Special Sub-Topic: Wimsey and Vane: Strong Poison
|In the opening line of "Strong Poison," which type of flowers does Sayers describe as "splashes of blood?"|
crimson red roses. Sayers opens, "there were crimson red roses on the bench; they looked like splashes of blood." These flowers sit in a vase on the judge's bench.
|"Strong Poison" brings back the character of the Hon. Freddy Arbuthnot. Early in the novel, Freddy states, "if every little game led to murder, they'd be hanging half of us for doin' in the other half." According to Freddy, of which half would he be a part?|
victim. Freddy Arbuthnot is one of Sayers' long running secondary characters and perhaps her most Wodehousian (i.e. author P.G. Wodehouse). He is generally an idiot, but is excellent with the markets. In the course of the series, Freddy marries Rachael Levy, the daughter of the victim in the first Wimsey mystery, "Whose Body?" (1923) and assists Wimsey in business related inquiries.
|What are Harriet Vane's first words to Lord Peter?|
Please sit down.. Harriet, always proud, upholds the customary manners even with a murder charge hanging over her.
|What is the stage name of Rosanna Wrayburn?|
Cremorna Garden. Lord Peter first learns of Cremorna Garden from the Rev. Arthur Boyes, Phillip Boyes' father. Boyes speaks of, "My wife's aunt, the notorious Cremorna Garden of the 'sixties." Cremorna Garden was apparently an infamously beautiful and sexually adventurous actress who is left a senile, decrepit, and bedridden old woman.
|Miss Murchison is taught safe-cracking by the reformed safe-cracker Bill Rumm. The evangelical Rumm family beg Lord Peter to sing. Which hymn does Wimsey sing for the Rumm family?|
Nazareth. Sayers writes, "the trotters having been eaten, and 'Nazareth' duly sung, to the great admiration of the Rumm family, the evening closed pleasantly with the performance of a hymn, and Miss Murchison found herself walking up the Whitechapel Road, with a bunch of pick-locks in her pocket and some surprising items of knowledge in her mind."
|Where does Miss Climpson finally meet Miss Wrayburn's nurse?|
The Oriental Cafe. After a prolonged hunt, Miss Climpson finally catches her quarry; "she crossed the street again, looked into a window piled with coloured wools, thought better of it, passed on, and turned in at the door of the Oriental Cafe." There Miss Climpson was able to convince the gullible Miss Caroline Booth of her skills as a so-called medium.
|What does the letter "B" come to represent as a result of Miss Climpson's deception? |
black book. Miss Climpson obtains vital clues to the mystery by pretending that she is a believer in spiritualism. She uses some of the trickery of spiritualist pretenders to deceive her own witness, Miss Booth. The black book happens to contain the combination to the safe.
|Which poem from "A Shropshire Lad" helps Wimsey break the case?|
Terrence, this is stupid stuff. The final stanza of A.E. Houseman's "Terrence, this is stupid stuff," relates the story of a king who took poison in small doses in order to immunize himself from the toxins. In the same manner, the murder in "Strong Poison" immunized himself to the arsenic that he gave his victim. Peter has a sudden epiphany after reading poetry.
"There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that sprang to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white's their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
-- I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old." - A.E. Houseman
|Which physical evidence finally condemns Norman Urquet?|
hair and fingernail clippings. Lord Peter takes hair and fingernail clippings from the victim's salon.
|What is the last Wimsey line of the novel?|
If she'll have me. "Not quite." said Wimsey. "'I intend to marry the prisoner."
"What?" said the Duke. "Good lord what, what?"
"If she'll have me," said Lord Peter Wimsey'"
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