This is not ridiculous Wimseyfic (hopefully), but a missing scene from early in Strong Poison.
Introducing Lord Peter Wimsey
‘Please don’t,’ said Harriet Vane, ‘tell me that the verdict was better than you expected.’
It was Sunday afternoon, and Mr Crofts, who had been feeling pleased with himself for wangling an interview with his client, felt a flush of annoyance. He had in fact been thinking that very thing, and he felt that Miss Vane might acknowledge the efforts on her part, but she was, there was no doubt about it, rather a cool young woman.
‘Certainly not,’ he said. ‘It is not the verdict we would have hoped for, but we convinced half the jury this time, we’ll convince them all the next. I have some good news about that.’
‘Yes. Lord Peter Wimsey – you’ve heard of him, the amateur criminologist, Duke of Denver’s brother.’
‘Yes, of course.’
‘It seems that Lord Peter has been in court, and has followed proceedings with some interest. He is entirely convinced of your innocence, and has offered his assistance.’ Crofts sat back with something of a flourish.
‘My goodness.’ She pressed a hand to her mouth. She could be a surprisingly pretty girl when she let herself smile. ‘But that’s wonderful news!’
‘We’re very pleased, of course. He has quite a history.’ He pushed back his chair. ‘You must excuse me. They gave me five minutes on account of the unusual circumstances. Lord Peter will visit you tomorrow morning to discuss the case.’
‘Thank you. You’re very kind.’
He winced mentally. ‘Not at all, Miss Vane. And I hope I may say that with Lord Peter’s help we’ll have you out of here soon enough.’
This produced a wan smile. ‘I do hope so.’ Well, she must have been wishing to be out by now. No wonder she looked a bit peaky. Lord Peter was said to have a way with the ladies. Perhaps he would cheer her up. Poor silly girl, he was glad his Maggie was safely married.
A wardress led Harriet back to her cell. It smelt slightly of damp, but was otherwise drier and warmer than one might have expected. But one was, after all, only on remand, and might have been in quite a different cell today, equally dry and warm, but with only one way out. She shook her head. It didn’t do to think about it; it was too easy to spend all one’s time only nerving oneself for the next moment and the next thought. It was better to think about something else, about work, which its ironies aside was both pleasant and necessary. One might get out, and then there would be a need for money and occupation. Lord Peter Wimsey! He had money all right, pots of it, but it seemed he wanted occupation. She had not seen him in court, but she had avoided looking too much at the public galleries. She knew his photograph form the papers, of course; a slight, slim man, not overly tall, with fair hair and the sort of face that took generations to breed. Mr Crofts was right. He did have a history. She recalled Marjorie Phelps talking about what he’d done for that dull friend of hers: ‘It isn’t only that he’s clever. He’s decent, too. He doesn’t think worse of a woman than he would of a man, and he doesn’t think worse of men than he does of himself. He understands things. Do you know, I believe that’s how he does it? He doesn’t look at a person and assume she’s a murderer because he disapproves of her.’
That, thought Harriet, would be a very refreshing change. If only someone would understand they might think of a way to show other people. At the very least, it would be nice to explain things – because she was always being asked to explain things, and it was no use expecting Lord Peter to be any different there – to someone who might be something other than uncomprehending and usually disapproving (Sir Impey Biggs, she thought, hadn’t disapproved. But he certainly hadn’t understood. Noble sacrifice indeed! She wouldn’t have bought that as a juror, either). It would be fun to talk to a noble criminologist. The writer of detective mysteries gets relatively few opportunties to talk to live specimens of her art. Perhaps she might pick up something interesting for a book. though she mustn’t get ahead of herself. There was still another trial, and if Phil had really done it to himself... But dressing next morning in her best shirt, because God knows it didn’t help to be as dingy oneself as one’s surroundings, Harriet allowed herself, for the first time in days, to hope.