Posted 20 hours ago

A Pen Dipped in Poison: A witty and cosy mystery story, perfect for fans of Richard Osman

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A gently quirky cosy mystery with plenty of twists and turns, and an intriguing cast of characters ? The book is let down by common sense, (it was inconceivable that various bodies and the police were not notified). I loved the first book in this series so naturally I was very excited about the second one, and boy it didn’t disappoint in any way. So many of these characters were often introduced either by first or last name only, and later on referred to by the other; and often these names were dropped in conversations or hints at the plot without aiding the reader in linking back to a previous encounter, so it was hard to follow. The ladies end up helping out at the school in different capacities while they try to discover who the author of the letters could possibly be.

This makes a great light mystery read for fans of the cosy genre and those formerly or currently employed in the UK education system will find plenty familiar within these pages! The dialogue and relationships within this book are wonderful and by the end I felt I was leaving friends. It turned out that I guessed the guilty party early on, but I’m still pleased with how the mystery plot played out, as it included numerous surprises. Sometimes she wanted her husband of thirty-three years to clap her cheerfully on the back and say words to the effect of: My darling - knock the world dead!

This novel is the second in a series following three women, Thelma, Pat and Liz, who get caught up in different situations. And as the story is partly about the relationship amongst the friends, which was painfully strained for much of the book, this made this entry in the series somewhat less enjoyable read.

Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, author of A Murder of Crows --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. The plot and pacing were absolutely perfect in this one, and I was so happy that we got to learn more about the ladies’ families. I haven't read the previous book by this author and found that there were a lot of characters to keep track of and I found the 3 main characters were not particularly different and or interesting. The culprit wasn't really that hard to fathom, particularly with some of the clues dropped midway through the book. It is an easy to read cozy mystery with a good pace but as in the first book, there was some unnecessary filler, which made it drag a little in places.Bought it because I quite like 'cosy murders' without the violent details that many crime books have but I must say it just dragged on and on with waffling about the people and the letters that after about half an hour into the book I had no idea who was who and who was doing what to whom, and why etc. But, despite the poison pen letters (a stable of classic mysteries) nothing moves this plot forward. Malice and mayhem spur a school reunion of three modern Marples – and some of their Thirsk community learn a lesson they’ll never forget! A gently quirky cosy mystery with plenty of twists and turns, and an intriguing cast of characters – some endearing, some not so much!

Only this time, instead of an unexpected death it is a series of threatening poison pen letters that are disturbing the peace at their local school, which is under new management.It had a lot to say about educational system, where nowadays it is way more about the business side of things and money and not about children. I won’t talk too much about the plot other than to say it resolves (as the title indicates) around poison pen letters, and that delving into the who,what, where, why and when allows Hall to show us all over again why retired primary school teachers are really superheroes! Then, not long after, nasty letters begin arriving at the school, causing much pain and a further decline in morale (after Brittain's appointment) amongst the recipients, and evoking Liz's concern. And the theme of the poisoned pen letters and the reasons behind them just didn't quite work for me.

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