The Poisonous Seed

Written by Linda Stratmann
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

In Victorian London, Frances Doughty is the daughter of a respected chemist. When a customer dies after drinking a digestive medicine prepared by their shop, her elderly father is accused of mistakenly putting too much strychnine in the tincture. To save his reputation, Frances sets out to prove that the victim was murdered, and uncovers a complicated plot involving fraud, embezzlement and another murder from a decade before. Using wit and intelligence, she struggles to unmask a killer and also discovers disturbing secrets in her own family.

With no past predilection for investigating, or experience in impersonation, Frances’ success seems far-fetched. However, her adventures as a detective, and the slowly unraveling evidence of multiple crimes in a murky Victorian setting, make for a gripping read. I look forward to the next book in the series.