Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Strong Poison
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Strong Poison (Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries) (DVD)
Amateur sleuth extraordinaire Lord Peter Wimsey first meets the lovely Harriet Vane in this clever mystery. At the start of Strong Poison Harriet (Harriet Walter) is on trial for murder. Lord Peter (Edward Petherbridge) becomes enchanted by her and decides she cannot possibly be guilty. What follows are the twin stories of Lord Peter's search to find the real killer and his romantic pursuit of Harriet. Both are charming. As always, Sayers has plotted her story brilliantly, with a satisfying mystery and a sly comic touch (a gentle poke at the spiritualist movement is particularly fun). The period atmosphere is pulled off naturally and with close attention to detail, and the adaptation has a careful reverence for Sayers's novel. The performances are all remarkably strong. Both leads capture the peculiar romance of sharp minds quite well, and Richard Morant is quietly fantastic as the remarkable Bunting. --Ali Davis
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Top customer reviews
In my mind's eye, these characters are brought to life with a degree of affection and charm, with a sharp eye to authenticity and mannerisms of the class and time.
Having watched this series the first time round, it was well worth the wait to finally purchase this series (and Amazon was cheaper than Powell's, PBS, and Barnes & Noble).
"Only because I wasn't there!" -- Lord Peter Wimsey
As elegant as smoke rings drifting from white-tipped filtered Chesterfields and old Rolls Royce limousines is this BBC adaptation of Strong Poison, featuring Dorothy L. Sayers' popular mystery creation, Lord Peter Wimsey. A certain romantic charm and occasional droll British humor make for a fine mystery. This particular mystery begins the story arc of sleuth Wimsey's romance with mystery writer Harriet Vane.
Edward Petherbridge gives a wonderful performance as Lord Peter. As the story opens, Harriet Vane (Harriet Walter) is on trial for murdering her lover. Wimsey has taken more than a small fancy to her from afar, however, and believes strongly in her innocence. Wimsey's pal, Chief Inspector Parker (David Quilter), arranges a visit in jail, and Lord Peter not only offers his help, but proposes as well!
Vulnerable but not without charm, Wimsey sets about clearing Harriet with his heart on the table. His giddy delight upon setting about the task, once he discovers he doesn't "positively repel her, or anything" is part of the mystery's charm. Her former lover was murdered with arsenic and Wimsey will have to use every resource at his disposal if he is to clear the object of his affections, however.
Wimsey's man, Bunter (Richard Morant), Marjorie Phelps (Amanda Murray), Miss Merchanson (Norma Streador), and of course, Miss Climpson (Shirley Cain), will all become Wimsey's agents in an effort to discover if it was suicide or murder and, if the latter, who else could have done the deed. A missing ten minutes, a rather shifty lawyer, and a will involving the deceased all come into play, making Strong Poison a strong adaptation.
An ending full of bittersweet melancholy leaves those who've invested so much time wanting more of this story arc, the viewer wondering how Wimsey can overcome Harriet's reluctant heart and win her love. Originally shown on British television, it is divided into three episodes, letting the viewer watch over three evenings, rather than all at once, as I chose to do. It is deliberate, and seems a bit dated viewed today because of its being shot on video rather than film. After watching a bit, however, you become involved in the story and forget about it.
The refrain by Joseph Horovitz played over the stylish opening to each installment adds an elegant melancholy to the 1920's setting, just before talking pictures came across the pond. Having come at this "clean" because I have not as yet tackled the detective in literary form, but will soon, I can say that Petherbridge is how I will picture Sayer's Wimsey. A fine adaptation for those who enjoy a very British mystery.
Most recent customer reviews
But the suspicion is enough to land a woman in the dock in "Strong Poison," the first of a...Read more
I recently acquired these DVD's (Strong Poison/Have His Carcass/Gaudy Night) and they are now my most treasured set.Read more