The Pershore Poisoners
This is the sixth in Kerry Tombs’ Inspector Ravenscroft series. Inspector Ravenscroft is an ex-London detective who currently lives and works in the West Midlands, supported by his faithful sidekick Constable Crabb, the inspired genius and his down-to-earth assistant. All the books in the series are set in Worcestershire and Herefordshire in the 1890s, each in a different town. In this latest book, there are two poisonings in a Pershore guesthouse. The murderer is clearly the landlord, his wife or one of the guests: a classic whodunnit in a closed community with a finite number of suspects, each of whom has his or her own secrets. As one would expect, it is the least likely person who is the culprit. The story is neatly handled, and it is an easy and entertaining read. The Victorian atmosphere is just as we imagine it from Conan Doyle, and the characters are a credible cross-section of the Victorian lower middle class, striving to keep up genteel appearances despite their hidden tragedies.