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Strong Poison (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)

Strong Poison (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Dorothy L. Sayers
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit.' - P. D. James

'I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail.' - Ruth Rendell

'She combined literary prose with powerful suspense, and it takes a rare talent to achieve that. A truly great storyteller.' Minette Walters

Book Description

The best of the golden age crime writers, praised by all the top modern writers in the field including P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers created the immortal Lord Peter Wimsey. His sixth appearance introduces Harriet Vane - the love of his life - and her trial for the murder of her lover. With an introduction by Elizabeth George.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder; New Impression edition (15 Oct 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHY67S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,329 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable 20 Jun 2007
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Given Harriet Vane's importance in the later Wimsey books, I was surprised to see her have such a small role in Strong Poison, although this is actually perfectly natural given that she's stuck in prison. She appears in only a couple of chapters and yet Sayers is skilful both at drawing her as a strong character in her own right - unconventional, witty, intelligent, very matter-of-fact and with her own moral code - and also at showing exactly why it is that Wimsey has fallen in love with her at first sight.

Wimsey himself was a revelation. I hadn't appreciated how much of a sense of humour he had and in fact, he spends a lot of time mocking himself, what he looks like and his own character - famously describing himself as having a "funny face". He's obviously intelligent, urbane, rich, powerful and famous and yet at no point does he ever come across as unlikeable or arrogant. There's also something quite romantic about the way in which he's convinced that he will eventually marry Vane, even though she has already rejected his proposal and he has rejected her counterproposal of just living in sin. The book ends with the two going their separate ways, but you just know that they'll end up together one day.

A second revelation was how small a part Wimsey actually plays in the actual detecting. There's no doubt that he's the intuition directing the operation, but when it comes to actually ferreting out information, Sayers uses characters such as his loyal batman Bunter, Miss Climpson (who runs the Cattery) and Miss Murchison (a member of the Cattery sent under cover). I found this fascinating - not least because modern crime novelists will often restrict their POVs to one or two (those usually being the main characters).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love at First Sight in the Dock 9 Jan 2004
In public life, Dorothy L. Sayers was a scholar, writer, and woman of impeccable morals. In private life, however, she had a torrid love affair and bore a child out of wedlock. In her literature, Sayers expressed the schism between these aspects of her personality via the character of Harriet Vane, who makes her first appearance in the Lord Peter series in STRONG POISON as a fallen woman on trial for her life.
Published in 1930, the novel opens with Harriet Vane in the dock, listening as the judge presiding over trial sums up against her. She is a writer of mildly popular mysteries who has had a liaison with Philip Boyes, a rather pretentious author better know to critics than to the public. Their acrimonious separation is quickly followed by Boyes' death from arsenic--and it seems that Harriet, and Harriet only, had both motive and opportunity.
But the judge reckons without juror Miss Climpson, employee of the celebrated Lord Peter Wimsey, who derails what would seem an open and shut case--and gives Lord Peter the opportunity to unravel the crime. And, not incidentally, to fall in love with the accused. With an infamous actress of the Victorian age lurking in the background and a sizable inheritance on the line, Wimsey rushes to sort out the mystery and save the woman he loves before the case can be retried.
STRONG POISON is not really among Sayer's greatest novels, which combine a unique literary style, memorable characters, and complex plots to remarkable effect. The opening description of the trial, with its detailed account of the judge's comments, feels excessive; the solution to the crime is tricksy and relies heavily on coincidence; and Harriet Vane stands out less effectively than such supporting characters as Miss Climpson.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars detective story perfection 15 July 2009
This is my first review and I am writing it as I recently suggested it as next month's choice for a barristers' chambers bookclub. I therefore want to get my justification in first! The decision was that we try a detective story for a change. Sayers was generally thought to be of greater literary worth than most of "The Golden Age", certainly than Christie. The first suggestion was "The Nine Tailors" which is generally thought to be one of the greatest novels of the genre. I had to disagree as, although I loved these books when I first read them, I have found Peter Wimsey to be increasingly irritating and hardly more so than in "T9T". "Strong Poison" has an excellent plot (more why- and how- rather than who-dunnit), a superb opening device (the telling of the "murder" by the judge in his summing-up), the race against time before the re-trial, two wonderful sleuth characters in Miss Climpson and Miss Murchison and refreshingly little of Peter Wimsey and what there is is less irritating than usual. It is also tightly written without the sprawl of the following "Have His Carcase" and "Gaudy Night". In short, one of the best of its kind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... except the girl's innocent 7 Jun 2009
A lot of women want to poison their ex-boyfriends. Only a few actually do it.

But the suspicion is enough to land a woman in the dock in "Strong Poison," the first of a string of mysteries about eccentric detective Lord Peter Wimsey and his romantic interest, crime writer/murder suspect Harriet Vane. While Peter's feelings for Harriet spring up rather suddenly, this seemingly airtight mystery is a solid race against time to discover the poisoner, with few clues about who may have done the deed -- and a lot of clues about who didn't.

Lord Peter Wimsey becomes interested in the trial of Harriet Vane, a mystery writer who lived with her boyfriend until he proposed marriage (it had all been a test). Six months later, after a brief visit, her ex dropped dead of arsenic -- and all the evidence points straight at Harriet. But Peter is sure that Harriet didn't do the crime -- and he's fallen in love -- and so becomes determined to break this watertight case against her.

And so he turns his attention to suicide, since there was plenty of motive for that. But the most promising lead turns out to be the dead man's cousin, a successful lawyer whose motives and opportunity remain unknown -- as the court tells us, the only food that the deceased ate was also eaten by the suspect. But the brilliant Wimsey knows he can find the answer, before Harriet's retrial.

"Strong Poison" probably had a special signficance for Dorothy Sayers. First, it introduced her alter-ego, Harriet. Secondly, some of the events that happened to Harriet -- living with a boyfriend, the "test" -- really happened in real life, although presumably Sayers didn't come under suspicion of having murdered her ex.

The murder itself is very intriguing, if very slow-moving and roundabout.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter at his best.
I had to re-read this to catch up on the Wimsey family.
Published 15 days ago by Wednesday
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Joan
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Poison
This is the book which introduces Harriet Vane into Peter Wimsey's life and heart. He goes to watch her trial and is convinced she is innocent of poisoning her lover. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Damaskcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful
In Strong Poison, written in 1930, Lord Peter Wimsey first meets Harriet Vane, a writer of detective stories. At this point, the Wimsey novels enter their richest and final phase. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Aletheuon
5.0 out of 5 stars first of the Harriet Vane set
Purchased the kindle version after the paperback fell apart. Love it as much as ever but, of course, it doesn't fall open at my favourite places.
Published 5 months ago by gimmielinda
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Sayers' Wimsey.
Great story, amusing and well written and researched. My collection is now complete and will probably be read and re-read.
Published 6 months ago by Viv
4.0 out of 5 stars problems playing the CDs
It was read well and I enjoyed the story when I could get the discs to play. The first disc was very long but it is an unabridged version. Read more
Published 6 months ago by P J Carney
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Poison
One of Dorothy Sayers best mysteries. Had read it before many years ago but it still well worth reading. She writes so well
Published 6 months ago by Onny
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord Peter Wimsey - Strong Poison
Easy to read, great characterisation, exciting story and in parts very funny! Made me forget the wet weather. Thank you, Lucy Worsley
for recommending it!
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Royce Lindsey-noble, Mrs Lindsey-noble
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
I have read this this book so many times and reall enjoyed it. I was so pleased to find it on the Kindle store and down loaded it at once so I can continue to enjoy it.
Published 7 months ago by Ptech
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