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Strong Poison

(Lord Peter Wimsey #5)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  27,214 ratings  ·  1,519 reviews
Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her former lover died in the manner prescribed in one of her books, a jury of her peers had a hangman's noose in mind. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to find her innocent. ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1930)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,214 ratings  ·  1,519 reviews

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Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm sorry, Hercule Poirot. There's a new literary detective in my life, and while I will always cherish your silly Belgian antics, Lord Peter Wimsey just understands my needs better - he makes me laugh so much more than you do, and he has that sincerity that you lack.

Now don't cry, Hercule. It's not your fault; the fact is that Lord Peter is just...well, truth be told he's a better man than you. You take cases more out of boredom, and also because the police tend to beg for your help. Lord Pete
A good solid mystery with an excellent cast and a neat, happy conclusion, Strong Poison finds Lord Peter Wimsey meeting his paramour Harriet Vane for the first time. She is in court, accused of murdering her ex-lover. Lord Wimsey is enamored by her stoic character, her strong morals and lovely voice. He doesn't think she murdered the scoundrel either and if she did is to be congratulated for removing this wart from the face of humanity. ...more
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1847, the average woman who read novels apparently wanted Mr Rochester. In 1930, she wanted Lord Peter Wimsey. And in 2015, she wants Christian Grey.

This is called progress.

Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xx2018-completed
Lord Peter Wimsey meets the love of his life – finally – and decides then and there he is going to marry her. Unfortunately, Harriet Vane, the source of Lord Peter’s willingness to forgo the bachelor life for a house and family, is not in a position to accept.

Harriet Vane is in the prisoner’s dock of the court, charged with the murder of her previous lover. If convicted, she will hang. Instead, there is a hung jury and a second trial due to be opened in a month. Lord Peter has only that short ti
A solid 4 star read and another enjoyable Wimsey.

More tomorrow (soon) 😬

And for once it is tomorrow as I put pen to paper, well fingers to a keyboard.

So firstly as I really enjoyed it, let me address why it isn't 5 stars, but only 4. Well, I felt that (view spoiler)
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
"Do you know how to pick a lock?'

'Not in the least, I'm afraid.'

'I often wonder what we go to school for,' said Wimsey."

A young woman writer was accused of poisoning her boyfriend (this actually happened before this word was used in the sense I use it here: the guy she lived with, without marrying him first). The book starts with a prosecutor's speech describing all the details. I personally found their case not to be too convincing; it fact a good defense lawyer like Perry Mason would not only
mark monday
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: murdertime
introducing harriet vane! she's a loveable heroine and lord peter wimsey practically becomes a walking boner as soon as she arrives on the scene. dorothy sayers is one of the most elegant of writers and her super-detective peter wimsey is one of literature's most elegant creations. he's a semi-tragic war hero, he's brave & strong & fast & loyal, he's kind to service staff, he's a defender of the innocent...and all his heroic attributes would grow quickly obnoxious except that sayers places them ...more
Jason Koivu
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was reading this, feeling a whole lotta deja vu and just wondering which came first, Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series or PG Wodehouse's Wooster/Jeeves series, when out of the blue one of Sayers' characters name-drops Jeeves!

For me and the sort of reading I enjoy, this hit the spot! It was like reading a murder mystery penned by Wodehouse. And if you're been reading my reviews, you know he's one of my favorite authors. There's something very Wooster-like about the foppish Wimsey. The st
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, favourites
You would think that having read Strong Poison once, listened to the Ian Carmichael audiobook, and watched the Edward Petherbridge tv adaptation twice, I wouldn't be still at the point of giggling every few pages or staying up all night to finish it. You'd definitely be wrong.

It's so good coming back to these characters and learning more about them, and having the fondness about them, and not having my mind occupied with trying to figure out the mystery. Miss Murchison! Miss Climpson! Bunter! Pa
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I think this may be the Sayers I read in my younger years & didn't much care for.

I can appreciate Sayers' ability more now.

I did enjoy this title very much, but not quite a perfect read for me. There was quite a bit of filler & not many suspects. But the murder method was ingenious & this is enough to make this title a most satisfying read.

