Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Perfect Poison - Amanda Quick

Plagued by rumors that she poisoned her fiancé, Lucinda Bromley manages to live on the fringes of polite society, tending her beloved plants-and occasionally consulting on a murder investigation. For the notorious botanist possesses a unique talent: She can detect almost any type of poison, especially ones that have their origins in the botanical kingdom.

But the death of a lord has shaken Lucinda to her core. At the murder scene, she picks up traces of a poison containing a very rare species of fern. So rare, in fact, that only one specimen exists in all of England-and it was stolen from her conservatory just last month.

To keep her name out of the inquest and to find the murderer, Lucinda hires fellow Arcane Society member Caleb Jones who runs a psychical investigation agency. A descendant of the founder of the Society, Jones is very skillful at protecting its secrets-and frighteningly good getting at the truth. Immediately, Lucinda senses both a raw power and an undeniable intensity in the imposing man.

But as a nearly overwhelming desire blooms between Caleb and Lucinda, they are drawn into the dark heart of a deadly conspiracy that can be traced to the early days of the Arcane Society -and to a legacy of madness that could plunge Caleb into the depths of his own tortured soul...

I must confess that I hadn't picked up one of Amanda Quick's books in a long time and I was a bit undecided about reading one in the middle of a series. But Rosario's review intrigued me and the book was available so I decided to give it a go. And I am very glad that I did. I'm not sure if I will pick up the others in the series but this was a book I enjoyed.

I had no trouble with the paranormal aspects of the story and the characters' talents, they didn't overwhelm the story and the little bits I might have trouble with I put it down as continuity knowledge I did not have. There wasn't too much information about the Arcane Society but I did not feel that I needed more to follow Lucinda and Caleb.

Because this is definitely their story. After they meet and Lucinda hires him to find the truth about the murders they start spending more and more time together and it's easy to see how they are wary of each other and, at the same time, find something that attracts them. After they give in to that attraction Lucinda is ready to accept her feelings but Caleb has problems accepting what they have and where it might lead them. I really enjoyed it that she was strong and determined to help him.

What I also liked was the oppressive atmosphere one feels for most of the book. I think it was perfect for a Victorian set murder mystery.

Grade: 4/5

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