Why is it so many readers (me included) can so quickly forget the details of a whodunit, no Sayers reader ever forgets how Harriet refuses Lord Peter, and refuses, and refuses, and refuses? Anyway, for those poor souls who have not read Strong Poison, the deal is that Harriet, a mystery writer, is accused of poisoning her lover with arsenic she quarreled with him (motive), he ate something at her house the night he died (opportunity) and she had just purchased a goodly supply of arsenic (method). Harriet denies feeding him the arsenic, claiming she was just doing research for her next book. A weak excuse, thought the police, and her defense attorney, and even the jury. Luckily, one member of the jury--Miss Climpson no less--didn't buy the prosecutor's argument and so the jury is hung, not Harriet. Lord Peter has a few weeks before her retrial to do something to save her--he knows not what.
This is not one of Sayers' more complicated puzzles, but it is one of her more enjoyable fictions. Lots and lots of lovesick Peter, though thankfully a lot less rank silliness. Peter even tells Bunter to "stop sounding so much like Jeeves!" Still, there are many very funny bits and a good bit of reworking of the male-female relationship. For my money, Strong Poison is where Sayers really hits her stride, no more messing with aspects of the genre, as in the first four novels, just a nice tricky plot and a couple of characters that are hard to resist. Peter meets his match in Harriet Vane, an independent woman with a determined mind of her own, values of her own too, and a thoroughly underwhelmed attitude to Peter's ego and his money. Mellows him out, you might say. Yes, February is going to be a great month, although I may not get quite as much sleep as I would like . . .