Father Brown’s ability to detect Flambeau’s crime which persuades the famous robber to listen to what he has to say about his ideology.

When the two men meet again in “The Queer Feet,” they have not forgotten each other. Flambeau is attempting to steal a valuable set of silver cutlery from an exclusive dining club. Having managed to pick up the knives and forks from the diners’ dirty plates, Flambeau makes for the exit via the cloakroom. There he meets Father Brown, who has already worked out what was going on from listening to the footsteps overhead, and greets him with the words: “I think, sir . . . that you have some silver in your pocket.” (19) Surprised, Flambeau attempts to assault the priest, who retaliates by threatening him “with the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched,” (20) a biblical description of hell. (21) Father Brown then reveals his own identity, calls the robber by name and asks him to confess.

The reader learns later that Flambeau did confess his crime, that he repented, restored the silverware and, perhaps most importantly, told Father Brown about his spiritual difficulties. (22) Again, it is the priest’s successful detection of Flambeau’s crime which makes the criminal ready to hear his spiritual message and, this time, to confide in him.

The final incident in Flambeau’s criminal career occurs, appropriately enough, at Christmas, the season of new birth and good will to all men. Flambeau is seeking to steal three African diamonds. For this reason, he is impersonating the uncle of the girl who is to receive the diamonds as a Christmas present. Once the theft has been successfully accomplished, Flambeau is just preparing to disappear with his booty when Father Brown calls out to him and brings him to that final repentance which will lead him to abandon his life of crime forever. The priest achieves this by confronting Flambeau with his image of himself, that of a romantic Robin Hood figure, “a merry robber of the rich.” (23) The blunt revelation made by the priest, that Flambeau’s flight would lead to an innocent young man being separated from the woman he loves and living his whole life under suspicion, makes it impossible for Flambeau to run and maintain a good opinion of himself. The consequences of his crime show it in its true light, as a rather sordid and uncharitable action. The next time we see Flambeau, he has become a private detective. (24)

Throughout the three stories, Father Brown enables Flambeau to be drawn back to God and to virtue by confronting him with the truth: the truth about his crimes, the truth about his theology and, finally, the truth about himself. By the end of “The Flying Stars” he is ready to start a new life as a detective, a seeker after truth who is able to reveal sin and crime to others. Chesterton’s step-by-step presentation of Flambeau’s return to faith and virtue allows the reader to understand the psychology of conversion and also the role of the Church in bringing the sinner to repentance. Father Brown, the priest/detective, acts as a mirror in which the famous criminal can see the reflection of his own soul until his half-dead conscience comes back to life again.

 

P.D. James’ Berowne

P.D. James presents her convert and his experience in an entirely different way. The novel starts with the discovery of Paul Berowne’s murdered body in a church vestry. The reader learns that, about a week before his death, Berowne had had an experience of God in that same vestry which had completely changed the course of his life. He had resigned his post as a government minister, arranged to abandon politics, put his big, expensive house on the market, broken off his relationship with his mistress and was planning to leave his wife. It seems to everyone concerned that the conversion and the murder are connected. As Berowne’s mother says: “Whatever happened to my son in that church . . . in the end he died because of it.” (25) Throughout the novel, James examines not only the nature of Berowne’s conversion, but also its effect on those who knew him and even on the police investigating the murder.

Most people seem to accept that Berowne’s experience was genuine. Inspector Massingham discusses the question with Kate Miskin:

“Do you believe that something really happened to Berowne in that vestry?”

“It must have, mustn’t it? A man doesn’t chuck his job and change the direction of his whole life for nothing.” (26)

However, the vast majority of those concerned seem somewhat hostile. When the parish priest tells Dalgleish that he thought he had seen stigmata on Berowne’s wrists, the detective is irritated at the intrusion of an illogical element into the case until he notices that, far from being pleased or excited, “Father Barnes didn’t want to believe in it either.” (27)

For Berowne’s wife the experience was disturbing and threatening. For his mistress it was a betrayal. Dalgleish noticed that “it was the religious experience not the murder she needed most to talk about,” (28) as she had already lost him forever at that moment. Berowne’s constituency chairman felt let down by his MP’s defection and reacted with anger. He claimed that “[a]fter that experience in the church no one was going to take him seriously any more.” (29) Even the MI5 officer supposed to collaborate with Dalgleish on the case assumes that Berowne was “hardly normal” (30) and that he had been “listening to voices when he should have been listening to the Prime Minister.”

