Lord Peter Wimsey comes to the trial of Harriet Vane for a glimpse at one of the most engaging murder cases London has seen in years. Unfortunately for the detective, the crime’s details are distractingly salacious, and there is little doubt that the woman will be found guilty. A slightly popular mystery novelist, she stands accused of poisoning her fiancé, a literary author and well-known advocate of free love. Over the course of a few weeks, she bought strychnine, prussic acid, and arsenic, and when her lover died the police found enough poison in his veins to kill a horse. But as Lord Peter watches Harriet in the dock, he begins to doubt her guilt—and to fall in love.
As Harriet awaits the hangman, Lord Peter races to prove her innocence, hoping that for the 1st time in his life, love will triumph over death.
Strong Poison is the 6th book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series by reading the books in any order.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Dorothy L. Sayers including rare images from the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.
Topics: Murder, London, Love, England, Family, Suspenseful, Crime, Female Author, British Author, 20th Century, Inheritance, Romantic, Wry, 1930s, Writers, Series, and Breakups
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It's so good coming back to these characters and learning more about them, and having the fondness about them, and not having my mind occupied with trying to figure out the mystery. Miss Murchison! Miss Climpson! Bunter! Parker! The whole Victorian asking of intentions bit!
I think one of my favourite moments, oddly, was the moment in which Peter is thinking crossly about suicides and how they should leave a note, just to avoid all the mess. And he thinks about how he should do it, not in terms of "if", but in terms of "when". Such a chillingly telling moment, and dropped in at the end of a chapter, and never returned to -- how typical of Peter's character, for something so serious to be only glanced across. And it's one of those moments that you see Peter very clearly as more than a silly ass, instead of just having to take that on faith. I don't know if I'm explaining it very well -- and this is an extraordinary amount of my review to devote to what was really a tiny detail -- but the moment really caught my attention.
So yes. Still toe-curlingly squee worthy, even on a fifth go at the plot.more
This one is the first one with Sayers' authorial insertion character, Harriet Vane, which works out a lot better than you might expect. Sayers is quite realistic about herself, it's Wimsey she puts on a ludicrous pedestal.
Reread in August 2011.more
It starts off promisingly enough - the judge is summarizing the case against Harriet for the jury, who are about to start their deliberations. It's a pretty strong case; Harriet's former lover died of arsenic poisoning, and Harriet had been buying arsenic for research purposes.
Now, first of all, it was really easy to figure out who the real murderer was. Normally Sayers keeps me guessing much longer than she did here.
Second of all, Peter does almost nothing from beginning to end. Miss Climpson and her staff do all the actual detecting - Peter mostly flops around feeling a little useless because love for Harriet has impaired his judgement.
Third of all, Peter is already in love with Harriet as the book begins. Not only do we not see him actually falling in love, the first thing he ever says to her is to ask her to marry him. This is romantic and all, but what makes Peter and Harriet's relationship so magical to me, at least, is their repartee - they're so well matched in wit, sensibility, and principle. I thought something more mature than love at first sight would bring them together.
There's a little bit of a twist - but I guessed it around the same time as I guessed the murderer, which is to say pretty early on.
I still enjoyed Strong Poison, quite a bit, but Sayers has done better.more