Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons is a delightful book, an absolute treat. It’s a detective novel in the cosy/classic style set in the 1920s, but the pace and humour give it quite a modern flavour.
Arthur Skelton, celebrated barrister, agrees to represent Mary Dutton. Mary is accused of killing her husband by poison, and it looks like an open-and-shut case. Can Skelton prove her innocence?
It’s quirky. And it’s funny. The characters are vivid and fun. It has undertones of P.G. Wodehouse, but with the humour coming from witty, clever dialogue rather than slapstick situational comedy. I found myself giggling repeatedly and annoying my husband by reading quotes, which, admittedly, out of context weren’t all that funny but in context were deliciously entertaining.
It’s most definitely character driven. Arthur Skelton – “six foot three, with a face like a horse” – is a hoot. His sidekick Edgar is a perfect foil. Don’t expect fiendishly clever plotting, but there’s intrigue aplenty. The basic premise – the apparently impossible defence of Mary Dutton when all the evidence is stacked squarely against her – hooks you at the start and keeps the tension high.
I can’t wait to read the next installment. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Netgalley, publisher Allison & Busby and the auther for giving me a free copy of this book. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.
Book 2 in the series: Skelton’s Guide to Suitcase Murders – David Stafford
You might also like: The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman