Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Pinch of Poison by Alyssa Maxwell @Alyssa__Maxwell #Historical #CozyMystery #Suspense

The Plot:

In post-World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls…

Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon at the school to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks do more than spoil the broth—they add up to a recipe for disaster when the school’s headmistress, Miss Finch, is poisoned.

The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So, Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. Did one of the girls resent the headmistress enough to do her in? Did a teacher bear a grudge? What about the school nurse, clearly shell-shocked from her service in the war? No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school’s governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch’s “modern” methods.

But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or the cornered killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson.

About the Author:

Alyssa Maxwell is the author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries, a historical series featuring the glamour of a bygone era and a sleuth who hails from a less “well-heeled” branch of the Vanderbilt family. The series debuted in March 2014 with Murder at The Breakers (a USA Today Bestseller week of Sept. 4, 2014), followed by Murder at Marble House in September 2014, and Murder at Beechwood in May 2015. Alyssa is also debuting an English-set historical series, A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries, set in the post WWI era. Murder Most Malicious released on Dec. 29, 2015. She and her family live in South Florida, and she is a member of the Florida Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Novelists Inc., and the Florida Romance Writers.


A Pinch of Poison is the second book in a series, yet it stands on its own quite well. There are enough references to the first book to give a reader a pretty good idea what happened, and to maybe pique one’s interest enough to want to go back and read it, without making it feel necessary to this story.

Lady Phoebe Renshaw, with the help of her maid, Eva Huntsford, has planned a charity event at their alma-matter, the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies. Eva attended on a scholarship, but did not graduate due to family issues. But the event is ruined when the headmistress is poisoned. Who did it and why? There are plenty of suspects for the young ladies to investigate before they figure out who did it and why, and Ms. Maxwell kept me on my toes trying to figure it out with them.

My only problem with A Pinch of Poison is the combination of the title and cover art, which was a cartoon. Looking at them, I thought the book would be a humorous murder mystery, but it wasn’t. Yes, it’s a cozy mystery, but I was expecting humor as well, and I believe the cover art was a bit misleading. While illustration can be less expensive than stock photography, sometimes it’s just not appropriate—and I believe this is one of those times.

So, don’t be deceived by the cover. A Pinch of Poison is a serious cozy mystery, but it is well worth reading, even if you haven’t read the first book in the series.

Author Website:
Warnings:  None
Length:  304 Pages
Hardcover:  $25.00
Digital:  $11.99

Thanks for visiting.


  1. Thank you SO much for this review! I appreciate your time and your thoughts. There is one correction, though - the digital price is $11.99. :-)

  2. You're welcome. Price will be fixed posthaste.