I confess: this is one of my favorite books and I recently took the risk of recommending it to my book club. Harriet Vane returns to the fictional all-woman Shrewsbury College at Oxford University for her reunion, which is called a Gaudy.
While she is there, someone starts sending poison pen letters to her, to professors and staff, and to students. At first simply disturbing, the letters are increasingly threatening, and the poison pen writer vandalizes walls, and the new library. Harriet is a mystery writer, and is generally believed to have some detective ability since she has worked a couple of times with famed amateur sleuth (and would be lover) Lord Peter Wimsey, so the dean asks for her help. Harriet finds a good reason to do research at Oxford, moves into Shrewsbury College and begins her investigation.
The mystery is fine, and the setting is appealing. A college full of women, with strong personalities, and various backstories make for a lively story. At the same time, Harriet is struggling with her feelings for Peter. Here Sayers gives us perhaps more inner turmoil, wordily expressed, than I’d like. Overall, a good read.