Beloved Poison

Elaine Thomson. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68177-214-1
Rich atmospherics and a Dickensian portrayal of the underbelly of Victorian London elevate Scottish author Thomson’s superb whodunit above most other historical debuts. Jem Flockhart, an apothecary at St. Saviour’s Infirmary, has successfully passed herself off as a man in order to work alongside her father, continuing a family tradition in medicine that dates back a century. Meanwhile, the hospital governors have agreed that to sell the property to make way for a railway bridge, which necessitates emptying its graveyard, an unpleasant task delegated to junior architect William Quatermain. And, in the midst of that upheaval, one of the infirmary’s doctors is fatally poisoned, a crime that Jem believes is linked to her discovery of six tiny coffins, each containing a blood-stained doll. Some of the coffins are lined with papers with cryptic writing, including a reference to the date Jem’s mother died giving birth to her. Thomson excels in evoking the claustrophobic feel of the back alleys Jem must tread in search of the truth. The plot builds to a logical but surprising reveal. Agent: Jenny Brown, Jenny Brown Associates (U.K.). (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 09/13/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-68177-268-4
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-68324-264-2
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-68177-538-8
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