Pub Date: April 2006, Arrow (re-release)
Format: eBook (Nook)
Source: Purchased from BN.com
When Gregory Matthews, patriarch of the Poplars is found dead one morning, imperious Aunt Harriet blames it on the roast duck he ate for supper. After all, she had warned him about his blood pressure. But a post-mortem determines that the cause of death is much more sinister. Murder. By poison.
Suspicion falls immediately amongst his bitter, quarrelsome family. Each has a motive; each, opportunity. It falls to Superintendent Hannasyde to sift through all the secrets and lies and discover just who killed Gregory Matthews, before the killer strikes again...
I suspect more people are familiar with Georgette Heyer's Regency romances and works of historical fiction, rather than her mysteries, but she did write about a dozen of them! As opposed to her romances and historical fiction, Behold, Here's Poison and her other mysteries are set in 1930's Britain and thus were contemporary to Heyer's time. I find her approach to detective stories to be rather similar to Agatha Christie's, though Heyer doesn't quite have the knack for developing and unveiling a spellbinding mystery the way Christie does. That said, her books are almost always entertaining, if not for the quirky characters that are reminiscent of Christie mysteries, then certainly for her sharp and witty dialogues.
I have yet to read all of Heyer's mysteries and this book was my third or fourth. It is a solid effort both in terms of the mystery and investigation that follows, as well as sharp wit and quirky characters that will keep you amused throughout the entire book. Many family members have both motive and opportunity to poison Gregory Matthews and a more argumentative, distrustful bunch you will be hard-pressed to find. A hypochondriac, a moocher, a penny-pincher, a niece and nephew of whom Gregory Matthews didn't seem overly fond, and the nephew who became the head of the family... just who was it that finally had enough and decided to send Mr. Matthews on his way? Speaking of the new head of the family, Mr. Randall Matthews was certainly a character. Over-the-top affected, I couldn't decide if he was amusing or annoying. But every time he referred to someone as "my precious," I couldn't help but picture Gollum and The Ring...
Heyer also has a tendency to toss in a romance with her mysteries and frankly, I wish she wouldn't. The romance in this story just isn't believable at all and the story would have been just fine without it. So, I would say it is safe to go in knowing this will be a fun read, but don't have high hopes for the romance bit. If you want that, then be sure to pick up one of Heyer's Regency romances instead. I will say that I was surprised by the outcome and perhaps too surprised. A few more clues might have been helpful to be able to solve the mystery before it was revealed. But overall, I found it to be an entertaining read that was easy to pick up and get lost in.
Read this book...
~ If you like Georgette Heyer (particularly for her sarcastic, witty dialogues)
~ If you enjoy reading Agatha Christie