The most verbose negative reaction comes from Berowne’s wife’s cousin and lover, Stephen Lampart. He professes atheism, telling Dalgleish: “I’m not a religious man. I was born with my share of neuroses, but not that one.” (31) Lampart is sarcastic. He talks about Berowne “asking his God for further and better instructions,” (32) thinking he had a right to “unattainable intangibles” (33) like eternal life, and using God as a better excuse than “a nervous breakdown, alcoholism or cancer” for “chucking it all.” (34) However, the reader knows that Berowne had already withdrawn money from Lampart’s gynecological clinic when he had discovered that Lampart would abort a foetus when his patient wanted a child of the other sex—an act which is illegal in Britain quite apart from any moral considerations. The possibility that “the changed Berowne, his career thrown away, would see it as his moral duty to expose and ruin Lampart” (35) could not but influence the doctor’s reactions.

The only positive reactions to Berowne’s conversion come from his estranged daughter, Sarah, and General Nollinge, an influential conservative in his constituency. The general is the only person who seems to have understood or sympathized with Berowne after his conversion. He describes him to Dalgleish: “He looked to me like a man released from pain, physical pain. Pale, drawn, but very peaceful. You can’t mistake the look.” (36)

Sarah, on the other hand, is negative at first and resents both the publicity and the fact that her father had been “granted his own personal beatific vision.” (37) The feeling of abandonment is made worse by the fact that she had quarreled with her father and rejected his compassionate conservatism for communism. After Berowne’s death, though, Sarah’s attitude gradually changes. She sees the selfishness and ruthlessness of her unpleasant, militant communist lover and remembers the good times in her childhood. At the end of the novel Sarah is reconciled with her father’s memory: “Daddy, there’s something I’ve learned about him, something I didn’t realise before he died. He tried to be good.” (38)

This analysis of Berowne’s character is one that P.D. James wants her reader to share, as it fits in with the other explanations given for his unexpected conversion. Berowne is presented as a man dissatisfied with his life and racked with guilt. Stephen Lampart and Carole, Berowne’s mistress, had both felt this dissatisfaction. In Lampart’s view, “I think he looked at his life, what he’s achieved, what he could hope for, and didn’t much care for it. He’d tried law and politics and neither satisfied him. He had a wife he lusted after, but didn’t love . . .” (39) Carole’s opinion is similar: “What happened to him in that church, whatever it was, I don’t think it would have happened if he’d been satisfied with his life, if our love had been enough for him.” (40)

Berowne’s experience is in fact a typical one, shared by many famous converts, including St. Augustine. Augustine famously speaks of man’s heart which is made for God and which is restless until it finds Him. (41) It is also possible to see here an example of Pascal’s divertissement: law, politics and sex are distractions which keep Man from thinking about ultimate values, but which never really satisfy. Nearer our time, C.S. Lewis tells how his dissatisfaction with the many and varied earthly pleasures he tried in his search for ‘joy’ was only finally assuaged after his conversion. (42)

Halliwell, the Berownes’ chauffeur and handyman, is the first to speak about his employer’s feelings of guilt, saying: “If you can’t cope with guilt, best avoid doing things that make you feel guilty. . . . [H]e killed his first wife, didn’t he?” (43) This statement is highly ambiguous. Berowne had been driving when his wife was killed in a car accident, but there was no question of murder. Nevertheless, it is understandable that Berowne felt guilty, particularly as he had already fallen in love with his second wife. He also realized that he owed his title, his wife, his house and a lot of his money to the death of his elder brother on active service in Northern Ireland. A somewhat embittered speech made in parliament shortly before his conversion also suggests that he may have felt guilty on account of the utopian promises made by the government, his party or even individual politicians, which they were completely incapable of fulfilling.

Here again Berowne is a typical convert. John Bunyan, G.K. Chesterton and many other Christians before and since have claimed that their conversion permitted them to offload their burden of guilt. P.D. James, however, although herself a practicing Christian, allows a doubt to persist about the validity of this experience. While describing Kate Miskin, one of her most positively portrayed characters, she says that “[u]nlike Berowne, she would learn to accept and carry her personal load of guilt.” (44) In traditional theology, such an attitude is to be deplored and could even be seen as excluding Miskin from salvation. James almost undoubtedly does not mean it this way.

A Taste for Death thus gives us a fascinating account of a traditional conversion in our contemporary world. Berowne’s experience, which would have been familiar to saints and even to ordinary believers throughout most of the Christian era, is shown to be quite foreign and completely inexplicable in the late twentieth century. It shocks and disturbs all those involved, leads to murder, but also brings an errant daughter back to her senses and her family. As in New Testament times, God’s breaking into history brings “not peace but a sword,” (45) though it can, at the same time, turn “the heart of the children to their fathers.” (46)

 

Dorothy Sayers’ Munting

Our final example of conversion in British detective fiction is less immediately apparent, since Dorothy L. Sayers does not show us John Munting’s final step into the Christian faith. However, we can have no doubt that she was aware of the spiritual content of her novel, as she wrote to her collaborator, Dr. Eustace Barton, that the “religious-scientific aspect of the thing will require careful handling” (47) and that “we will introduce the theological discussions at an earlier point, and work them into the story.” (48) Various critics have also noticed this, including Leroy Lad Panek who refers to The Documents in the Case as “a microcosm containing a number of important intellectual issues of the twenties.” (49)

