I've also been falling asleep to audiobooks fairly regularly because of the not being very well, so it's made sense to listen to something familiar where I can go back or not as I can be bothered. Gaudy Night seemed like an obvious choice for this; long enough to get through the main part of the body of the jumper, and a book I've read so many times it really doesn't matter if I pay a lot of attention or not.
I still have a mixed relationship with audiobooks. They're excellent company for making things, but I feel I miss a lot and far too often do fall asleep listening if I'm not doing something else. The interesting thing about listening to a book that's been familiar to me for 35 years is that the narrator will alert me to things that I've possibly got in the habit of skipping over.
For this listening I've been struck again by the casual snobbery at play, especially where servants are being talked about, the equally casual and pervasive antisemitic tropes in Sayers (which seem to pass under the radar compared to writers like Heyer, but which I honestly find worse), and in this book how much the rise of the Nazi's in Germany is discussed - I don't think I'd entirely picked up how many references there where before, although the references to eugenics I had remembered.
Less obvious in some ways when I'm not reading myself is the love story. Or maybe I was more sensitive to Nazis than romance this time - who can say? Written in 1935 it's fair to say the attitudes are interesting. Harriet Vane has been traveling in Germany, Lord Peter spends a lot of time off stage in Rome helping avert war, there is much talk from visiting Americans and biology professors about selective human breeding to promote intelligence and physical fitness. And even more talk towards the end about medical solutions to dealing with criminals - both to rehabilitate and for scientific experimentation (frankly chilling knowing what would come next).
I fell in love with this book when I was 13, it made me long to go to university and learn things (not solve murders), it's hard to say what a contemporary 13 year old would make of it. Would they be as oblivious to the discussion of eugenics as I was back then? I hope not, and whilst on the one hand it's interesting to see a certain amount of what almost feels like approval for what's happening in 1930's Germany here - it must after all have been a fairly widespread attitude I'm also uncomfortable with it. Sayers characters feel less sympathetic with each reading.