Strong Poison

Sayers, Dorothy L. Strong Poison. New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1995.

Lord Peter Wimsey is at it again. Only this time in addition to solving the mystery he’s looking to fill his personal void. He wants a wife. While his methods are a bit strange (he proposes to a virtual stranger, someone he is trying to prove isn’t a murderer) you can’t help but love his enthusiasm. Harriet Vane is a mystery writer who just happens to know a thing or two about poison so when her estranged fiancee shows up dead…poisoned…guess who gets the blame? For all appearances this is an open and shut case. She had the motive and the means but Lord Wimsey thinks differently. Her first trial is thrown out due to a deadlocked jury so Wimsey has time to rebuild Harriet’s defense…and propose with the promise “I’ve been told I make love rather nicely” (p 46).

Lines I liked, “Bless you, may your shadow never grow bulkier!” (p 75) and “I merely proceed on the old Sherlock Holmes basis, that when you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbably, must be true” (p 93).

Truth be known, I like Wimsey’s butler better.

Reason read: Reading this book is a complete and utter cheat. I read it thinking it was continuing a series. The only “series” thing about it is that it features Lord Peter Wimsey again. Blah. Note to self: take the other Sayers books off the list, for now…

Book trivia: So, technically this could be called a series since Harriet shows up in later books.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Ms. Mystery” (p 170).


November ’12 was…

I don’t know what makes me feel this way, but November arrived and left before I knew it.  It felt like it was one of those elusive party-goers who pops in for a quick hello and is gone before anyone else knows. Something I would do. We had a fit of snow to add insult to New Jersey/New York injury. My neighborhood survived just fine but mother nature had it in for my old stomping grounds in the worst way.

My routine of reading during my lunch break hasn’t changed. I’ve come to look forward to camping out in the stacks, listening to students pass my study carrel. It gives me perspective. This month I seemed to read nothing but really short, easy to read books.

  • Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan ~ a continuation of the series I started last month. I think I read this over a weekend.
  • Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol 2 by Giorgio Vasari ~ a continuation of the series I started last month.
  • Breakfast with Scot by Michael Downing ~ in honor of national adoption month. This was cute. I was able to read it in one day.
  • Camus, a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes ~ in honor of Camus being born in the month of November. I took my time with this but still managed to finish it in two weeks.
  • Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff ~ in honor of national Alzheimer’s month. Read over a weekend, I was glued to the words because almost a year ago I lost my uncle to dementia. This really hit home.
  • Before the Knife: Memories of an African Childhood by Carolyn Slaughter ~ in honor of November being a good time to visit Africa. Or so they say. Another quick, weekend read.
  • Edward Lear in Albania: Journals of a landscape Painter in the Balkansby Edward Lear ~ in honor of November being the best time to get to Albania (which I never thought of doing). This took me three weeks to get through.
  • The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan ~ in honor of Dylan Thomas living in Wales. Don’t ask. It’s a long story. Read in four days.
  • The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin ~ in honor of November being a good time to visit Africa (yeah, yeah I read two books for the same reason). This was really short. I was  able to read it over four lunch breaks.
  • Corregidora by Gayl Jones ~ in honor of Jones’s birth month. Another short (but difficult) read. Read this in one day.
  • The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr ~ in honor of November being Fantasy convention month. Read this over two lunch breaks. Really cute.

For audio books I listened to:

  • Churchill, a Life by Martin Gilbert ~ in honor of Churchill being born in the month of November. A few trips to the eastern part of the state allowed me to finish this sooner than I thought.
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers ~ for the fun of it. This was hard to listen to simply because of the heavy dialogue.
  • Complications: a Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande ~ in honor of National Health Month. This was only six cds long so it was a great way to finish out the month.

What else was November about? I got to see a pretty exciting Patriots game thanks to my husband. I also got to stay home alone and read for an entire Sunday thanks to another Patriots game. Staying local for Thanksgiving definitely allowed for more reading time, too.


Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Read by Ian Carmichael. Chivers Audio Books, 1989.

Confession: I have been listening to this while working out. I can admit it’s not very inspirational for getting into shape! As a matter of fact I had a terrible time listening to this and might have to actually read it for real. Reason being: Ian Carmichael. There is a great deal of dialogue and Mr. Carmichael doesn’t really differentiate between the voices all that well. Since every character sounds nearly the same it is difficult to figure out who was saying what.

Premise of the story: Old so and so (90 year old General Fentiman) has keeled over in the Bellona Club. Because the old codger had a heart condition and was so old people assume he died of natural causes until his estranged sister’s will is discovered. If he dies before Lady Dormer a distant relative would get her inheritance. If he dies after Lady Dormer he would get the inheritance. Since they both die on the same day suddenly it matters very much exactly when General Fentiman passed. Down to the minute. Did he die before or after Lady Dormer? When it is discovered that General Fentiman was murdered aristocrat and amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey (don’t you just love that name?) is called in to solve the mystery. The best part about this book is that it is really, really funny whether you read it or listen to it.

Reason read: In honor of Armistice Day or Poppy Day. General Fentiman dies on Remembrance Day (November 11th).

Author fact: Dorothy Sayers kept Lord Peter Wimsey very busy, publishing over 18 different stories involving his detections. I’ll be reading five of them.

Book trivia: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club was made into a television series in 1972, starring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey. Hmmm…

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Tickle Your Funny Bone” (p 200).


November ’12 is…

November is Thanksgiving. My mom’s birthday. A wedding somewhere out there. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Soon it will be time to crank up the woodstove. November is also a football game (Go Pats!) and maybe some music. It promises to be a good month for books, too. I have a couple of really short ones to buzz through:

  • Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, Vol 2. by Giorgio Vasari ~ continuing the series started in October in honor of art month. As with Vol.1 I won’t read any bio that has a mistake in it.
  • I’m excited about this volume because Da Vinci is in it.

  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan ~ a continuation of the series started in October to honor the Amsterdam marathon. This should be a really quick read.
  • Camus: a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes ~ in honor of Albert Camus’s birth month
  • Edward Lear in Albania: journals of a landscape painter by Edward Lear ~ in honor of November being a good time to visit Albania.
  • I guess so.

  • Before the Knife: Memories of an African Childhood by Carolyn Slaughter ~in honor of November being a good time to take a safari in Africa. Truth be told, this won’t inspire me to travel anywhere near the dark continent.
  • I can tell already.

For audio – I’m plan to listen to Martin Gilbert’s biography of Winston Churchill, Winston Churchill, a Life and Dorothy Sayer’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.

For the Early Review program on LibraryThing I will finish Clay by Melissa Harrison. I have to admit I’m not wild about the story. I love the way Harrison describes the landscape around her but not a fan of her character development.

What else about November? Can I say I will be thrilled, thrilled to not have to listen to Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren bash each other over the head anymore? As a woman I have never felt more “targeted” than in this particular election. That would go for Obama and Romney as well. Grrrr.