The year is 1925, a time that hovers between two catastrophic wars, a time of jazz and sparkle, and a time of peace and reflection. For Lady Evelyn, struggling to outrun the ghosts of her tragic past, it is a time of transformation. Left orphaned after a fire when she was only four, Lady Evelyn Carlisle was raised in London by her stern aunt and uncle. Now, twenty years later she has grown restless and is keen to escape her chaperone’s grasp. A letter from her cousin, Briony, living with her husband on Crete, comes at just the right time. Packing what she can, Lady Evelyn makes off for foreign shores. Welcoming her are not only Briony and her husband, Jeffrey, but also his handsome and mysterious friends, Caspar Ballantine and Daniel Harper. Though the latter carries with him tragic memories of the Great War, Evelyn is glad to be in their company. With the sun warming her back and the dazzling sea in her sights, this fresh start seems destined for happy days ahead. Little does she know . . . What starts off as a sunny holiday quickly turns into a sinister nightmare, when Evelyn stumbles across the corpse of one of her cousin’s houseguests. Drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder, Evelyn embarks on a mission to discover the truth, forcing her to face her own past as well as a cold-hearted killer. With the help of her cousin, the handsome local police detective, and the mysterious Daniel Harper, will she uncover the truth, before another life is claimed?
When lovely Malia Zaidi followed me on Twitter and I found out that she was a writer, I knew I had to read her book: A Poisonous Journey. Historical fiction plus mystery, what else can I possibly ask for?
This book begins with our main character, Lady Evelyn Carlisle, leaving her London home in search of freedom and self-discovery. Evelyn was raised by her strict aunt and can’t wait to begin a new chapter of her life. Her cousin Briony lives in Greece and has invited her to her lovely home in Crete… While admiring the beautiful surroundings, Evelyn will also meet the other house guests and, why not? Solve a mysterious murder…
This is a completely immersive story and, needless to say, after finishing the book I was already planning my trip to Greece next year. I can guarantee you will do the same. How could anyone resist? The descriptions were wonderful and the novel made me so desperately hungry! Malia Zaidi kept focusing on the small details that made the story feel completely real: the house, the weather, the clothes, the food… it was all so vivid you could almost feel like you were there (I wish! Murder included).
As for the characters, I must say that, with my ever-suspicious mind, I only trusted our dear Evelyn, as this is a murder mystery after all. How can I be expected to believe what everyone else is saying? They could easily be cold-blooded killers! However, all the characters all had their peculiarities and I found myself liking Daniel Harper and sweet Briony the most. Even if this was a cozy mystery, the plot didn’t move so fast and it took its time until the crime actually happened. But as I said, this is a novel filled with rich details and anyone who wants to travel to Greece will be instantly in love with it.
What I liked the most
This was a truly atmospheric book and the writing was lyrical and beautiful. On the other hand, dialogues were fun to read, especially those between Evelyn and Daniel, mainly thanks to their witty banter. I also thought the story felt realistic and that the characters behaved just as they would’ve in real 1925.
What I didn’t like that much
I’m afraid I thought the mystery wasn’t compelling enough and the conclusion left me a bit disappointed. And maybe it’s just me, but I wanted Evelyn to take a more active part in the investigation and behave a little bit crazier. It would’ve been so fun to read!
A Poisonous Journey is a beautiful and atmospheric historical mystery that will make you want to visit Crete and enjoy its rich history.
BookBaby , 2015 – Purchased Copy