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Before the Poison Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Abridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 275 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; Abridged edition (18 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444722581
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444722581
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.4 x 14.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 466,316 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.

Product Description

Review

If Robinson is to turn out one-off novels as assured as this perhaps we wouldn't mind too much if Alan Banks was to retire and take up beekeeping in Sussex. (Barry Forshaw, Daily Express)

With this stand-alone novel, Mr. Robinson - best-known for his award-winning Inspector Banks mystery series - has fashioned a gripping tale that brings to mind not only old-time Hollywood but also British "golden age" storytelling in the Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier tradition (Wall Street Journal)

With adept professionalism, Robinson brings to the reader a story that is tantalisingly unravelled like a poisoned present . . . a haunting, moving tale that will get you thinking days after the last word has been read (crimesquad.com)

Praise for Peter Robinson (:)

A gripping tale of guilt and self-sacrifice, it will haunt you to the final page - and beyond (Bella)

'Peter Robinson has for too long, and unfairly, been in the shadow of Ian Rankin; perhaps PIECE OF MY HEART, the latest in the Chief Inspector Banks series, will give him the status he deserves, near, perhaps even at the top of, the British crime writers' league' (Marcel Berlins, The Times)

'Brilliant! . . . Gut-wrenching plotting, alongside heart-wrenching portraits of the characters who populate his world, not to mention the top-notch police procedure.' (Jeffery Deaver)

A police procedural that grips like pliers (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

Number One bestselling author Peter Robinson turns his hand to an atmospheric and suspenseful standalone novel.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having, many years ago, read and thoroughly enjoyed 'Caedmon's Song' (I was staying at an isolated Dorset coastal cottage at the time), I expected much from this 'stand alone' Peter Robinson offering. I tend to avoid 'series' novels in which the same hero (in Robinson's case, Inspector Banks) pops up over and over again. 'Before the Poison' started well enough, but, once we got to the point where every piece of the jigsaw was preceded by a long extract from the hanged heroine's journal, I began to become exasperated with the book. It is in any case overlong at getting on for 450 pages in the paperback edition. The heroine, incidentally, is one Grace Fox, a woman hanged some 60 years earlier for the murder of her husband. Since she has been hanged, she is an 'absent' heroine -rather as Rebecca is absent in the eponymous novel by Daphne du Maurier. The grammar is impeccable, even didactic, and the repeated allusions to music, both classical and jazz, quite got on my nerves after a time. So what has changed since I read 'Caedmon's Song'? It is true that I have, in the interim, read many distinguished novels. However, remembering the way the earlier work caught my imagination, I think 'Before the Poison' must be an inferior essay. The hero, a film-score composer named Christopher Lowndes is a most unlikely character, but his neuroses are not without foundation, as we discover near the end of the book. I suppose, if you skip the 'journal' bits, it consitutes a good, light read; but wouldn't that be a bit like listening to a version of one of the Schubert Impromptus Mr Lowndes keeps on about, with the central section excised? Then, come to think of it, Peter Robinson is no Schubert - and no Daphne du Maurier either!
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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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