In A Beautiful Poison, long-time friends Birdie, Allene and Jasper work together to solve the murder of Florence, a woman who is disliked by a number of people. Things become complicated when several more people with close connections to the three friends die.
Pros: The writing itself is very good and keeps the reader’s attention. I like historical fiction, and the setting, New York (specifically Bellevue Hospital) in 1918 is interesting. The author does a good job communicating the emphasis on social status that occurred during this time, and the scenes at Bellevue are well done. The murderer doesn’t turn out to be who I thought it might be, and that is an interesting twist.
Cons: The characters are not likable, and I had a hard time connecting with them. I did understand Birdie better and how the abuse she suffered influenced her actions as the story progressed. However, I believe stories work better if the reader can find something to like about the characters even if they are flawed. Andrew, Birdie, Allene and Jasper are extremely self-centered and seem incapable of thinking about anything but their own agendas. Allene redeems herself somewhat by taking care of Holly at the book’s conclusion, but I still didn’t care for her. Ernie is probably the least selfish character, but I had a hard time understanding what he saw in Birdie, Allene and Jasper.
Overall, A Beautiful Poison is worth reading. I would give the book a 4/5, and I would be interested in reading more books by this author.
I shared my thoughts about the animated movie Zootopia on my other blog.