From New York Times bestselling author Peter Robinson comes this mesmerizing story-within-a-story about a man pulled into a murder from the past—and his quest to uncover the truth.
Quietly reeling from the death of his beloved wife, Chris Lowndes decides to return to the Yorkshire Dales after twenty-five successful years spent in Hollywood composing film scores. He purchases Kilnsgate House, a charming old mansion deep in the country, but something about the place disturbs him. His unease intensifies when he learns Kilnsgate was once the scene of a sensational murder. More than fifty years earlier, prominent doctor Ernest Arthur Fox was poisoned there, allegedly by his beautiful and much younger wife, Grace, who was subsequently tried, condemned, and hanged for the crime.
His curiosity piqued, Chris decides to investigate, and the more he discovers, the more convinced he becomes of Grace's innocence. Despite warnings to leave it be, his quest for the truth is soon leading him through dark shadows of the past . . . and into a strange web of secrets that lie perilously close to the present.
A complex, multi-layered thriller, Before the Poison is one of Peter Robinson’s most brilliant novels—and one readers won’t soon forget.
“A gripping tale that brings to mind not only old-time Hollywood but also British ‘golden age’ storytelling in the Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier tradition.”—Wall Street Journal
At the outset of this haunting stand-alone from Arthur Ellis Award winner Robinson (No Cure for Love), British film composer Chris Lowndes, a recent widower, leaves California after more than 30 years for the peace and quiet of the Yorkshire countryside. He buys isolated Kilnsgate House, which the estate agent neglects to mention was the site of a sensational crime. Intercut are passages from a fictional true crime book, Famous Trials, depicting the 1953 case against Grace Fox, who was convicted of poisoning her husband, Dr. Ernest Fox, at Kilnsgate, and hanged. While Chris s initial interest is simple curiosity, the more he learns about Grace, the more his interest veers toward obsession. In piecing together the murder case and Grace s extraordinary life as a nurse during WWII, Chris discovers as much about himself as he does about her. Robinson manages a melancholy tone without veering into the maudlin, and the presence of Grace Fox permeates every page.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Brilliant Bit of Creative Writing
I've been doing a marathon of rereading the utterly entertaining Inspector Banks series. After 11 of those I tried After the Poison. It was like a fine painting and brilliant piece of literature. I totally fell in love with Grace. A genuinely touching story. The characters came alive for me as Chris unravels the mystery of the house and it's former owners. This book is a definite change of pace from Banks and one I thoroughly enjoyed as I followed Chris' winding path to the truth. I felt you had fun creating this story, Peter, and I thank you for it.
I thought in a dry season was his best but this is one of the best books I have ever read! Plan to read it again soon. Really loved it sucked me in to where I felt I was part of every scene. The man is a major talent!
Before The Poison
Detailed in a poetic way, I appreciated Peter Robinson's descriptions of his characters' everyday activities. I could vividly imagine the English pubs and countryside, the villages and wines of France, and the South African climate. Most of all, I could feel the intentions of Peter Robinson's characters through the many voices with which they spoke, and would never have predicted the ending. I recommend this suspenseful mystery to readers who love story characters, travel, and conversation!