Friday, May 17, 2024

Book Beginnings: The Queen of Poisons

The Queen of Poisons
by Robert Thorogood
Poisoned Pen Press, June 2024

First sentence

Suzie Harris was on a mission.

About the Book

Description from GoodReads:

The Marlow Murder Club is on the hunt for a killer... 
Geoffrey Lushington, Mayor of Marlow, dies suddenly during a town council meeting. When traces of aconite—also known as the queen of poisons—are found in his coffee cup, the police realize he was murdered. But who did it? And why? 
The police bring Judith, Suzie, and Becks in to investigate the murder as civilian advisors right from the start, so they have free rein to interview suspects and follow the evidence to their heart's content… which is perfect because Judith has no time for rules and standard procedure. But this case has the Marlow Murder Club stumped. Who would want to kill the affable mayor of Marlow? How did they even get the poison into his coffee? And is anyone else in danger? 
The Marlow Murder Club is about to face their most difficult case yet...


Initial Thoughts

Well, my first thought isn't exactly about the book — it's about my reading/blogging life. It's been quite a while since I put up a post for Book Beginnings. Actually, it's been quite a while since I posted anything at all on the blog, aside from my list of books read. More than a year, in fact. During that time I've been through a lot of major life changes, and for a long time I wasn't able to do any reading — so there wasn't really much of anything to blog about. But time moves on, and the books are starting to whisper my name again. And now that I'm back to reading, I want to try to get back to blogging, too. They tell me it's therapeutic. 

So, here goes....

Not the most magnetic opening, is it? I'm not sure that first sentence would draw me in if I wasn't already familiar with the Marlow Murder Club books. 

The Queen of Poisons is the third book in Robert Thorogood's Marlow Murder Club series of mystery novels. The two earlier books are The Marlow Murder Club (2021), and Death Comes to Marlow (2023). 

The "Murder Club" of the series consists of three amateur sleuths — a couple of middle-aged women (Becks and Suzie) and a third member who by now should be nearing 80 (Judith was 77 in the first book). I love finding books that feature older women doing interesting things and not just waiting around for dementia to set in, while letting their offspring and nieces and nephews have all the adventures. Judith lives on her own (well, in the first two books, anyway), enjoys swimming nude in the Thames, and solves mysteries. So, naturally, I fell in love with her immediately. 

I've read and enjoyed the first two books, although I thought the second was not as satisfying as the first. That frequently happens in a book series. So I'm hoping this third offering turns out to be as intriguing as the first. 

Please note: The sentence quoted above comes from an advance reader's copy of the book. I've checked it against the UK edition which came out in January. The book is scheduled to be released in the USA in June. 

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading (or one that's caught your eye), along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a nice chance to connect with other readers and bloggers. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Books Read in 2024

Cumulative Reading List

Here's where I'll be tracking my reading in 2024. I used to aim for 50 books a year, but for 2024 I'm just hoping to do better than the dozen books I read last year. 


1. City of Glass (New York Trilogy, Book 1). Paul Auster (1985; fiction / mystery; 203 pages) 
2. Ghosts (New York Trilogy, Book 2). Paul Auster (1986; fiction / mystery; 100 pages) 
3. The Locked Room (New York Trilogy, Book 3). Paul Auster (1986; fiction / mystery; 179 pages) 
4. Heads You Lose (Inspector Cockrill #1). Christianna Brand (1941; fiction / mystery; 196 pages) 


5. Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot #8). Agatha Christie (1932; fiction / mystery; 288 pages) 
6. World's Fair. E.L. Doctorow (1985; fiction / historical fiction; 304 pages) 
7. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Chris Grabenstein (2013; fiction / children's literature; 293 pages)


8.  The Road to Lichfield. Penelope Lively (1977; fiction; 224 pages) 
9.  Experimental Film. Gemma Files (2015; fiction; 314 pages) 
10. Last House. Jessica Shattuck (2024; fiction / historical fiction; 304 pages) 


11. After Annie. Anna Quindlen (2024; fiction; 273 pages) 
12. Hamnet. Maggie O'Farrell (2020; fiction / historical fiction; 321 pages) 
13. Unexpected Night (Henry Gamadge Mysteries #1). Elizabeth Daly (1940; fiction / mystery; 221 pages)


14. The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church. Sarah McCammon (2024; nonfiction / memoir / culture; 288 pages) 
15. Oracle Night. Paul Auster (2003; fiction; 260 pages) 
16. Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey. Karen Wilkin (2009; nonfiction / art / art history; 123 pages) 
17. Power and Glory: Elizabeth II and the Rebirth of Royalty. Alexander Larman (2024; nonfiction / history; 525 pages)


18. Jane Eyre. Charlotte BrontΓ« (1847; fiction; 465 pages) 


19. The Queen of Poisons (Marlow Murder Club #3). Robert Thorogood (2024; fiction / mystery; reading now) 
20. Take Your Breath Away. Linwood Barclay (2022; fiction / mystery / thriller; reading now)
21. Every Time We Say Goodbye (Jane Austen Society #3). Natalie Jenner (2024; fiction / historical fiction; reading now)