Good stuff!
Richard Derus
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: Lord Peter Wimsey, younger brother of the Duke of Denver, bibliophile, and dilettante in the arts and sciences of murder, meets his One True Love, the Other Half of His Soul; where else would he do this, but in court? Too bad she's the accused in a rather sensational murder trial, in which she is accused and about to be convicted of poisoning by arsenic her Illicit Lover, now ex- after having the *temerity* to propose honorable and legal marriage to her. He was
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1930, this is the sixth book to feature Lord Peter Wimsey and the first to feature Harriet Vane. When we are introduced to Harriet, she is a prisoner in the dock; on trial for killing her lover, Philip Boyes. Lord Peter is convinced of her innocence and instantly smitten. However, the case against her looks pretty convincing at first glance. Miss Vane had left Mr Boyes, after an attempt at ‘free love’ had fallen apart. A writer of detective fiction, Harriet had been investigating de ...more
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.

Dorothy Sayers has been a popular mystery writer for at least eighty years. She was writing books in the twenties and thirties and they, despite the competition of Agatha Christie and everyone else writing similarly mannered mystery puzzles and polite comedies of manners (which category her books also fall into), have lasted until now, which means they've come through at least three generations of fans. And it isn't hard to
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Oh, come,” said Wimsey, “you can’t think that, Helen. Damn it, she writes detective stories and in detective stories virtue is always triumphant. They’re the purest literature we have.”

Sayers has a lot going in this story where Whimsey attends a trial (just out of curiosity?) and finds that he has fallen in love with the defendant, Harriet Vain, who is accused of killing her former lover by poisoning him while he was trying to effect a reconciliation. Whimsey? Vain? Is this a chapter from Pilgr
Cindy Rollins
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, reread, mysteries
Hello, Harriet Vane. We don't know you very well yet, but we will.

I am not sure how many times I have read this but it was even more enjoyable this time because of my trip to England.
I have now walked some of the streets mentions and could visualize it all so much better. As always I have the feeling that
I am just not smart enough yet to get all the jokes and nods. But I got more this time around than last.
I listened to this on audiobook and completely forgot to add it to my Goodreads challenge. Dorothy L. Sayers is now officially my no. 1 Agatha Christie substitute. If you like Agatha Christie, I can only recommend checking out one of the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries! They have a very similar feel to them and they're always very satirical and funny. ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This mystery was okay. I wasn't able to guess who committed the crime, or how, so it is definitely unpredictable in that sense. It was very clever and I admire the novel for that.

I did like the plot, and I liked the underlying quiet feminism to it all. I liked the characters well enough, and the writing style had a buoyancy to it which made it nice to read.

So why only three stars if I am mentioning all these good things? Mostly because I don't find it to be a particularly memorable book. And m
2021 Review
I'm going to admit, the mystery itself doesn't quite strike me as 5 stars upon re-read. There are a few too many coincidences for comfort. And it is weird that the story randomly follows the adventure of a middle age lady for like the last third of the book. Harriet gets almost no screen time. And the mystery is more about "how did it happen" than "who did it" considering the pure lack of suspects.

But, oh. Sir Peter. He's gold, pure gold. I adored him. Everything about him is perfect
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery

So far the only Wimsey book I didn't like was Unnatural Death and that's because there was no Wimsey. He appears in a couple of scenes but the majority of the book is a woman he hired to investigate for him. Well, that was one of the main reasons.

The reason I mention Unnatural death is that here too Miss Climpson is sent to investigate something but in Strong Poison it wasn't too much and she actually does interesting things trying to find the item she came for. She isn't just talking to peo
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable Golden Age mystery. Lord Peter falls head over heels in love with Harriet Vane on trial for murder.

Love the period, the setting and the cast of characters on offer the mystery component is solid as well.
An entertaining read.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lord Peter Whimsy attends the closing arguments of a trial for the accused murderess-cum-author Harriet Vane. From these proceedings he determines two things: 1) she is very much innocent, and 2) she is very much his future wife (if she will have him). This means that Peter is ON THE CASE, ready to defy friends, family, etc. for the chance to get Miss Vane off (not a pun).

