Before The Poison
This was an interesting blend of mystery and a love story. Although the fate of one of the main characters was evident from the begining, the author used some clever flashback techniques to keep the reader in suspense and involved in the plot. A key element was the English manor which the protagonist had recently acquired. I could almost feel the drafts, mysterious noises and long-dead inhabitants of the huge, isolated mansion. The characters were interesting and realistic, some quite intriguing and eccentric. I recommend this book for fans of interesting plots, WWII history and English landscapes.
Rated of 5
by Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)
a delectable mystery
Peter Robinson's Before the Poison is an old-fashioned mystery that had me entranced from the first page. A recently widowed composer purchases Kilnsgate House, an isolated mansion in the English countryside, where a murder had been committed years before. The man, convinced that the wrong person had been accused, becomes obsessed with the story.
The book is skillfully written, going between the early journals of Grace Fox, the alleged murderer, and the challenges she faced as a nurse in World War II, and the contemporary account of the man who now owns her home. As he travels to Paris and England to unravel the mystery, the reader is completely drawn into the story. I read at a leisurely pace, savoring the Gothic elements and attention to detail.
I plan to purchase several copies of this book for friends who appreciate fine writing and a well-told mystery. I give Before the Poison my highest recommendation!
Rated of 5
by Juli S. (Portland, OR)
A change of pace from the author's Inspector Banks series.
Having been a fan of Robinson’s Inspector Banks series for years, I expected to like this standalone mystery. I was not disappointed at all. The format of telling the story of the present day investigation while telling the historical part of the story through excerpts from books and from Elizabeth Fox’s own diary works well. It’s a mystery but it’s also about relationships, guilt, and a bit of a history lesson added to the mix.
Robinson takes a break from procedurals and scores a win with this one. The story kept me guessing and the musical references made me wish there was a playlist available.
Rated of 5
by Kathleen S. (St Louis, MO)
Different Direction for Peter Robinson
This is not a book in the Inspector Banks series by Robinson, so those expecting one will be disappointed. That said, this book was very thoughtfully written and kept me up at night wanting to read "just one more" chapter. It's atmospheric narrative brings Yorkshire and its villages to life. It is a very visually written story that put me readily into the plot. A good read for a cold winter night.
Rated of 5
by Joan C. (Warwick, RI)
Before the Poison
Before the Poison is a low-key mystery that seems to draw you in gradually as you read the text. It offers some interesting facts concerning what it like for women who served as nurses in the military during WWII. As you read along, you certainly want to know what the dead heroine was all about. Did she commit the crime? Little by little the author draws you into the story as he reveals clues and speculations around "Grace", who died years before the story begins to unfold. This book turns out to be an unusual "who done it" and You have to follow the story through to the end to find out what really happened.
Rated of 5
by Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)
Perfect winter afternoon reading!
First let me say I am a huge Peter Robinson fan. His Inspector Banks series is one of my favorites so I started this stand alone novel with high hopes and was not completely disappointed. Robinson's talent for transporting his readers to the scene of his novels is in high gear in Beore the Poison, as is his love of music and knack for adding a soundtrack to the pages. With one exception, the characters feel fully thought out and the protagonist, Chris Lowndes, is charming. The exception, Heather, comes across as shallow and one dimensional compared to others even less important than she is to the plot.
The mystery at the heart of the novel kept me engaged until the last page- well researched, full of historical detail about the experiences of nurses during WWII, Robinson delivers a novel that I will recommend to others.
Rated of 5
by Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
A solid read
I have read the Inspector Banks series written by Peter Robinson, so I already have a healthy respect for his writing. This book was a slight departure from his usual mysteries. It takes place in the Yorkshire area as do his other stories, but it is a gentler tale- part ghost story, part love story, and part mystery on several levels. The story moves slowly at first, and I couldn't really tell where it was headed. For that reason, I began to wonder how long it was going to take to gain some momentum. The plot unfolds in several voices. The narrator is Chris Lowndes, returning to England after the death of his wife in California, where they had lived for many years. Chris buys a house, sight unseen, and once he moves in, he discovers that the wife of the original owner was hanged for the murder of her husband. Partly because of his need to distract himself from the grief he still feels for the death of his wife, and partly because he feels and sees something in the house, he starts investigating the circumstances of the murder and subsequent trial. At this point , the narration is interspersed with accounts of the trial. At another point, Grace's journal becomes another voice heard. Grace was the woman hanged for the murder of her husband, Dr. Ernest Fox. This is when I became hooked and couldn't stop reading. The author has done an excellent job of carrying the story back and forth from England during WWII to the present time as he weaves the different threads necessary to the solving of the mystery of who Grace Fox was and if she truly murdered her husband. The various characters are believable and interesting, and I think many readers will find this to be a first rate read.
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