This started off really well - the author grabbed my attention from the start and had all the makings of a page turner. Unfortunately, scene set, we come to the action ground. As soon as the attempted poisoning took place, it was obvious 'who dunnit', the why remained obscure. It was a little like reading a crime setting from Agatha Christie but without any of Christie's subtlety. So instead of having to disseminate the information you have been given and work out which is a relevant clue and which is not, the clues in this instant are painfully obvious. For example, the person who was poisoned by cyanide didn't die, or even remain ill for very long and the author gave us an indication that there was an antidote to cyanide present in the 'victim's' room.
Even when the why is revealed, it remained obscure, and as for the manner of the revelation - given by a young girl who starts off talking without a conscious idea of the culprit and only scribbled notes to go on, as she starts talking she realises who the murderer is and the why and the how. Three stars is therefore a generous rating for me, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt - for me, I felt like I'd read a work by someone who had been to creative writing classes and had got the technique for introducing the work perfectly well, but now needed to continue to work on how to continue, maintaining the standard.