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Before the Poison Hardcover – 18 Aug 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (18 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444704834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444704839
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter has written twenty-two books in the bestselling DCI Banks series as well as two collections of short stories and three standalone novels, the most recent of which is Number One bestseller BEFORE THE POISON. The critically acclaimed crime novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.

Peter's DCI Banks is now a major ITV1 drama by Left Bank productions. Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart, Ballykissangel) plays Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe (The Bill, Murphy's Law) plays DI Annie Cabbot. The first series aired in Autumn 2011 with an adaptation of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, the second in Autumn 2012, and the third in February 2014.

Peter's standalone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA's 2013 Dilys Award as well as the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. This was Peter's sixth Arthur Ellis award.

Find out more from Peter's website, www.inspectorbanks.com, or visit his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/peterrobinsonauthor.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Littlewood on 22 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will start by saying that I am an avid Peter Robinson fan, and have read all of his DCI Banks books and his short stories, and loved every one (even Badboy!).
I too didn't realise this wasn't a Banks story until at least half way through, by which point it seemed unlikely he was going to make an appearance.
what is missing in this book are the pen-pictures; I felt like I knew Banks, I had a perfect picture in my head of what he was like (nothing like he was in the TV series I might add), what his colleagues were like etc, due to Robinson's descriptive writng style- I even down loaded some of the music mentioned in his books!
It doesn't seem to happen in this book, the characters aren't developed as well and I didn't feel them at all. I can't even remember the lead characters name. Yorkshire however, is, as always eloquentley and passionately discribed and makes me want to live there.
Also, I could finish a Banks book in a couple of days, this took me weeks as it's much more 'put-downable'.

A good enough book, but nowhere near his best
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Warnie Wombat on 20 Jan 2012
Format: Hardcover
Before the Poison is one of those books that grips you from the very first page and never lets go with an encapsulating fluidity that you come to expect from Peter Robinson - certainly from my experience! Immediately transported back to April 1953 we follow the final 15 painful seconds of Grace Fox's life as she walks to the gallows, her dignity intact, following her conviction for the murder of her husband Dr Ernest Fox earlier that year.

Once at the gallows, she was placed in position over the chalked "T" on the trapdoor, and the assistant pinioned her ankles with a leather strap. Mr. Pierrepoint took from his pocket a white cotton hood, which he placed over Grace's head, then he carefully and gently adjusted the leather-sheathed noose around her neck. When all was to his satisfaction, he stepped back, removed the safety pin and pushed the lever away from him in one sharp, swift motion. The trapdoor opened and Grace fell to her death.

There's something mystical about this book, something I can't quite put my finger on but the house, the surrounds, the back story and Chris Lowndes all combine to deliver a breathtaking narrative that is overwhelmingly captivating. When Robinson first introduced Kilnsgate House - Yorkshire - it didn't take long before I was swept up in the romanticism and began to ponder if a hostile takeover was possible. I wanted Lowndes out of the house and I wanted to move in - at any cost! Moving from room to room as our protagonist explores his new surroundings I imagined lighting a log fire, cooking in the kitchen and sitting down to compose a piano sonata on the grand piano. It's quite frightening the hold Robinson's narrative had over me and I honestly began to believe the house existed and it was well within my grasp. Powerful stuff!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sally b on 7 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover
well done peter robinson not a banks novel but i think even better you will not be disappointed if you get this book i like the characters but better still nice that yorkshire is in you noval so well done peter robinson cannot wait to see what next ?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Harry Coe Bean on 10 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle edition of this based on my reading over the years of most of Robinson's Alan Banks stories. The basic plot of the novel is not particularly original; someone buys an empty old house, finds out that evil deeds were done there in the past, believes the wrong person was found guilty, carries out own investigation and hey-ho you have a mystery novel with plenty of ending options. For the benchmark example of how to make this type of plot work best I would suggest Colin Dexter's "The Wench is dead" is a good as any and better than most.
For me the novel plods a bit initially and didn't seem to come alive until we start to read extracts from Grace's [somewhat far-fetched] diary, written during the Second World War and detailing her experiences, both in the far east and in Normandy in the time immediately post D-Day.
But my major gripe is that the twists and turns in the plot became more and more predictable as I neared the end of the book. I was waiting for that final plot twist at the end and it just wasn't there. Sorry, Mr Robinson, I'm a genuine fan of yours, but this one seems more like a tummy-filler than a memorable meal!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By richard Brown on 5 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover
Last year I reviewed 'Bad Boy' and gave it one star. I thought it a tired and predictable read. Now Peter Robinson has given DCI Banks a rest and has written his best book for years.

'Before the Poison' has an evocative atmosphere. The characters and locations are brought convincingly to life as the story unfolds.
I was reminded a little of Robert Goddard's past work and a passing (slight) simalarity to his novel 'Set in Stone'. Robinson's book is more a novel than a mystery thriller and even though there are some twists, there is not the threat of danger lurking in the wings ala Goddard. This does not in any way diminish the novel though, as it is an engrossing and superbly written story.

I do hope that the success of this book spurs Peter Robinson on to write more 'stand alone' novels in the future.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Scott on 13 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having long been a fan of Peter Robinson's work I bought this book as soon as I saw it, not bothering to discover that it wasn't one of his 'Alan Banks' stories, but one of his infrequent departures from his usual Banks crime thriller/detection tales.

It is very readable, but certainly not one of his best. As another reviewer has remarked, the characters all speak in the same, rather flat way, and are, despite vivid descriptive passages, a bit one-dimensional ( or do I mean two? ) and I found it quite difficult to engage with any of them.

What I did love ( and always do about Robinson's work ) were the descriptive passages about Leeds in the 1950's and '60's. Both the author and myself grew up in Leeds at around the same time, and to read his delicious account of the exotic cigarettes ( Sobranie Cocktails, Sobranie Blacks, oval Passing Clouds ) one could buy from a small tobacconists shop on Boar Lane ( yes, it really existed - I used to buy mine from it! ) and about bonfire nights in the back-to-back terraced streets, was to be instantly transported back in time. He KNOWS Leeds, and to another 'ex-pat' his descriptions are priceless. These, alone, made the book worthwhile to me. But although the story will pass a pleasant few hours, there is something rather too formulaic about the format which disappointed. Anyone wanting to try a non-Banks Robinson would do well to choose 'Caedmon's Song' which is a far darker and more gripping read.

Nothing will put me off buying his next book, though!
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