The novel, in fact, traces the way in which various objections to the Christian faith, mainly scientific or cultural, are gradually overcome in the mind of John Munting. At the beginning of the novel, Munting is a typical young intellectual of his time. As he studies the Victorian world view as background for one of his books, he finds it hard to “bring one’s mind into sympathy with that curious blend of materialism and trust in a personally interfering Providence,” (50) and perceives himself as “a mess of oddly assorted chemicals, or a kind of hypertrophied fish-egg, or an enormous, all-inclusive cosmos of solar-systematically revolving atoms.” (51)

Munting’s attitude, however, changes as the book progresses for two specific reasons. First of all, he is, probably for the first time in his life, confronted with real sin and evil in the selfish and adulterous relationship between his friend Lathom and Mrs. Margaret Harrison, their landlord’s wife. Munting considers himself tolerant, modern and open-minded. He expects to be able to treat the affair in “the right, modern, cynical way.” (52) But he finds he cannot. His moral instincts are too much for him, and he verbally attacks Lathom about his affair, admitting: “I called it vulgar. I called it wicked and selfish. I used expressions which I thought had perished from the vocabulary since the eighties.” (53)

Combined with this discovery of the existence of a natural law, what C.S. Lewis called the Tao, (54) within his own conscience, Munting meets some intelligent Christians. The first of these is the reverend Jim Perry, whom Munting initially describes unflatteringly as “an earnest and cultivated middle-aged spike from Keble.” (55) As the plot unfolds, Munting modifies this opinion. He admits somewhat cautiously, “My parson turns out to be rather an enlightened parson.” (56) He is impressed by Perry’s degree in mathematics and by his knowledge of fashionable contemporary thinkers like Eddington and Jeans. (58) He concludes that “Perry, though a parson, is no fool.” (59)

Scattered references throughout the novel show that Munting stays in contact with Perry and discusses questions of science and faith with him. The climax of the science/faith debate occurs towards the end of the novel when Perry invites Munting to a dinner to meet some of his old college friends, who, with one exception, are very intelligent Christians. Waters, in particular, is a well-known scientist and a believer in the style of Jeans. The atmosphere is typical of the loud, muscular Christianity found at Oxford a decade earlier. (60) The reader is treated to several pages of profound scientific and theological debate, all seen through the eyes of Munting, who finds within it the solution to the murder. At the end of the book, when Lathom’s arrest and condemnation have become inevitable, Munting declares: “I got the idea that God or Nature or Science or some other sinister and powerful thing had set a trap for him and that I was pushing him into it. I thought it was ruthless of God or whoever it was.” (61)

The use of “whoever” rather than “whatever” seems to indicate that Munting has made up his mind. On the penultimate page, in the last paragraph of Munting’s recollections, he refers back to a sermon of Perry’s mentioned earlier by Margaret Harrison:

He said, if we wouldn’t do as the Gospel said, and keep good for the love of God, then we would be punished by the Law. And he said that didn’t mean that God was vindictive, only that the Laws of Nature had their way, and worked out the punishment quite impartially, just as fire burns you if you touch it, not to punish you, but because that is the natural law of fire. (62)

This appears to be Sayers’ own conclusion on the matter, and one that Munting is by now inclined to accept as well.

The conversion process in Munting is still incomplete at the end of the novel. He becomes aware of sin, realizes that his previous conception of the Christian faith was imperfect, enters into a new, positive relationship with the Church and Christian believers and seems to have accepted the existence of God. The intellectual honesty which leads him to seek after truth in his work is the catalyst which leads him both to the murder solution and to his renewed understanding of the Christian faith.

We can also note that Sayers created Munting at a time period during which literary conversions were becoming more common. Unlike Flambeau, who lived in an age when conversion was unfashionable but comprehensible, and Berowne, whose world neither understood nor accepted his experience, Munting was created just after the conversions of Jacques Maritain and T.S. Eliot, and during the period when C.S. Lewis had accepted the existence of God but was still hesitating about committing himself to Christianity.

