A rotten reunion

23 11 2019

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers


Harriet Vane has never dared to return to her old Oxford college. Now, despite her scandalous life, she has been summoned back . . .

At first she thinks her worst fears have been fulfilled, as she encounters obscene graffiti, poison pen letters and a disgusting effigy when she arrives at sedate Shrewsbury College for the ‘Gaudy’ celebrations.

But soon, Harriet realises that she is not the only target of this murderous malice – and asks Lord Peter Wimsey to help.

Number 12 in the Lord Peter Wimsey series and the second after Strong Poison to feature Harriet Vane. This time though Harriet is very much in the lead and trying to solve the surprising and strange goings on at her former Oxford College. It’s a gripping and entertaining thriller with plenty of twists and turns and Harriet is a sharp and engaging heroine. Although Lord Peter offers a bit of a helping hand this is her show and she makes a pretty good job of it all told. (And thank you Gaby Neher for another excellent recommendation.)



four stars

What’s your poison?

15 06 2019

Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers


The classic mystery that first featured Harriet Vane, companion sleuth to the dashing, perennially popular private investigator Lord Peter Wimsey, from the writer widely considered the greatest mystery novelist of the Golden Age–Dorothy L. Sayers.

Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her fiance 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 prove her innocent–as determined as he was to make her his wife.

Can Lord Peter Wimsey prove that Harriet Vane is not guilty of murder – or find the real poisoner in time to save her from the gallows? Impossible, it seems. The Crown’s case is watertight. The police are adamant that the right person is on trial. The judge’s summing-up is also clear. Harriet Vane is guilty of the killing her lover. And Harriet Vane shall hang. But the jury disagrees.

All very enjoyable in a lighthearted yet rather deadly kind of way. Plenty of twists and turns along the way too. This is the first book featuring Lord Peter Wimsey I’ve tried (once again at the recommendation of Gaby Neher – thank you Gaby!) and I really quite enjoyed it. However, for me it lacked some of the power of many Agatha Christie crime novels, which it kind of resembled, albeit with plenty of P G Wodehouse thrown in. Will nevertheless be keen to try a few more.


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