The Poisoned Chalice

Diane Janes. Severn, $28.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8819-8
Set in 1929, British author Janes’s pedestrian sequel to The Magic Chair Murder opens with 28-year-old Frances Black, who’s separated from her philandering husband, Michael, learning that Michael’s girlfriend is with child. This news doesn’t daunt Frances for long, as she has other things to keep her occupied. In particular, the great-aunt of her friend Tom Dod, who nobly married his dead brother’s pregnant fiancée in order to give the tyke the family name, is worried that a killer is stalking members of her church in the little town of St. Agnes Durley Dean. Several parishioners die, all of them having voiced their disapproval of the changes made by the new reverend. In the course of their inquiries, Frances and Tom indulge in meandering conversations and not much deductive reasoning. Though attracted to each other, the two know they must remain “merely friends, with some shared interests,” such as investigating suspicious deaths. Since Janes, who’s also a true-crime author, has yet to learn how to bury clues, those expecting much mystery will be disappointed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2018
Release date: 11/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-7278-2967-2
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-84751-942-9
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