The Poisoned House


In the year of 1855 the story begins with the attempted escape of Abigail Tamper, scullery maid, from the house of her employment just off Pall Mall, London. She manages to get as far as Charing Cross before she is recaptured by a constable and returned into the care of the housekeeper, Mrs Cotton. We soon learn of the cruel and spiteful nature of Mrs Cotton, sister to the deceased lady of the house. The only friends Abigail has are Rob, the footman, Adam, the coal boy and Lizzie, fellow drudge in the house, Greave Hall. Abigail has no possessions, except for a watch left her by her father. Mrs Cotton keeps her wages, a fact that no-one in the book finds strange – in fact she is a virtual prisoner. Soon after her recapture Abigail begins to witness strange supernatural happenings in the house: visions of her mother (former governess recently deceased) calling her by her pet name ‘Snowdrop’; random movement of inanimate objects and mysterious handprints. One other member of the household is not present, his lordship’s son, Samuel, who is fighting in the Crimea. Soon, we learn that Samuel has been injured and will be returning home. Abigail is both pleased and apprehensive; Samuel has always been on her side, since her mother was his nurse from a small baby, but she concerned for his injuries. The household prepares for his return …

The story is well-written and constructed, being a mystery with a little dash of ghost, and with a surprising twist at the end. Most suited to girls, who will like the resilient heroine, from 8-12.

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(UK) £6.99

(UK) 9781408804506




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