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.
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!
David V. (Wayside, NJ)
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.
Colleen T. (Lakewood, CO)
Before the Poison
“Before the Poison” is a first-rate book. Robinson has told a mesmerizing story weaving the present and the past together in such a way that I could not put the book down. I was enthralled with the way the author brought the murder mystery from the past into the present and how it affected the current characters and their lives. I loved the descriptions of England and Paris and especially the descriptions of the English nurses and their perils through WWII. I highly recommend this book.
Hilary H. (Tucson, AZ)
Before the Poison
I've been a fan of Peter Robinson for sometime having read almost all of the Inspector Banks novels. The setting was familiar - Yorkshire, but the main character (Chris Lowndes) is quite different from Insp. Banks though charming, thoughtful and a musician. The alternating story lines of the present day and the past (around WW II) work very well. I particularly liked the use of Grace's journal to reflect her WW II experiences (horrendous) as a nurse and her thoughts. The plot builds slowly but satisfyingly. I was engaged from the first few pages.
Betty B. (Irving, TX)
Before The Poison
Over the years I have read a number of Robinson's Inspector Banks' mysteries and have always enjoyed them. However, this book exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed the setting and the historical background. I liked the structure of the novel, and the weaving back and forth between The Famous Trials and Grace's journal and the present. Grace's journal was especially touching. Robinson brought everything together at the end and this is one of those books that I really hated to finish. Maybe there might be a sequel telling us more about Chris' Yorkshire adventures in Kilnsgate?
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.