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02 May 2017

Book Review: Strong Poison

Strong Poison: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 6 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)Strong Poison: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 6 by Dorothy L. Sayers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading through the Harriet Vane/Lord Peter trilogy.

Damn, he falls in love fast. Whirlwind. I would have loved a little more insight into his head-over-heels-ness with the reticent accused murderess.

But in love he falls. So clear her name he must.

And he does, because there is another book. Then another. Then another, with the word "Honeymoon" in the title, so we all know where it's going. We just have to wait until they get there.

Sayers is at her sarcastic peak in this short novel. And, yes, I call it a novel because the mystery was so thin I actually figured it out quickly, so I just read for the love story and the banter.

Like this conversation between two unnamed observers at her trial;
"And how do you know what a murderess looks like? Have you ever met one?"
"Well, I've seen them at Madame Tussaud's."
"Oh, waxworks. Everybody looks like a murderer in waxworks."
"Well, p'raps they do. Have a choc."

Harriet Vane herself has a very dry sense of humor. Lord Peter visits her in jail, fawns, proposes marriage and then, upon his leaving and promising to come again, Harriet says, "I will give my footman orders to admit you. You will always find me at home."

Lord Peter's investigations take him to a smoky club filled with pretentious artists. Lord Peter gleefully eggs one fellow on.
"Well, what can you do with the wretched and antiquated instruments of our orchestra? A diatonic scale, bah! Thirteen miserable, bourgeois semi-tones, pooh! To express the infinite complexity of modern emotion, you need a scale of thirty-two notes to the octave."
"Buy why cling to the octave?" said the fat man. "Till you can cast away the octave and its sentimental associations, you walk in fetters of convention."
"That's the spirit!" said Wimsey. "I would dispense with all definite notes. After all, the cat does not need them for his midnight melodies, powerful and expressive as they are..."

The murder victim, an author, is judged as a "perfectly foul blighter" because he "has his photograph on the dust-cover of his books, you know--that's the sort of squit he was."

I was terribly pleased the Miss Climpson made an appearance in this book and laughed all the way through her adventures finding a will in a week. Lord Peter, quite impressed with her work, signs off a conversation with her by trilling, "Bless you, may your shadow never grow bulkier."


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