3
Lord Peter Wimsey
3.1
3.2
Does it occur to you that what's the matter with this case is that there are too
many clues?
--Lord Peter ~msey
Preview
This chapter explains the methods of the amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wim-
sey and how they can be applied to debugging software. This section begins
by reviewing the life and character of Lord Peter. It summarizes the points
of Wimsey's methodology that apply to software debugging and expands on
the metaphor of a software defect as a crime. It concludes by identifying
techniques that Lord Peter Wimsey employed in his detective work, with
quotes from the Wimsey stories for each technique.
The character of Lord Peter Wimsey
In this chapter we turn our attention to the life and wisdom of the amateur
sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.
3.2.1
The life of Lord Peter Wimsey
It is useful to start by considering what we know about Lord Peter as a char-
acter. The following bibliographic entry, written in the style of the Who's
Who directories of the time, comes from his creator:
WIMSEY, Peter Death Bredon, D.S.O.; born 1890, 2nd son of Mor-
timer Gerald Bredon Wimsey, 15th Duke of Denver, and of Honoria
33
34 3.2 The character of Lord PeterWimsey
3.2.2
Lucasta, daughter of Francis Delagardie of Bellingham Manor,
Hants.
Educated: Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford (lst class
honors, Sch. of Mod. Hist. 1912); served with H. M. Forces 1914/18
(Major, Rifle Brigade). Author of "Notes on the Collecting of Incun-
abula," "The Murderer's Vade-Mecum," and so forth. Recreations:
Criminology; bibliophily; music; cricket.
Clubs: Marlborough; Egotists'. Residences: ll0A Piccadilly, W.;
Bredon Hall, Duke's Denver, Norfolk. Arms: three mice courant,
argent; crest, a domestic cat couched as to spring, proper; motto: As
my Whimsy takes me.
The literature about Lord Peter Wimsey
What stories do we use as sources in understanding the methods of Lord
Peter? The following books by Dorothy L. Sayers document his cases:
9 Whose Body?~1923
9 CloudsofWitness~1926
9 UnnaturalDeath 1927
9 The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club--1928
9 Lord Peter Views the Body~1928~anthology
9 Strong Poison~1930
9 The Five Red Herrings~1931
9 Have His Carcase-- 1932
9 Murder Must Advertise~1933
9 Hangman's Holiday~1933~anthology
9 The Nine Tailors~1934
9 Gaudy Night~1935
9 Busman's Honeymoons1937
9 In the Teeth of the Evidence~1939~anthology
9 Thrones, Dominations~1998~with J. P. Walsh
9 A Presumption ofDeath~2OO2~J.P. Walsh & D. L. Sayers

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