 

Conclusion

All three of these fictional conversions reveal one of the reasons why the theme of conversion is entirely appropriate for use in detective fiction. The conversion story and the detective novel are both concerned with the revelation of truth and the exposure of sin, guilt and error. For the Christian author, all aspects of truth are good and interconnected. P.D. James describes herself as “a searcher after truth.” (63) Similarly, W.H. Auden pointed out that the ideal academic is “related to other human beings only indirectly through the common relation to the truth. . . . If a murder occurs in a college . . . it is a sign that some colleague is not only a bad man but also a bad professor.” (64)

As the truth about his crimes and their consequences is presented to Flambeau, he discovers the truth about God and about his own soul. As Munting seeks for the truth about the origins and nature of life, he solves the murder mystery and discovers the possibility of an intelligent Christian faith. As Paul Berowne faces up to the truth about his own life in the light of his experience of God, his actions reveal the true motives, hopes and fears of those who surround him, who, as St. John said in a similar, although slightly different, context, ‘preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil.” (65)

These stories remind us that truth is complex, that a violent crime is not merely an armchair puzzle for a wet Sunday afternoon, that the detective is inevitably, whether he likes it or not, obliged to peer into the souls of men, because as Chesterton said, “things must be faced in order to be forgiven.” (66)

 

NOTES:

  1. Dennis Porter, The Pursuit of Crime (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 7.
  2. Dorothy L. Sayers, Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery & Horror (Victor Gollancz, 1928), 37.
  3. H. Auden, “The Guilty Vicarage,” The Dyer’s Hand & Other Essays (London: Faber & Faber, 1963).
  4. Stanley Hauerwas, “McInerny Did It: or Should a Pacifist Read Murder Mysteries,” A Better Hope (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2000), 208.
  5. Patrick Wright, “A Good Murder,” The Guardian; 24/10/94, 9.
  6. For a more detailed look at this question see Suzanne Bray, “Vers une théologie du roman policier anglo-saxon,” Mélanges des Sciences Religieuses, Dec. 2002.
  7. We could mention, among others, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ronald Knox, G.K. Chesterton and Agatha Christie.
  8. The General Confession from The Book of Common Prayer.
  9. “Conversion,” New Dictionary of Theology (Leicester: IVP, 1988), 167.
  10. Ellis Peters, A Rare Benedictine (Headline, 1988).
  11. Ellis Peters, The Leper of Saint Giles, 162; Ibid.Dead Man’s Ransom, 18 & 22.
  12. G.K. Chesterton, “The Blue Cross,” The Innocence of Father Brown (New York: Penguin, 1987), 8.
  13. Ibid., 24.
  14. Ibid., 25.
  15. Ibid., 70.
  16. Ibid.
  17. G.K. Chesterton, “The Divine Detective,” A Miscellany of Men (Scholarly Press, 1972), 236.
  18. Ibid., 236.
  19. G.K. Chesterton, “The Queer Feet,” The Innocence of Father Brown, 62.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Mark 6:44, 46, 48.
  22. “The Queer Feet,” 70.
  23. G.K. Chesterton, “The Flying Stars,” The Innocence of Father Brown, 91.
  24. Flambeau makes his reappearance in “The Invisible Man.”
  25. P.D. James, A Taste for Death (Sphere Books, 1987), 68.
  26. Ibid., 323.
  27. Ibid., 54.
  28. Ibid., 296.
  29. Ibid., 283.
  30. Ibid., 348.
  31. Ibid., 374.
  32. Ibid., 68.
  33. Ibid., 210.
  34. Ibid., 206.
  35. Ibid., 364.
  36. Ibid., 281.
  37. Ibid., 246.
  38. Ibid., 394.
  39. Ibid., 206.
  40. Ibid., 298.
  41. St. Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, ch. 1.
  42. This confession appears in both The Pilgrim’s Regress, a fictional and allegorical account of his conversion, and in his more traditional autobiography Surprised by Joy.
  43. A Taste for Death, 152.
  44. Ibid., 510.
  45. Matthew 10:34.
  46. Malachi 4:6.
  47. Barbara Reynolds (ed.), The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1899-1936 The Making of a Detective Novelist (Hodder & Stoughton, 1995), 276.
  48. Ibid., 283.
  49. Leroy Lad Panek, Watteau’s Shepherds: The Detective Novel in Britain 1914-1940 (Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1979), 89.
  50. Dorothy L. Sayers, The Documents in the Case (Coronet, 1992), 26.
  51. Ibid., 27.
  52. Ibid., 91.
  53. Ibid., 92.
  54. For a discussion of this, see Lewis’ The Abolition of Man.
  55. The Documents in the Case, 29.
  56. Ibid., 38.
  57. Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944), British mathematician and astrophysicist, and Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University.
  58. Sir James Jeans, (1877-1946), British mathematician, theoretical physicist and astronomer. Jeans held positions both at Cambridge and at Princeton.
  59. The Documents in the Case, 58.
  60. Sayers alludes to the famous rhyme, “Where Chestertonian youths five things revere / Beef, noise, the Church, vulgarity and beer” (204).
  61. The Documents in the Case, 215.
  62. Ibid., 110.
  63. P.D. James, Time to be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography (London: Faber & Faber; 1999), 89.
  64. W.H. Auden, “The Guilty Vicarage,” 150.
  65. John 3:19.
  66. G.K. Chesterton, “The Divine Detective,” 238.