Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey #6) by Dorothy Sayers

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.

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 Peter Wimsey seems to care so much more than you – when Harriet Vane was accused of poisoning her former lover, Lord Peter knew she didn’t do it, and he decided to take her case because he genuinely cared about her, and this led to a delightful scene where he proposes marriage to her in prison. He’s such a better speaker than you – he talks like Oscar Wilde wrote all his lines but decided to be sincere about them for a change. All I can do to prove my point is quote directly from his conversation with Harriet after he proposes:

“‘No – dash it all, I seem to be saying all the wrong things today. I was absolutely stunned that first day in court, and I rushed off to my mater, who’s an absolute dear, and the kind of person who really understands things, and I said, “Look here! here’s the absolutely one and only woman, and she’s being put through a simply ghastly awful business and for God’s sake come and hold my hand!” You simply don’t know how foul it was.’
‘That does sound rather rotten. I’m sorry I was brutal. But, by the way, you’re bearing in mind, aren’t you, that I’ve had a lover?’
‘Oh, yes. So have I, if it comes to that. In fact, several. It’s the sort of thing that might happen to anybody. I can produce quite good testimonials. I’m told I make love rather nicely – only I’m at a disadvantage at the moment. One can’t be very convincing at the other end of a table with a bloke looking through the door.'”

Also, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, you don’t really share things with your readers, Hercule, or even the other characters in your stories. You have a tendency to discover Very Important Clues and then not mention them to anyone, just so you can reveal them at the most dramatic moment possible. There’s just no communication. Lord Peter is different – not only did I know every detail of the case as he discovered it, but he even shared the investigation with other characters in the book! He has a veritable army of smart spinsters who do investigation work for him, and he dispatched two of them to help with the Vane case. This resulting in two wonderful scenes, where one woman learns how to pick locks from a born-again thief, and another where a Miss Murchinson uses fake Spiritualism to convince someone to search for a hidden will. It’s all fascinating and funny and very educational, especially the Spiritualism stuff.

So I’m sorry to say that Lord Peter Wimsey is now my favorite detective* at the moment, and that I think it’s time we took a break while I explore this. I’ll return to your stories again some day, but for now I want to focus on spending more time with Lord Peter.

Thank you for understanding, and I hope we can still be friends.

Yours truly,

*Sherlock, sweetie, don’t you even worry. You’re still my Number One and always will be.

Verdict: five out of five stars

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