Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday Night Bloggers: A Final Dose of Poison

During the month of July The Tuesday Night Bloggers chose a theme with a bit of bite to it. We decided to examine poisons, poisoners, poisonous atmospheres, and even poison pens--if it could be connected to poison in any way, it was fair game this month.  If you'd like to join us as we wrap up our month of poisonous mayhem, please stop by for group discussion and I'll add your posts to the list. We tend to focus on the Golden Age of crime fiction--generally accepted as published between the World Wars, but everyone seems to have a slightly different definition and we're pretty flexible. Essays on more recent crime fiction are welcome as well.

We will be taking a break from our Tuesday Night meetings during the month of August, but be sure to check back in September to see what topic pops up for discussion.
This week's Poison Experts:
Brad @ ahsweetmysteryblog: "Ellery Queen & the Poisonous Quartet"
Curtis @ The Passing Tramp: "Name Your Poison (1942) by Helen Reilly"
Helen @ Your Freedom and Ours: "The Norths Face Poisoners and the Cases Are Screwy"

This month in Review:
Currently, I'm reading a non-vintage historical mystery that revolves around poisoning of a different sort. A Dead Man in Athens by Michael Pearce is set in Greece during 1912. The country is on the brink of war and there is much unrest--tension between the Greek and the Ottoman Empire; tension between the older Greeks who have seen enough of war and the young, eager Greek men who want to prepare for war and want to use the new aircraft, the French BlĂ©riot machines, to help in the impending hostilities; and tensions surrounding the exiled former Sultan who is living in Salonica. 

When the ex-Sultan's beloved cat is poisoned, he believes that it was just a trial-run for an attempt on himself and creates quite a fuss. The British Consulate, as a more neutral party in the area, offers to bring in a detective to investigate the matter discreetly and send for Inspector Seymour of Scotland Yard. The Yard man who is well-known for his skill as a detective as well as his command of several languages has investigated several odd crimes in various far-flung areas of the world. But this is the first time he's been asked to investigate the death of a cat. Then the ex-Sultan begins having intense stomach cramps and it looks like he may have been right about the true target. But what about the death of a British man who was involved with the new aircraft? Does that connect somehow to the poisonings in the Sultan's household? Seymour will have to find out.

I have not finished this one, so I can't comment on how effective the mystery plot is, but I did find the poisoning of the cat to be interesting. Apparently (it hasn't been entirely clarified), the poison was in the milk. But the cat smelled it and rejected the milk until it was fed candies with marzipan which somehow dulled the sense of smell to the extent that it later drank the milk. Was this a two-part plan? Was the marzipan fed to the cat on purpose and, if so, was the poison really in the chocolates? At this point I'm more intrigued by the cat's death than the attempt on the ex-Sultan and the death of the British man.....

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