Sunday, September 30, 2012

Strong Poison: Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

Strong Poison: Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

Dorothy L. Sayers

Harper, Oct 16 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062196200

In 1929 mystery writer Harriet Vane stands trial for the arsenic poisoning of her fiancé, author Philip Boyes. Everyone knows she murdered Boyes as she had the means having purchased strychnine, prussic acid, and arsenic just before he died; the opportunity as he was her fiancée though she left him after a spat heard by the neighbors; and the motive as her intended was an advocate of free love, which may have been why that argued.

Unable to resist the lure of the most scandalous murder cases in years, Detective Lord Peter Wimsey attends the trial expecting to find a killer. After hearing the evidence and observing the accused in the dock, Peter explains to Chief Inspector Charles Parker that the latter erred as the accused is innocent. The jury shockingly reports they failed to reach a unanimous verdict as three holdouts refuses to bow to the pressure of the other members. He gets Sir Impey Biggs to add him onto the defense team as he investigates the murder with intensity as he has fallen in love with the accused. After being the forty-seventh person to propose to Miss Vane, Wimsey investigates.

The reprint of the first Wimsey-Vane mystery is a terrific period piece that brings to life 1920s England. The whodunit is entertaining as time is running out on identifying who killed Boyes. The whimsical fun in this tale comes from Wimsey’s serial proposals and vane’s serial refusals. Fans will relish this strong entry as Dorothy L. Sayers shows why she remains relevant with her ability to provide a slice of a bygone era to the reader.

Harriet Klausner

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