Write me a murder mystery in the style of Dorothy Sayers

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From chat.openai.com:

Query: Write me a murder mystery in the style of Dorothy Sayers


Chapter 1: An Unexpected Visitor

The rain was relentless, beating a rhythmic tattoo on the windows of Wimsey Manor. Lord Peter Wimsey reclined in his leather armchair, a tumbler of fine Scotch in hand. The fireplace crackled merrily, casting dancing shadows across the bookshelves filled with rare tomes and obscure curiosities. The peace of the evening was shattered by an urgent knock on the door.

Wimsey’s butler, Bunter, ushered in a drenched young woman with a look of distress etched upon her face. Her name was Evelyn Middleton, a distant relative of Wimsey’s and a recent acquaintance. She had a reputation for being a woman of mystery, and it seemed she had brought a new enigma to his doorstep.

“Lord Wimsey,” she began, her voice quivering with anxiety, “I desperately need your help. I believe I am in grave danger.”

Wimsey, ever the gentleman, poured her a glass of sherry and encouraged her to compose herself. As she sipped the amber liquid, she recounted her tale.

Chapter 2: A Lethal Gift

Evelyn explained that earlier that day, she had received an anonymous package containing a string of exquisite pearls. They were of such beauty that even a cursory glance revealed their extraordinary value. Attached to the pearls was a note that read, “For the fairest lady in England.”

Despite their allure, Evelyn had an uneasy feeling about the gift. She had sensed danger lurking beneath their lustrous surface. To confirm her suspicions, she had taken one of the pearls to be examined by a jeweler. The result was chilling—a deadly poison concealed within the pearl’s core.

“I fear that I am the target of an insidious plot,” Evelyn confessed. “But I know not why or by whom.”

Chapter 3: The Web of Suspects

Lord Wimsey listened attentively, his mind racing. He knew that this was no ordinary case. The presence of a poison-laden pearl hinted at a cunning adversary with a twisted sense of vengeance. It was a puzzle that demanded his immediate attention.

Wimsey proposed they invite a select group of guests to Wimsey Manor for the weekend, under the guise of a social gathering. Among them would be Evelyn’s acquaintances, as well as those who might have a motive to harm her. He would use the occasion to observe, question, and deduce.

As the weekend unfolded, Lord Wimsey found himself surrounded by an eclectic group of characters—a retired general, a reclusive artist, a disgruntled business partner, and even a charming foreign diplomat. Each had their own secrets, and each could be a potential suspect.

Chapter 4: Unmasking the Deceiver

Over the course of the weekend, Wimsey meticulously collected evidence and observed the interactions of the guests. Tensions ran high, and suspicions festered. Evelyn, although clearly anxious, remained resolute.

On the final evening, as the guests gathered in the drawing room, Lord Wimsey revealed the true purpose of the weekend gathering—to unmask the person behind the poison-laden pearls. With an eloquence that would have made Dorothy Sayers herself proud, he dissected each guest’s potential motive and alibi, slowly eliminating them one by one.

Then, in a dramatic revelation, he produced a hidden compartment from a curious sculpture in the room—an identical strand of pearls with a hidden poison pearl. It was a masterstroke of misdirection.

The room erupted in shock and confusion. Amidst the chaos, Evelyn’s eyes darted around, and she caught a glimpse of panic in one guest’s face—the foreign diplomat. It was a subtle but telling clue.

Chapter 5: The Culprit Unmasked

With the culprit exposed, Lord Wimsey calmly presented his evidence. The diplomat, it turned out, had a vendetta against Evelyn. He had sent the original poisoned pearls and had been so confident in his cunning that he had brought a backup strand, believing he could frame someone else.

The police were called, and the diplomat was led away in handcuffs, his reputation tarnished forever. The threat to Evelyn was extinguished, and the mystery of the poisoned pearls was solved.

As the rain outside continued to fall, Lord Wimsey watched the diplomat’s departure from the safety of his manor. Another case had been cracked, another villain brought to justice, and another evening of intrigue had come to an end. With a satisfied smile, he raised his glass to the memory of Dorothy Sayers and the enduring legacy of British detective fiction.

Link to more at chat.openai.com

PG notes that the free version of chat.openai.com is constrained in how long its response will be.

PG doesn’t remember Whimsey Manor in any of Dorothy Sayers’ books.

That said, he asked the AI to write a murder mystery in the style of Dorothy Sayers, so the AI was not strictly restricted by what Sayers actually wrote.

