by Dorothy L. Sayers
Now this is what I was hoping for when I read Whose Body? last year! That was the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, but definitely not the best. After reading it I wasn’t sure I wanted to try any others, but I’m so glad I did. Everyone who told me that the series improved the second Harriet Vane showed up was absolutely right.
From the first moments the book hooks you. It starts with a judge speaking to a jury as they deliberate on a case. A man was either murdered or committed suicide by arsenic poisoning and they must determine if the accused is guilty of the crime. Many of the facts point to his estranged girlfriend, Harriet Vane, who is on trial for her life. As the case heats up Wimsey decides Vane is innocent and he needs to prove it if she’s going to be acquitted.
One of the best elements in the book is the focus on characters outside of Wimsey and Vane. We follow a secretary as she tries to obtain evidence from her slippery boss and later Miss Climpson, who must travel to a small town in search of an elusive will. These side trips and stories kept the plot moving quickly.
BOTTOM LINE: I will definitely read more of the books from this series as long as they contain Harriet Vane! Wimsey needs her intelligent repartee to balance his and together their chemistry makes for a great mystery novel.