Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries #6)

I am reposting this 2014 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $1.99.
Summary: A female crime novelist is accused of poisoning a former lover, and Lord Peter falls for her, but he has to prove she is innocent first.

After reading the first two book of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series and enjoying them, but being a bit disappointed by a collection of short stories that came next, I decided to skip to Strong Poison (book six) which many reviews suggest was one of the better books in the series.

Strong Poison opens with a judge reciting the facts of case as he gives instructions to the jury.  Harriet Vine is being accused of poisoning her former lover several months after they stopped living together.  The facts seem just a little too perfect for Peter Wimsey and he is convinced that Harriet Vine is innocent.

After a hung jury, Lord Peter sets out to find evidence for his intuition.  After meeting regularly with Harriet Vine, he falls in love and has even more reason to prove her innocent.

This a well written mystery and I think the best of the series I have read so far.  What I keep discovering about Sayers is that in her hands there are many instances mystery conventions that seem to me to have originated with her.  I have to wonder how much of herself Sayers were writing into this book (and others.)  Here in particular Harriet Vines is a crime novelist that lived with a man out of wedlock (Sayers secretly had a son that was raised as her nephew and his real identity was not revealed until her death.)

This book was written about 80 years ago, but it is still very contemporary in the best sense (it doesn’t feel old).  There is humor, subtlety, and a good mystery.

There is some distance however.  Our modern romance stories do not have marriage proposals with the first direct meeting (even if it is modern enough that she turns him down.)  The law is different as well.  Much of what is being done by Lord Peter and his team would be outside the bounds of legality now.  They go undercover, break into a law office and safes, steal documents and evidence.

Also new with this book (it must have originated in the last book that I have not read yet) is Lord Peter’s own undercover team made up of women typists, secretaries and others in what has become is own private investigative agency.

I continue to enjoy this series and it seems to be getting better as they go on.

Strong Poison Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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