PG will contend that the AI made a mistake by referring to the detective as “Lord Whimsey” instead of “Lord Peter,” which PG understands would have been the customary way of referring or speaking to the second son of a Duke.

For some time, PG thought “The Duke of Denver,” Peter’s father (and later his older brother) was a strange title. However, during his recent reading on the subject, PG discovered that the city in Colorado was preceded by a village called Denver in Norfolk. He understands that the village of Denver currently has a population of less than a thousand people.

(The Denver in Colorado and its suburbs currently have a population of nearly three million people.)

(The later in the evening PG blogs, the more he tends to go down strange rabbit holes.)

(Which causes him to remind one and all that Colorado has a great many jackrabbits {which are actually hares and not rabbits, hares generally being larger and longer-legged than the cotton-tail rabbits and the many other true rabbits one finds in England, Colorado and elsewhere.})

10 thoughts on “Write me a murder mystery in the style of Dorothy Sayers”

  1. Something of a relief. I have annotated the Wimsey books (most of them, online) and I’m planning on publishing them when her copyright expires, so I’ve read a lot of Sayers.

    This is absolutely nothing like her.

  2. I am very fond of Lord Peter, and of the majority of the mysteries in which he detects, and this sounds nothing like Sayers.

    It sounds like a generic English mystery – the kind there would be millions of for the AI to train on.

    Granted, I prefer the later stories, and Sayers’ creation of one of the world’s best love stories as she matured her detective and married him off, but this is the kind of ‘story’ which would not have most of her readers coming back for more. She is one of my favorite writing mentors (by example – she didn’t produce a treatise on writing or on writing mysteries), and this is as much of a fake as the human written ‘The 7% Solution’ is a fake Conan Doyle.

  3. Nothing wrong with jackrabbit references. 🙂 Like any topic, if you know enough, everything is interesting.

    Amongst hunting dog circles (I used to follow fox-hunting and related sports), there is an active movement to identify/create the ideal jackrabbit sporting dog. Having tried various crosses of Irish wolfhounds, greyhounds, etc., the search has moved abroad to western & central Asia for borzoi, and other coursing dogs. When you send abroad for the “1st of this breed” largish dogs to enter the states and breed them, you get large litters, when you only needed a couple, and so the backchannels of the enthusiasts send out “would you like to buy a _____ puppy? First litter in the US…” sorts of messages.

    This results in ex-foxhunters like me having a country-of-origin (Kazakhstan) Tazi (from which the AKC Saluki derives) and a country-of-origin (Kyrgyzstan) Taigan (from which the AKC Afghan derives) snoring at my feet under my desk in Pennsylvania. The taigan is the fastest dog I have ever seen, with bones like iron (when you see the picture of a Mongol on his pony with his eagle on his fist and his dog on a rope by his side going wolf hunting, that dog is a taigan). Who knew that jolly dogs who behave like clowns (the Afghan’s reputation) originated in the steppes of central Asia? Well, now you do.

    • As I’ve said several times before, the comments are the best thing about TPV, K.

      I have never heard of the taigan, but will check it out.

      Your reference to Afghans brought to mind an advertising photo shoot for a dog food manufacturer I attended many years ago. The ad agency would often hire the winners of big national and international dog shows to come in (with their owners) to a commercial photography studio.

      The Afghan that was brought in for the shoot that day was absolutely magnificent. A long coat that looked something like a human professional hair model’s hair. A demeanor and stride that was aristocratic.

      It’s interesting to hear the breed originated in Kyrgystan. The people there must be amazing dog breeders.

  4. I was earlier interested in how advances in AI will improve video games. But today I watched a livechat with Catherine Asaro, who enthused about using chatgpt and a few others to help with research. While she did say you have to fact check the answers to whatever queries you put to it, I’m now going to keep an eye out to see how sci-fi writers are going to incorporate the latest advances. Asaro sounded like she would imagine something fun (I’ve never read her, but she seemed cool).

  5. The poisoned pearls method was used in the “Winterfair Gifts” story by Lois McMaster Bujold. Sergeant Taura detected them with her keen eyesight, and spends part of the story concerned about whodunit, because the best suspect is someone she knows.

    I know Bujold has read Dorothy Sayers (I never have), so maybe the chatbot should read her story to improve on its imitating-Dorothy-Sayers technique.

  6. Disappointed, a summary, not a story.
    Suspect that could change Lord Peter to Sherlock Holmes and claim it is in style of Doyle.
    Suggest a training book for the AI, Show don’t tell by Janice Hardy.

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