Before The Poison

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Before The Poison

by Peter Robinson

McClelland & Stewart | October 4, 2011 | Hardcover

Before The Poison is rated 2.5 out of 5 by 2.
From bestselling author Peter Robinson comes this atmospheric, suspenseful, and thrilling standalone novel

Through the years of success in Hollywood composing film scores, Chris always promised his wife they'd return to the Yorkshire Dales one day. Now a widower, Chris feels he must not forget his promise. Back in the Dales, he rents an isolated house that will allow him the space to grieve and the peace to compose his piano sonata. But when he finds that the house was the scene of a murder in the 1950s, and the convicted murderer was one of the last women hanged in England, he finds himself increasingly distracted by the events of sixty years before . . .

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 9.26 × 6.23 × 1.33 in

Published: October 4, 2011

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771076223

ISBN - 13: 9780771076220

Found in: Mystery and Suspense

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Something different from Robinson Peter Robinson has long been one of my favourite authors and I pick up anything with his name on it, knowing I'll be in for a good read. His latest book Before the Poison, is not part of his series featuring Inspector Banks, but is instead, a stand alone work. Chris Lowndes left England when he was younger for the United States. He made quite a name for himself as a movie score composer. When his wife dies, Chris decides it's time to return home to England. He and Laura had planned to retire there. He buys an isolated house, sight unseen. When he arrives at the home, he is curious about the former inhabitants of the house. When he finds that it was the site of the murder of local physician, Dr. Fox and that his wife Grace was hanged for that murder, Chris indulges his curiosity and begins looking further into the trial. Curiosity quickly turns into almost obsession as he begins to doubt the official version of what really happened. " I had a curious sensation that the shy, half-hidden house was waiting for me, that it had been waiting for some time." This was a very different read from the Banks books. The pacing is much slower, taking time to build the layers of the story slowly and carefully. We follow Chris as he becomes increasingly insistent on discovering more about Grace. The story is told from three sources - Chris's inquiries, excerpts from a book called Famous Trials and finally bits from Grace's own journal, kept during her wartime nursing years. I found the journal entries especially poignant and extremely well written. Much time is spent on developing the characters, their reasoning and their emotions. And this absolutely works for this story - anything faster would have ruined the atmospheric, period piece tone and feel of the tale. Some of that atmospheric feel comes from Chris's thinking he's seen something in the mirror of an old wardrobe in the house. There is another 'incident' such as this in Chris's childhood and I wondered if this would be explained or used in the story further. It wasn't, but added another layer to Chris's obsession. A revelation I didn't see coming late in the book does much to explain Chris's behaviour. Robinson has always injected music into the Banks books. The Inspector's music collection and choices always provide a soundtrack for the story. This is continued in Before the Poison as well. Chris's choice of music often sent me online to listen to Robinson's selection of musical background. Although others may find the pacing and lack of action a bit too slow, I enjoyed the change of pace from an author I have followed for many years, but Banks still remains my favourite. Before the Poison deserves to be slowly savoured under a single lamp, by a crackling fire in a house with creaking floors....
Date published: 2011-10-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst book Sadly, this is the worst book that Peter Robinson has written. Poor characterisation, plodding red herrings and seeming repetitions of plotline. Really disappointing book that I had been looking forward to reading.
Date published: 2011-10-10

– More About This Product –

Before The Poison

by Peter Robinson

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 9.26 × 6.23 × 1.33 in

Published: October 4, 2011

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771076223

ISBN - 13: 9780771076220

Read from the Book

Famous Trials: Grace Elizabeth Fox, April 1953, by Sir Charles Hamilton Morley Grace Elizabeth Fox rose from her bed and dressed with the aid of her young Attending Officer Mary Swann at 6.30 AM on the morning of 23rd April, 1953. She ate a light breakfast of toast, marmalade and tea, then she busied herself writing letters to her family and friends. After a small brandy to steady her nerves shortly before 8.00 AM, she spent the following hour alone with the Chaplain. At thirty seconds before 9.00 AM, Mr. Albert Pierrepoint and his assistant entered Grace’s cell, and with his usual polite deference and dispatch, Mr. Pierrepoint tied her hands behind her back with a soft calfskin strap and escorted her the short distance to the Execution House directly above. It was a grey, rainy morning, and the stone steps were dark and slick with rain. The small party entered the House, where the Governor, the doctor and two witnesses were already waiting, at 9.00 AM precisely. According to later accounts, Grace comported herself with great dignity throughout, and she never faltered in her steps or uttered a sound, except for a brief shudder and audible inhalation of breath when she first saw the rope. Once at the gallows, she was placed in position over the chalked ‘T’ on the trapdoor, and the assistant pinioned her ankles with a leather strap. Mr. Pierrepoint took from his pocket a white cotton hood, which he placed over Grace’s head, then he carefully and gently adjusted the leather-shea
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From the Publisher

From bestselling author Peter Robinson comes this atmospheric, suspenseful, and thrilling standalone novel

Through the years of success in Hollywood composing film scores, Chris always promised his wife they'd return to the Yorkshire Dales one day. Now a widower, Chris feels he must not forget his promise. Back in the Dales, he rents an isolated house that will allow him the space to grieve and the peace to compose his piano sonata. But when he finds that the house was the scene of a murder in the 1950s, and the convicted murderer was one of the last women hanged in England, he finds himself increasingly distracted by the events of sixty years before . . .

About the Author

Yorkshire-born Peter Robinson, a long-time Toronto resident, is one of the world's top writers of crime fiction and a winner of numerous awards, including the United States' Edgar Award; the British Dagger in the Library Award; France's prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière; Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Award; and, in Canada, several Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Awards. In 2010, he was given the Crime Writers of Canada's Derrick Murdoch Award for his outstanding contribution to crime fiction, the Harbourfront Festival Prize for a body of work, and he was also awarded an honorary degree by the University of Windsor. His novels are published around the world and have been translated into nineteen languages.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Peter Robinson:

"Robinson, actually seems to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time." 
— Otto Penzler

"Robinson is incapable of writing a dull sentence." 
— People Magazine

"Robinson quietly and methodically stretches the boundries of crime fiction." 
— National Post

"Robinson, of course, is among the upper elite of crime writers...."
— Hamilton Spectator