Review: Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons

Good Morning and Happy Thursday!

I want to wish a very happy publication today to the book I have reviewed for you all today. This one ticked off a lot of boxes for me: murder, mystery, quirky characters, and England. I’m so happy to share my thoughts on it!

Thanks to NetGalley and Allison and Busby for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. 🙂

In David Stafford’s Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons, after Mary Dutton is accused of murdering her husband, lawyer Arthur Skelton is called in to defend her. Skelton is riding his own small wave of fame after successfully defending a previous client in a highly-publicized case. In this case, he maneuvers through a tense political climate, a family history full of secrets, and a corrupt police department in an attempt to free his client.

It took me a couple of chapter to really sink into this one, but once I was in, I was in. The cast of characters is varied and entertaining. I loved Skelton—his slightly offhand, tongue-in-cheek manner was humorous and refreshing. His wife, Mila, is the epitome of a strong, forward-thinking woman (looked down upon in 1920s-30s England), and Edgar, Skelton’s clerk, is somehow both formal and quirky. The story moved along at a solid pace and there was nothing too inexplicable or over-the-top; I don’t love over-the-top plot lines in a mystery. Normally, in mysteries I read, the main character is out for the truth of the matter, whatever the outcome. What I found intriguing about this one is that since Skelton is a lawyer, the human part of him wants the truth, but even more, the lawyer part of him wants reasonable doubt, another motive elsewhere that would get his client released. It is a different mindset than what I have been accustomed to and I liked it. My only complaint is that I wish the wrap-up had been a little neater, but it did not ruin the story for me.

I definitely recommend this one. If you’re anything like me and enjoy mysteries, especially British mysteries, pick this one up!

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