British, crime fiction, mystery

Strong Poison

May 13, 2020

The most surprising thing happens on page 47 of this edition: Lord Peter proposes marriage to Harriet Vane who’s in prison for poisoning her former lover. This is just after 45 pages of a hung jury trial, and Wimsey is determined to prove her innocence–so the conflict of interest is palpable. His actual method of delivery is awkward and hilarious: “What I mean to say is, when all this is over, I want to marry you, if you can put up with me and all that.” There’s more to this dialogue, and it’s full of funny turns. Later, on page 177, Wimsey tells Chief Inspector Parker to propose marriage to his sister Mary. I love the Cattery, the descriptions of the typists, and the use of Miss Murchison and Miss Climpson as subcontracted sleuths. Given how hard I find getting all the way through Gaudy Night, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I was able to read this book, especially since it’s difficult to concentrate on anything since pandemic seclusion began.

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