Before the Poison A Novel Author:Peter Robinson 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 Kilnsga... more »te 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.« less
I've been a fan of Peter Robinson's Chief Inspector Alan Banks series for a long time, so I was sure this stand-alone novel would be well-crafted. I'm not disappointed; he handles the back-and-forth of two time periods quite effectively.
The protagonist is an Englishman who worked successfully in California for decades before returning to the Yorkshire dales to buy the unusual estate where the story unfolds. Robinson is especially adept at setting scenes, which is a huge asset to this atmospheric novel. I also enjoyed the details about current days in England compared to the post-war time period that is evoked.
While this book might be lumped with Robinson's police procedurals, it's not an action-packed thriller or a traditional detective novel. No serial killers, just a puzzle related to a mysterious death that the lead character is compelled to unravel with the help of interesting people he meets along his journey.