Sunday, 6 March 2016

REVIEW - Beloved Poison by E S Thomson


Title: Beloved Poison

Author: E S Thomson

Publisher: Constable

Release Date: 3rd March 2016

Source: ARC

The object I drew out was dusty and mildewed, and blotched with dark rust-coloured stains. It smelt of time and decay, sour, like old books and parchments. The light from the chapel's stained glass window blushed red upon it, and upon my hands, as if the thing itself radiated a bloody glow.

Ramshackle and crumbling, trapped in the past and resisting the future, 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.

In a trail that leads from the bloody world of the operating theatre and the dissecting table to the notorious squalor of Newgate and the gallows, Jem's adversary proves to be both powerful and ruthless. As St Saviour's destruction draws near, the dead are unearthed from their graves whilst the living are forced to make impossible choices. And murder is the price to be paid for the secrets to be kept.
I will be honest, I am not usually one for historical books but this is a very special book so I made the exception as it is full of atmosphere and a ickle bit of gore!

Beloved Poison is set during the Victoria era within the decrepit walls of the soon to be demolished St Saviour's Infirmary, the story follows young Jem Flockhart, an apothecary within the hospital.

Jem is hiding a rather delicate secret, she is a girl hiding in plain view in a man's world, the doctors and surgeons are a mixed bunch of old school covered in blood types to the new maybe we should think about dirt types!

Jem is tasked with showing the young Will Quatermain around the hospital, he is there to help clear the graveyard before the hospital is levelled, whilst exploring their decaying surroundings they come across a disturbing discovery in the chapel of the hospital, six small coffins hidden within a wall, each contains dried flowers and rags, what do they mean, what sinister secrets does this building hide and of course who put them there?

This is actually a beautiful book, I am not going to spoil the story but the whole atmosphere of the book is haunting, the hospital especially is dark and dank, it gives you the shivers.  The perfect setting for a Victorian crime, you can almost hear the damp creeping down the walls and in one gruesome amputation scene well you can feel the patients pain.

For fans of a good mystery, this is worth checking out.

Thank you Constable and Robinson for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


 


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