The manuscript was found during a clear-out at David Higham Associates in London. It contained six chapters of a detective story featuring Sayers' most famous character, Lord Peter Wimsey. It will delight fans who believed there were only 11 Lord Peter novels.
Dapper, with an ability to find humour in bizarre situations, Lord Peter was first seen in Sayers' 1923 novel Whose Body?
The new find is entitled Thrones, Dominations, and dates from the mid- 1930s. Sayers became sidetracked by her increasing interest in writing Christian plays, and at the end of the 1930s she gave the unfinished manuscript to her agent, the late David Higham, for safekeeping. He put it into the safe and went off to fight in the war. It languished, forgotten, in the safe until last year.
David Higham Associates and the trustees of the Sayers' copyright chose Jill Paton Walsh, to finish the novel. Paton Walsh was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize for Knowledge of Angels, a novel published at her own expense.
Yesterday, she said: "I am delighted and deeply honoured to have been asked by Lord Peter Wimsey's associates to write up a case which he worked on early in his marriage, a period of adjustment in his life."Reuse content