Harriet Vane is a modern woman -- Oxford educated when that was not an option for most women, making her own living by her writing, and living in an unmarried state. When her lover is poisoned, Vane is put on trial for his murder. Lord Peter is smitten and vows to prove her innocence.
This was a book club selection, and one I truly wouldn't've read by my own choice. It wasn't poorly written, but it was very drily written, and reflected both a different cultural mindset insofar as it was dated (taking place in the 30s) and British. That, coupled with characters that I think must've been established earlier in a series, made it a cumbersome read.
First published 1930, this edition 1987. From the back cover:
"Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her fiancee died in a manner prescribed in one of er books, a jury of her peers had a hangman's noose in mind. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to find her innocent-- as determined as he was to make her his wife.
I am totally in love with all of Dorothy Sayer's mysteries, and the main character(detective) Lord Peter Wimsey. This is the book in which he meets the love of his life, Harriet Vane. She is in jail, unjustly accused of murder, and he clears her of the charges, saving her life.