Rated of 5
by Elizabeth W. (Newton, MA)
A most enjoyable visit . . .
To read Peter Robinson’s Before the Poison is to enjoy a comfortable extended visit with protagonist Chris Lowndes in the English countryside. His voice is as smooth and relaxing as his favorite Armagnac. The details of the house and surrounding town are drawn with such a painterly eye that now, a couple weeks after finishing the book, I still have a sharp mental image of them.
Because both the character and the setting seemed so real and down--to-earth, I found myself accepting somewhat improbable circumstances as Lowndes begins to feel the presence of the ghost of a former inhabitant of the house and to investigate the past murder of her husband and Nazi experiments in biological warfare at the house. The plot of the mystery moves at a good pace, but nothing feels forced.
The only aspect of the book that is not covered with total grace is Lowndes’ slowly developing romantic life after the death of his beloved wife. His odd attraction to the ghost of Grace Fox is more satisfying than his relationship with Heather, which remains undefined at the end of the story.
That complaint, however, is minor, and I highly recommend spending time in the company of Chris Lowndes.