Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: A Beautiful Poison

Allene Cutter fought hard for her childhood friends Jasper and Birdie to come to her engagement party. Her father doesn't think they are acceptable company for a young woman about to be married into one of New York's wealthiest families. When a woman at the party drops dead, the three friends are pulled into a mystery. Are the people dying all around them victims of the Spanish influenza or is something more sinister at work?

Lydia Kang transports readers into 1918 New York City, from the most opulent mansions to the clock factory where Birdie spends hours each day carefully painting dials. The mystery is a slow burn as our intrepid trio of friends try to decode the messages left with each body, armed with Allene's knowledge of chemistry and Jasper's access to the local morgue. This is one of those books that can easily send you down a bookish rabbit hole. It is easy to read about Jasper working in the morgue or Birdie painting clock faces with radium and jump right into a book like Bellevue or The Radium Girls

The author makes a bold choice, as none of the main characters is particularly likable. As eighteen year olds, they make selfish and bad decisions often. In certain books, you can tell the good guys from the bad guys. In A Beautiful Poison, almost anyone could be guilty because they all do terrible things to the people in their lives. Each time you think you might know who is behind the mysterious deaths, new information changes everything. I didn't see the ending coming at all. If you love a good mystery and a trip 100 years into the past, this is a great read.

A Beautiful Poison
By Lydia Kang
Lake Union Publishing August 2017
350 pages
Read via Netgalley

3 comments:

  1. I do love that time period! Might have to give this one a try. :)

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  2. Ooo... This sounds like it could be quite a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This sounds fun! I like the idea of reading fiction with connections to so many fascinating nonfiction books :)

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