Karen R. (Columbus, OH)
This started off great, slowed down a little, and then I could not put it down. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. This mystery spends most of its time in character development, while slowly developing the plot. I enjoyed the two different times in history that were discussed, and felt I learned some things about WWII that I had not known before. It was well written, and very enjoyable. I enjoy mysteries requiring the reader to use their mind, minimal blood, and interesting characters. This book had all of these plus more.
Carole P. (framingham, ma)
Before the Poison
This stand alone has all the usual trademarks of Peter Robinson 's books. Beautifully crafted, the suspense builds slowly. What has drawn widower Chris Lownds back to the U.K.. After years in Hollywood , he decides to return and buys an old mansion in Yorkshire. He finds that it was the scene of an infamous murder some fifty years ago. A beautiful woman kills her husband and hangs for the crime. As Chris delves into the case he begins to question her guilt. What really did happen at Kilnsgate house and is he bringing past danger into the present?
As always Peter Robinson delivers an outstanding mystery.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
Before The Poison
This is a departure from the Inspector Banks series and not nearly as gritty and intense. A touch of the supernatural and a somewhat gentle, drifty approach makes this an unusual book, especially with a male narrator who seems to be obsessed with the quest to find the truth about a woman who was hanged for the murder of her husband 60 years before. Good story; well-written - the descriptions of the various locales, particularly the house in Yorkshire, are wonderful.
Jim S. (Austin, TX)
Before the Poison
The setting for the story is in North Yorkshire, UK near Richmond on the Swale river. Christopher Lowndes, now 60, had lived his childhood in the 'rough' side of Leeds, UK. But after having buried his wife Laura, 3 years before due to her death from cancer he is returning to England. Chris had a successful career as composer of film music that "no one ever listens to." He received one Oscar Award but had been nominated for others. The story starts with Grace Elizabeth Fox dressing for her hanging, having been convicted of murdering her husband Dr. Ernest Fox. Chris arrives at the home he has not seen in person prior to purchase called Kilnsgate. The real estate agent person Heather had neglected to tell him that the mansion he has purchased was the home of Dr. Fox and his murderess Grace Elizabeth Fox. Chris becomes interested in the story of Grace Elizabeth and is convinced that she may have been innocent. This leads him to many interesting characters, not only in the Richmond area but trips to Paris and South Africa. It is a convincing and great story. The outcome is unexpected. Part of Grace's story is told in an old book of reports of famous trials. Part of the story is from Grace's experience in WWII as a Red Cross Nurse. I have read most of Peter Robinson's books, enjoying the Alan Banks novels. This book is Robinson's best effort. At times I would have to stop reading in order to think about what was written. Also because I didn't want the book to end. I recommend it highly.
Juliet F. (clarendon hills, IL)
a little uneven, but a very pleasurable read
This book was very pleasurable reading. The plot was interesting, and I enjoyed the historical plot being interwoven with the contemporary story. The weakest part of the story was Heather's character and her relationship with the protagonist, which was silly and poorly done. However, that did little to dampen what was otherwise a fun read. Not as good as the Inspector Banks series, but not a waste of time by any stretch.
MN book lover
obsessing over an old crime
A composer of Hollywood music scores, mourning the death of his wife, returns to Yorkshire where he grew up. He moves into an isolated mansion and becomes interested in the former owner who was hanged for the murder of her husband. His curiosity becomes an obsession as he tries to prove her innocence. A good premise for a novel, but it is quite slow-moving, not very realistic, and not all that interesting. The conclusion makes one wonder why one had to spend so much time getting there. Average at best.
Cindy C. (Owen, WI)
Before the Posion
I read the book in two days and would recommend it to others. The story definitely draws you in and you want to know how it ends and the ending is definitely unexpected. I have never read this author before and in same ways liked his attention to detail but sometimes felt he got a little bogged down in location names. I did however like the historical detail from World War II and the way the book flowed from the past to the present.