Reviews of Strong Poison (1930)
Review by clong (2006-12-30)
This was a fast, fun, literate, entertaining read. The premise is simple: mystery novelist Harriet Vane is on trial for the murder of her ex-significant other, and Peter Wimsey is determined to prove that she didn't do it, and then marry her.
Wimsey and his supporting cast are eminently likable, and the mystery is puzzler, with Sayers nicely managing the pace of dropping clues. I can see why Harriet Vane is a popular character, although in this book she is more of an ideal than a real person. And the glimpses of intra-war England are worth the price of admission alone.
The biggest weaknesses are the string of coincidences that ultimately allow Peter to solve the crime and unveil the true murderer. The final piece of the "how he did it" puzzle felt a bit trite, but it may well be that is because so many other authors and screenwriters have copied an idea of Sayers' that was quite original back in 1930. And I must admit that I had a hard time buying Peter's "love at first sight" infatuation with Vane. The romance would have been more believable if it had evolved as he
had gotten to know her at least a little bit.
All in all, though, highly recommended.