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The Westminster Poisoner: 4 (Adventures of Thomas Chaloner) by [Gregory, Susanna]
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The Westminster Poisoner: 4 (Adventures of Thomas Chaloner) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 478 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Times have changed since the austere reign of Cromwell, and England is enjoying more freedom, particularly regarding Christmas, which now has a genuinely joyous feel. There are those, of course, who regard this new indulgence as an invitation to frippery and laxity, such as the Treasury Clerk Christopher Vine, who is working late in the Palace of Westminster, cloistered in the striking setting of the Painted Chamber. But Vine’s dedication to his job is to cost him his life -- a ruthless murderer is stalking the same building, and Vine does not have long to live. More deaths take place, taking the gloss off the festive season, and the Lord Chancellor begins to feel that his investigations are under threat, compromised by the machinations of his enemies. He suspects that the killer is a clerk, Greene, and commissions the resourceful Thomas Chaloner to investigate.

This is the premise of Susanna Gregory’s The Westminster Poisoner, and if you're at all familiar with her highly reliable brand of historical crime fiction, you will know that you are in for something of a treat. As Chaloner begins to unpeel the layers of deception around the killings -- and finds that there is much interest in his employer’s background -- he is plunged into a morass of corruption and double-dealing in which no one can be trusted.

As always with Gregory, the impeccable plotting is matched by the vivid conjuring up of a long past year: 1663 is brought to life for the reader in all its splendid and squalid aspects, with Chaloner the perfect guide through this (at times) surrealistic universe, often very like the present day (the political corruption might suggest a few modern-day parallels), but also massively different from the Britain we know. Even if you feel you have no taste for historical crime fiction, it might be in your interest to overcome your prejudices in this case. --Barry Forshaw

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"Excellent." "Publishers Weekly""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1172 KB
  • Print Length: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (2 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004DNWDUA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,508 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Restoration London has its fifth outing and Gregory gives way to the superb pairing of Matthew and Michael in the "Bartholomew" series by havnig our big-boned senior proctor take the guise of the arrogant, intelligent, yet socially inept surgeon, Wiseman. After all, every Asterix must have his faithful Obelix. This time we are found hunting the streets of Westminster for a serial murderer. Carefully constrained within the royal microcosm of a decadaent Whitehall - and the odd foray outside to coffee houses - Thomas Chaloner finds himself tasked by the Earl with solving three clerk murders - Langston, Vine and Chetwynd. Unfortunately, the Earl has already decided that another clerk - Greene - is the killer. Thomas is ordered to find evidence of Greene's guilt and also locate the missing Bernini statue by the end of the twelve days of Misrule (A Killer in Winter anyone?) or lose his job to the utterly charming sycophant, Colonel James Turner. The latter regards sleuthing as best done between the silken sheets of the court ladies and is very good at it. Trouble is, Tom believes Greene innocent. His handy alibis are hard to refute.
As is Gregory's wont, we are led into a labyrinth of clues, half-observations, misunderstandings and downright lies. Like the Gordian knot we need a keen sword to unravel and understand the careful court facades of frippery, corruption and mendacity. Given the amount of information thrown at us we quickly find ourselves, like Thomas, overwhelmed. Trying to fathom out the ridiculous and petty intrigues of Lady Castlemaine and the ovine ambition of Bess Gold amongst the more blatant desires of the courtiers for whom a hedonistic lifestyle is the sole ambition proves an immense headache. In this one, everyone has another agenda.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susanna has a very fertile mind, and is yet another author who researches so well. I only wish Challoner did not get into as many scrapes as he does - this is the only criticism I have. I also have most of her Matthew Bartholomew novels all taking place or based in Cambridge from about the 1150's on - all of them a really great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...from the pen of Susanna Gregory. Chaloner is investigating another tortuous tale with plenty of twists and turns. Reading them in order is also helping to note the various developments in both his character and historically.
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I very much enjoy the Chaloner novels and I am delighted with the Westminster Poisoner. There is a crispness about it which seems to indicate that Chaloner has found his own voice and is developing his own character - growing and flourishing from Gregory's ideas and skill as a writer.
The killings are not hidden from view, they appear boldly in the narrative at well planned intervals - there is lots of room for the reader to speculate on where they would have gone next and then a cry of joy when you see where Susan Gregory and Thomas have gone.
If I had this book in hard copy I would find it hard to pass it on to a book swap or sale; I'd lend it but would always want it back to sit on my shelves !
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Sussana Gregory is a master at writing historic mysteries. These books are so well written they are a joy to read. This series of books are real page turners. from the minute you start reading you will be unable to put the book down. I have now introduced eirht friends to Chandler and his adventures.
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By J. Chippindale TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 April 2014
Format: Paperback
As an avid reader of Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew series of books A Plague On Both Your Houses, Book 1, 1996 I was a little reticent about reading the Thomas Chaloner series of books, A Conspiracy Of Violence, Book 1, 2006 of which this is the fourth. My reasoning was that first of all the Chaloner books would not be as good as the Bartholomew ones and second, it stood to reason that if the author was writing the Chaloner novels she could not be adding to the Matthew Bartholomew ones at the same time. Fortunately the author is reasonably prolific and there is not too long between books.

Admittedly for me, the Chaloner series started slowly but his character has steadily grown on me and now I look forward to the next book in both series with equal enthusiasm.

In this book there are two dead people on literally the first few pages and Thomas is called upon to solve the mystery by his master, the Earl of Clarendon, who is also the Lord Chancellor. At the same time the Earl expects him to look into the disappearance of a statue that was a particular favourite of the King. The Earl, for some reason believes that a man called Greene is responsible for the deaths of the two court officials. Chaloner is apt to take this reasoning with a pinch of salt as he is sure that Greene is innocent and cannot understand why the Earl insists he keeps an eye on the man. Thomas tells the Earl that he cannot be in two places at once and his surveillance skills are being sorely tested because of that fact.
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