Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Perfectly Delightful Poison

The Perfect Poison
By Amanda Quick

I have to admit up front that I am a big fan of the Arcane Society novels, both contemporary and historical. While I like some better than others, I tend to like them all in general, and The Perfect Poison is no exception. Heroine Lucinda Bromley is the kind of brainiac-with-a-sense-humor who always appeals to me. She has the added appeal of being suspected of poisoning her feckless fiancĂ© in Borgia-like fashion by slipping a deadly substance into his drink using a ring designed for the purpose. Although we know Lucinda is innocent, the rest of polite society does not, and she is relegated to its fringes. A gifted botanist whose psychic abilities allow her to sense and manipulate the energies of plants, Lucinda sometimes works with Scotland Yard to help them detect particularly tricky cases of poisoning. It is on one such case that she comes across a poison that could only have been made with a plant recently stolen from her conservatory. Given her history, Lucinda fears she will be implicated in the crime, and so she calls in Caleb Jones, psychic investigator and direct descendent of the Arcane Society founder Sylvester Jones. The members of the Jones family are investigating a few mysteries of their own as they try to track down the shadowy group that is attempting to recreate the legendary Founder’s Formula. Caleb, whose gift is seeing patterns where others see only random facts or coincidences, suspects that the two cases are related. Lucinda and Caleb join forces, tracking down thieves, murderers and the threads of an elusive conspiracy.

I think that The Perfect Poison may be my favorite of all the historical Arcane Society novels. I really enjoyed the botany aspect, and the fact that the bespectacled and studious heroine was no slouch in the tough broad department. Caleb’s single mindedness and eccentricities were also appealing; he is very masculine without being overbearing. Both plot twists and subtle humor abound, and the cast of secondary characters is great. I was happy to see the return of Lady Milden, the Society’s first professional matchmaker. All in all, this is another fun, fast paced read from my favorite librarian-turned-author, and I am already looking forward to the next Arcane Society book.

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