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Gaudy Nights and Criminal Endeavors: The Murder Mysteries of Oxford

Evening Program

Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0562
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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Bridge of Sighs at Hertford College, Oxford


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
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Oxford, described by poet Matthew Arnold as “that sweet city with her dreaming spires,” has always held an irresistible appeal for mystery novelists. Dorothy L. Sayers, Michael Dibdin, Lady Antonia Fraser, and Colin Dexter, among others, have drawn inspiration from the city’s ancient colleges and venerable traditions. As well, the lush scenery and majestic quads have served as the backdrop for some of British television’s most beloved dramas including  “Endeavour,” “Lewis,” and of course, “Inspector Morse.”

From Edmund Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop to Iain Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost, the city and its storied history have produced a startling catalog of eccentric sleuths and outré crimes. “Oxford has many scholars,” as Inspector Morse ruefully observed, “but not enough policemen.”

Author Daniel Stashower leads a virtual tour of Oxford and its byways, while actor Scott Sedar reads from classic novels. Settle in with a spot of tea (hold the arsenic) for an evening of shuttered rooms, cryptic clues, and dodgy detectives.  As Lord Peter Wimsey might have said, it promises to be a bally good time.


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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.