Having recently read through the collected Lord Peter short stories of Dorothy L. Sayers, I can’t help but notice that a few of them are fairly odd. The one which comes to mind as an example of this is the story where Lord Peter is driven in a car to a castle (or perhaps it was a mansion) to pick up some secrets from the scientist who lives there and upon entering meets another Lord Peter, whereupon the scientist proposes a wine identification contest to determine which Lord Peter is the real Lord Peter. (The real Lord Peter turns out to be the chauffeur. ) This is rather far off of the beaten track of Lord Peter stories. Granted, his expertise in wines does sometimes come up, but never before (or after) has it been critical.
Then it occurred to me: I have no idea where this story was published.
For all I know, Ms. Sayers wrote the story for a friend who ran a magazine called Wine Tasting Monthly. If that were the case, it would make perfect sense why she wrote such an unusual Lord Peter story. It would be fun for the (hypothetical) readers of Wine Tasting Monthly and would be very unlikely to confuse anyone who was merely an ordinary reader of Lord Peter Wimsey stories since they would be unlikely to ever see it.
I am, of course, just speculating. In fact, I doubt that I got it right; I think it more likely that not that this story was not written for Wine Tasting Monthly. It’s a good illustration, though, that there may have been context which makes oddities make perfect sense. Just to come up with another, to illustrate, perhaps there was an “adventure issue” of Detective Stories Weekly where the theme was seeing all of one’s favorite detectives but in an adventure story. The point is that with the right expectations, this story would be fun (and possibly funny) rather than just weird.
There’s a lesson in there…