Perhaps the best thing that me giving Dickens a 2nd chance has brought about is that I've given a couple of other authors a 2nd chance.
First up - Dorothy L. Sayers.
Growing up I was a huge Nancy Drew fan and then moved on to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. I received Murder Ink and Murderess Ink as gifts and avidly read all the essays in it. There were Harriet Vane paper dolls in it that I loved as well as the essays on Harriet and Lord Peter Wimsey. So I attempted to read Busman's Holiday but to no avail. I found it dreadfully dull at the time. I've always felt a little bad about it because the books I loved recommended them so highly and I love murder mystery books.
Since then I've ready hard boiled detective novels. Fell in love with Hammett and Chandler. Moved on to Jim Thompson and James M. Cain. And then of course ending with Patricia Highsmith. Since then I've gone back to other classics I hadn't read especially Rex Stout. It seemed time to return to classic British mystery. So I gave Sayers a 2nd chance this summer.
I am glad I did. Well written, witty and I wasn't entirely certain who did it too early on. Frankly, a nice step up from Agatha Christie that perhaps my 13 year old mind was unable to appreciate at the time.
The book starts out with Lord Peter Wimsey attending the trial of Harriet Vane for the murder of her lover. Wimsey and Vane have not met before. Wimsey decided she didn't do it and sets out to find the real killer. He proposes to Vane along the way which she turns down. I think it was the right decision. You don't really want to marry someone who is your rescuer, at least not right away.
Wimsey has relatives who are not as scary as Bertie Wooster's although he does have a Jeeves like butler. He also has an agency of excellent women who help him with his cases.
Probably most of all I enjoyed the banter between Wimsey and Vane, so I will probably read all of their books first before going back to the books without Harriet Vane.
As a side note, the Winn books that taught me what a poseur James Bond was. No self respecting spy would drive a Aston Martin (known for breaking down), carry a Walther PPK (too bulky and frequently misfires) or drink vodka martinis (hopefully you don't need me to explain this). All of this led me to develop a theory that James Bond was actually a KGB agent, which I think George Smiley would agree with, but I won't go into it here.