Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Simple Way of Poison by Leslie Ford

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Handsome, sympathetic Grace Latham, is placed into the hate-ridden household of the tempestuous Nash family and their hangers-on: cruel Randall Nash; his second wife, lovely Iris, and her equally-lovely stepdaughter, Lowell; his impulsive son, Angus - and their host of craftily-contrived friends, lovers, pensioners, servants, all outwardly innocent, one inwardly, fiendishly guilty!

Yes, I do buy books based on the cover alone.  There is a used bookstore about 10 minutes from my home, and every time I go in there, I have to stop and look to see what Pocket Books they have had come in since my last visit.  Most of the time, they are by authors I've never head of, and since half of them are mysteries, all the plots start to blend in when I'm trying to read the blurb on the back covers.  So most of them time, when it comes to a decision between books, I end up going with the one I like the covers of, and I loved this one.  The colors, graphics, and font all work in harmony, love it.

I've never heard of Leslie Ford before I picked this book up, and from what I can tell it's the third book in the Grace Latham/Colonel John Primrose series.  Set in the shadow of Washington, D.C., it's an interesting glimpse into the lives of the wealthy and politically connected of the time.  Grace is an interesting character.  She's a widow who raised two sons, at least I think that's the number. She's intelligent and has a dry wit.  She has a temper and isn't afraid to say how she feels. She finds herself in the company of Colonel John Primrose a lot, but she doesn't seem to be in that great a hurry to marry him, quite the opposite really.  She really doesn't even give away how she feels about him, though he subtly hints that he wouldn't be amiss to having it go somewhat further.  She is headstrong, loyal to her friends, and probably has way too much curiosity for her own good.  She didn't really solve the case, the Colonel did that, but I'm not sure it would have been solved without her.  And I say that, having no clue what she really did, on her own, to really bring the answers to light.  I like her, and I like her a lot.  She really isn't any different from many of Mary Robert Rinehart's heroines, but since I know this is a series, I think I'll get to know her a bit more.

As far as the mystery goes, this one had me stumped until the end.  I never suspected the killer was going to be who it was, but once the pieces were put together, it made complete and utter sense.  It couldn't have been anyone else.  I'm not sure if the solution was fair or not, there were a couple of hints given, but most of the evidence was gathered off page.  It was a solid read, the language wasn't too dated, even if a few attitudes were, and the narrative flowed naturally.  I think the hardest part is going to be finding other books in the series.

Challenges: Vintage Mystery Bingo (O5)


TracyK said...

A great review, Ryan. You really make me want to find one of these books from this series. You are lucky to have that nice used bookstore nearby.

Lisa said...

I've never heard of Pocket books. Gonna have to keep my eye out for them next time I'm out used book shopping.

Alexia561 said...

Have to admit that that's a great cover, even if I'm not a mystery fan. So jealous that you have such an awesome used bookstore so close to home! :)

Bev Hankins said...

I love these pocket-size books too! And Leslie Ford is great--I've reviewed a few of these myself...and have a few more waiting on the TBR shelf. Glad to see you enjoyed her. This is one I'll have to look out for, especially if I can find that cover.