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on 19 May 2017
I was told about these books and was advised i would like them as love Daisy Dalrymple books. however i tottaly disliked the characters in this book and found them unreal. Lord Edward is supposed to be this real go get em character but acts like a wet fish around Verity, who is unlikable character as far as i am concerned. these books are not for me at all, as long winded story line that was solved in the last 2 chapters.
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on 19 October 2011
It's 1935 and we are introduced to Lord Edward Corinth, upright but loveable British aristocrat, and the independent, rather contrary Verity Browne, journalist and paid member of the Communist Party yet from a bit of a rich background herself. Both are on their way to a dinner at Mersham Castle, Edward's brother Gerald's country seat, where the Duke is trying to promote peace between the nations of Britain and Germany, to avoid another war like the last at all costs.
But someone has other plans than peace, and the late arrival of Edward and Verity gives a murderer the cover to poison the duke's wonderful port. General Craig, one of the guests, dies before them all, and though the feeling is he must have taken his own life, that verdict sits poorly on the shoulders of Edward and Verity, who decide to investigate further.

This is the first book in a wonderful series of 1930s murder mysteries featuring Edward and Verity, but unfortunately for me, it didn't quite live up to some of the other stories in the series, which I read beforehand. Chock-full of politics and war, which of course was very much the order of the day, it just seemed to me that the mystery fell by the wayside a little as we followed this and the background lives of Edward, and in particular, Verity and the Communist Party. Though there was some sleuthing, it didn't seem to me to be done very logically or heartily, even though both sleuths maintained they were sure the victim had been murdered and they wanted to see justice done. Also a little irritant constant use of the word 'bourgeois'...

Anyway, still worth a look, particularly if you've loved nearly all the rest of the series, as I have, but not the best.
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on 17 July 2010
I like my country house murder mysteries. I really do. So I was quite excited when I saw this. Started with this one, the first in the series. However, I've got to say it disappoints. Lord Edward Corinth is a detective/ man about town and a clear homage to Lord Peter Wimsey. There however, the comparisons with the divine Ms Sayers end. Lord Edward never gets beyond caricature. The dialogue is pure public school golly gosh. I am afraid however that the real annoyance is Verity. She's a Communist but certainly has no problem mixing with the upper classes and appears to have principles that extend no further than her own convenience. This makes her come across as either a freeloader or a hypocrite. She just doesn't ring true at all and she doesn't improve with further acquaintance. This gets three stars because the period detail is OK and if you were stuck on a train with nothing much to read, you could perfectly well read this and it would pass the time. But that's it. Just a bit 'meh' all round I am afraid!
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on 5 January 2009
It seems to me that Agatha Christie pretty much sewed up the 1930s-50s in terms of crime fiction. Her stories brilliantly evoked a sense of time and place as well as being excellent works of fiction in their own right. However, this should not put off other crime writers setting their book between the wars as it is a period rich in potential. This is exactly what David Roberts must think as his Corinth and Brown mysteries give a very modern feel to a Christie-esque setting. `Sweet Poison' is the first in the series and introduces us to the intelligent gentry Lord Edward Corinth and his new friend Verity Brown, a communist rich girl. The two characters instantly spark off one another and give a great edge to the books.

It is this edge that separates Roberts from the likes of Christie as the books have the lightness of Miss Marple et al, but add a good dollop of politics and darkness to the mix. Whilst Christie would hint at intrigue and darkness Roberts feels much freer to explore. The conflict between the landed class and the Communist ideals is probably the strongest thing in this book. I enjoyed reading about a murkier 1930s and especially liked the characters in the book - flaws and all. Perhaps the central mystery itself could have been a lot stronger, but as a debut this book has potential for the future - I certainly plan to read them.
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on 21 December 2007
There are lots of reasons why you should avoid this book but the most damning one is that it's boring.
As it grinds on one loses interest in who might have put the victim out of his misery and, as it turns out, the resolution is incredibly flaccid.
I could tell you about the dull, stereotypical characterisation, the inept dialogue or even the risible sex scene ("She looked at the curly hair between his legs and then at his excitement. 'So', she thought to herself, 'that is a penis.'") but, really, this book doesn't deserve any more of your or my time.
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on 13 February 2006
I was persuaded to buy this book by the attractive cover design (yes, I know!) and the promise that this might be a series worth getting my teeth into. In the end I felt it was something of a letdown. The 1930s setting is well-established, and the deliberately two-dimensional characters are pleasant enough, but the STORY IS ABSOLUTELY USELESS. It's a classic country-house murder setup, with plenty of opportunity for depth and intrigue, but very little of either resulted. There is barely a moment of tension in the whole book, and by the end of all the pointless to-ing and fro-ing I couldn't have cared less who did the murder. The lead characters (Verity and Edward) have some potential to be engaging in further stories, but the plotting of "Sweet Poison" has just put me off any more of these novels completely. And what a dreadful idea to make them such carbon copies of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane! This just amplifies the considerable inadequacies of these two cardboard creations and does nothing more than make you long to be reading the original. Also, the prose veers into PG Wodehouse territory on quite a few occasions which just muddles the style further - "comedy dramas" rarely work on TV, let alone in print. Go and read Sayers' "Habeas Corpus" instead - you'll have more fun!
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on 14 July 2013
I thought the book was okay but neither very original nor particularly well written. I love the Lord Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane novels by Dorothy Sayers and hoped this might be in the same vein. But although there are (quite marked) similarities in the settings and the lead characters, I felt that Lord Edward and Verity did not "live" in the same way as do Lord Peter and Harriet. At times I just could not believe in them - which made it difficult to care what happened to them. There are also several clumsy errors, where characters say one thing on one page and then say the exact opposite on a later page; and the attempts at humour are often annoying rather than entertaining. Don't think I'll be buying any more in this series. Having said that, I finished the book and found it fairly enjoyable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 September 2010
I am interested in the music and fashions of the thirties, and when I saw that this was set in 1935 I began with high hopes. The author has identified a few handy points of reference, like the Cocoanut Grove in Regent Street, and the 400 Club in Leicester Square, not forgetting Lord Weaver the Canadian press baron, in order to bolster an unconvincing plot. Sadly it does not cut the mustard.
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on 10 July 2013
A nice, gentle yarn straight out of Girls Crystal Annual. I enjoyed it, but the author has made the mistake of creating a heroine (Verity) who is intensely irritating and not very likeable - so only 3 stars.
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on 19 March 2013
i have read all the corinth/brown series as I am facinated by by the thirties which was a dark dangerous and devious decade which David roberts captures so well with a tremendous feel for the the desperate times to come,starting with the warning of the Spanish civil war and ending and the brink of ww2. I hope that David Roberts Roberts has the energy and enthusiasm to write of the exploits corinth/brown during that dire conflict as Horewitz has done with Foyles reemergence into the cold war



spanking good stuff
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