Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Book Review: THE POISONED ISLAND BY LLOYD SHEPHERD


THE POISONED ISLAND
BY
LLOYD SHEPHERD


My Rating:  8/10

About the Book:

London 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti.
When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Poisoned-Island/Lloyd-Shepherd/9781471100369#sthash.atdRRrHi.dpuf
London 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti.
When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Poisoned-Island/Lloyd-Shepherd/9781471100369#sthash.atdRRrHi.dpuf
LONDON 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti. When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew?

"Madhouse, Greenhouse, Farmhouse, Funhouse.  Kew is all these things."

At the start of the book we are introduced to some of the crew of the Solander who have recently returned from Tahiti.  Their ship contained hundreds of exotic plants all destined for Kew Gardens. One of them is Sam Ransome who 'enjoyed the delights of the island', and who, upon reaching his lodgings, immediately puts the kettle on and makes himself a cup of tea and is 'blissfully happy'.  Unfortunately for Sam he is found strangled soon after but with a huge smile on his face!

More of the crew are found murdered in a similar way and constable Charles Horton is struggling to find a motive, a killer or a possible connection to their deaths.  

This is an intelligent and well written story with interesting characters.  Lloyd Shepherd's earlier book The English Monster also features Horton and his boss, John Harriott, and several references are made to those murders in this book.

If you like your historical murder mysteries with atmosphere, well developed characters and an unusual plotline slowly unfolding like the leaves of some mysterious tropical island plant, then I would recommend you add this to your bookshelf.

Available from Amazon.co.uk now and Amazon.com on 14 January 2014

Lloyd Shepherd can be found on twitter as @lloydshep

Source:  From the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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