Lord Peter Wimsey [1987]

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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