Today I’m reviewing Beloved Poison which I bought for my book group read in January.
Ramshackle and crumbling, St Saviour’s Infirmary awaits demolition. Within its stinking wards and cramped corridors the doctors bicker and fight. Ambition, jealousy and hatred seethe beneath the veneer of professional courtesy.
Always an outsider, and with a secret of her own to hide, apothecary Jem Flockhart observes everything, but says nothing.
And then six tiny coffins are uncovered, inside each a handful of dried flowers and a bundle of mouldering rags. When Jem comes across these strange relics hidden inside the infirmary’s old chapel, her quest to understand their meaning prises open a long-forgotten past – with fatal consequences . . .
My Review: Anyone who reads enough of my reviews will know I love historical crime fiction and this book is no exception. This was chosen for my book group at one of the meetings that I unfortunately couldn’t attend. However, when I discovered this was the read for January and that I could go to January’s meeting I was thrilled. I absolutely loved this book, it was rich with description and detail. Honestly you could feel the mud and mess under your feet while Jem and Will walked around London, never mind the smells that came from it. A great historical book, in my experience, is one which makes you feel as if you are right there with the main character(s) and are experiencing all of the sights, smells and sounds along with them. This book did that in bucketloads and I’m so thrilled to have discovered the start of a new series that I can dive in to. Book 4 in the series is out March 2019 so I have a few books to look forward to.
I really liked Jem and Will as main characters, the story is definitely Jem’s but Will is there almost from the beginning and they make a wonderful partnership so I see them both as main characters. They are wonderfully written and described. They come to life so well through their actions, reactions and emotions. I almost didn’t want the story to end and was thrilled when I found out there were more books.
This story is not for the faint-hearted, it does not shy away from the historical facts of surgery and teaching techniques of the time period. Much as I would love to explore the past the descriptions in this book made me glad I live in this time where we have anesthetic and doctors in clean white coats. The story covers every level of society from the influential medical staff to the street children who struggle to survive and who no one really cares about. The story behind the six little coffins is the backbone of the book and is just as hard hitting as the rest of it. I’m not doing spoilers but it is not something I want to imagine anyone capable of.
It’s clear the research that has gone into this story and although the book was initially written as a stand alone I’m really pleased the publishers wanted more. Like many book bloggers I have a teetering pile of books to read but this series is interspersed between them, as all my favourite series are. I can’t wait to catch up with Jem and Will again and be involved in another investigation with them. More books please!