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Strong Poison

A book by Dorothy L. Sayers

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What-ho! British mystery with class and modern sensibility

  • Nov 2, 2013
Sayers is known for her mysteries and her Christian scholarly writing, but it is her Lord Peter Wimsey  mysteries that are most accessible.  And her writing reaches above the normal standard for mysteries with its class and a surprisingly modern sensibility that makes this fun, fast and still quite readable.

Written in 1930 when British society was still and unapologetically class based, Waters makes her amateur detective both upper class titled and open and friendly with all classes.  Yes he has a manservant, but the loyal Bunter is as much a friend and Watson-to-Wimsey's-Holmes as he is a Downstairs servant.

Sayers also gives her middle class characters strength and that modern sensibility that surprises.  Harriet Vane, the mystery writer who was researching arsenic poisoning for her next book, finds herself arrested and charged with the murder of her live-in lover by the same method.  While some spectators to the trial comment negatively on her living arrangement, Sayers treats her sympathetically, and when Wimsey takes an interest in Vane's case and then sets out to prove her innocence, he falls hard for the imprisoned author with no condemnation of her lifestyle and an admission that he too is not a paragon of purity.

Humor, wit, intelligence, and timing are more important than action or violence in Sayers's mysteries, and this story is no exception.  When Wimsey unmasks the real murderer, he does so in his library over tea and brandy, and actually says "What-ho!" while doing it.  Great light fun.

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November 06, 2013
More Strong Poison reviews
review by . March 08, 2003
"Strong Poison" is a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, the first of four that feature his relationship with Harriet Vane, so if you are new to Sayers, this is a good one with which to start. Sayers was one of the authors of mystery's "Golden Age", following the pioneers - Poe, Wilkie Collins and Conan Doyle - and preceding the hardboiled school of Hammett and Chandler. She was thus a contemporary of Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen.Her style is perhaps the most literary and polished of any mystery writer. …
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Todd Stockslager ()
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I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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About this book


"A model detective story . . . fascinating." ----New York Times

"The Wimsey books are literate and delightful mysteries." ----Chicago Tribune

"The end of this story is as ingenious as any solution could be." --Times Literary Supplement
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ISBN-10: 0061043508
ISBN-13: 978-0061043505
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: HarperTorch
First to Review

"Murder most literary"
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