1. This was HILARIOUS. Wry and amusing and clever and absurd by turns, I honestly was delighted. What a good collection of ba
Emilia Barnes
How have I only just discovered this? I'm an idiot, that's how. This is so good. It's hilarious and I am officially in love with Lord Peter Wimsey. I was surprised that a novel written in the 1930s could be so progressive - I've read stuff written this century that is less enlightened than this. Good plot, hilarious dialogue, wonderful hero, excellent heroine and I'm on to the next one now. ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This, first in the trilogy of the Oxford classics major’s semi-autobiographical mysteries, ending in Gaudy Night (made a PBS Mystery series). Here’s a brilliant, multifold ironic tale, the best of the three Sayers I’ve re-read in the last month. Only drawback, a long early discourse, too dense in an old judge’s voice; it holds ten pages of legal summation, the trial of Harriet Vane mystery writer, who knows too much about arsenic. In her defense, the handsome Sir Impey Biggs notes Vane was resea ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I enjoy every Lord Peter Wimsey novel more than the last! With each book we learn a little more about Lord Peter and his personality blooms. He is not so much the 'buffoon' in this book, and we see another side to him - stricken with love.

In Strong Poison Harriet Vane, a novelist, is on trial for the murder by arsenic of her lover, also a novelist. Lord Peter's man Bunter, his friend Charles Parker, and Miss Climpson who runs his typing agency (a.k.a. 'The Cattery' a front for other things revea
lucky little cat
I've never read these in order, and I'm not about to start now.

Harriet Walter was the bee's knees as Harriet Vane in the BBC's 1987 Mystery! production of Strong Poison

1920s-era modern girl Harriet Vane is far too intelligent to have anything to do with Lord Peter Wimsey, that Alice-spouting, quote-a-minute sleuth. Too bad for Harriet, since he's hopelessly smitten and she's a captive audience (in jail, awaiting trial for allegedly murdering her caddish boyfriend).

Chock-full of nicely ironic i
Simona B
Strong Poison certainly shines as highly unusual, if we consider it as a classic whodunit written by one of the undisputed queens of the genre. Lord Peter falls in love and, accordingly, does very little sleuthing. Instead, the spotlight rests almost at all times on his female collaborators, which is refreshing and much, much fun, although it can be somewhat of a disappointment if you keep waiting for Wimsey to reappear and take the lead again.

I recently read the first Roderick Alleyn mystery b
Paul Secor
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Wimsey novel I've read and it's an improvement over the first, Murder Must Advertise. If I read another, it will be one which places more emphasis on Harriet Vane, who seems like she might be a more interesting character than Lord Peter Wimsey. Ms. Vane gets short shrift in the book, even though she's on trial and her life is on the line.
In general, I'm not a big fan of classic British mysteries (Mr. Holmes excepted), but this was better than most. 3 and 1/2 stars upgraded to
Change is afoot in the world of Lord Peter Wimsey. People are asking Peter to stay the way he is and it is chilling his soul. Not only does he envision his own altered future, but he sees the societal changes taking place around him, and he knows that change is inevitable.

Enter Harriet Vane. She is an author in the mystery genre, she has lived with a male author without the benefit of matrimony, and she is on trial for that man’s murder. It is said that Harriet is an alter-ego for Dorothy L. Say
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one is the introduction of Harriet to the mix.

It's nearly a 5, but just short. It misses a bit on the nuance that will build between Lord Peter and herself- but which hasn't risen to its zenith yet. But Miss Climpson makes up for it- she's 5 star in this novel. I sure hope Lord Peter pays her an exorbitant salary.

It's dire circumstances for the ending of Harriet's former relationship. And our hero Peter declares himself almost immediately when he views her verve within her own situation. Th
Lord Peter Wimsey caught me when I first read him almost 40 years ago and still surprises and entertains me now. Wimsey is charming, egalitarian, talented, and guaranteed to make one laugh, even when one is in prison. My stereotypical detective is serious and focused (think Holmes or Poirot). Wimsey is anything but serious:

“When she married the other fellow, I took up sleuthing as a cure for wounded feelings, and it’s really been great fun, take it all in all. Dear me, yes—I was very much bowle
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Co

Other books in the series

Lord Peter Wimsey (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1)
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey, #2)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey, #4)
  • The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6)
  • Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #8)
  • The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, #9)
  • Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #10)
  • Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #11)

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“Do you know how to pick a lock?'
'Not in the least, I'm afraid.'
'I often wonder what we go to school for,' said Wimsey.”
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