Friday, June 7, 2013

Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers

So! Hannah challenged me to read this book ten years or so ago (every time we discuss this we make it seem much longer ago than it actually was :) and Ana loves the characters in this book as do many others and Dorothy Sayers was the closest thing there was to a female member of the Inklings (she was not one) so these are all reasons I've wanted to read this for awhile. I don't really have an excuse for why it took me so long, except the usual truth of my reading restlessness and being a mood reader, etc.

And when I first started it, I was unsure. Because the very beginning of this book is basically a judge outlining a case, I mean I like a bit more action than that. But I read on and was quickly charmed by the delightful humor. And I wanted to know how they were going to Harriet Vane free, etc.

Oh I should back up a bit, basically Harriet Vane is on trial for poisoning her ex-lover. There are some inconvenient details surrounding a murder a mystery she's planning to write and how he died and so! Lord Peter doesn't think she's guilty, though, and he's also quite smitten so he determines to prove her innocence.

Speaking of which, I was surprised that he basically marches into the jail and proposes? Like I wasn't expecting this to be a love at first sight sort of book AT ALL. Of course, Harriet has her reservations.

Anyway, my very favorite part of the book is the scene depicted on the cover I had. Miss Climpson gets assigned to do her own fair share of investigation and has to pretend to be a medium in order to get the information she needs. It is genius comedy let me tell you! A completely delightful and laugh out loud sequence and Miss Climpson's voice is so amusing. I loved it. (Pongo! ♥)

So...hmm. A couple of things:
*I liked that Lord Peter actually did very little actual investigating. The women did all his leg work for him, lol. And it was fun! I felt the tension and suspense in their scenes and was worried they'd get caught etc.
*I feel like everyone always raves about Harriet Vane but she was barely in this book and I really have no thoughts on her. I feel like she's the kind of character I could really like, but it's far too early to make any sorts of judgments. I totally get why she was annoyed with Boyes for testing her, though!
*Ana asked how contemporary I found the book...well, I'm not sure what that question means? Like on the one hand I had no problems reading it, I didn't feel distanced or anything from it because of the time period. I guess, in fact, I could have read it believing it to be historical fiction if I didn't know the difference. So..does that help? One thing I think about it, though, is that it kind of reminds me of what we call cozy mysteries today. Something about both the humor and the lack of gore. Thankfully, though, no puns on food words!
*The way Peter had to talk Parker into proposing to his sister reminded me of Pierre in War & Peace, IDK!
*I looked up some stuff about the book to help my memory (it's terrible) and it's interesting that the stuff about Harriet and Philip was actually sort of based on Dorothy Sayers life. Now I want to learn more about her.
*I read this with a friend and I think we had a question about how it seemed Boyes had been poisoned over a period of time, but Wimsey really only solved the final poisoning. So...was he not being poisoned all along? And lol that I can't even remember if that was the question we had exactly, but I figured you guys could help me out!

Overall, I really liked it and I look forward to reading more!


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