If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley Reviewed by Warren Bull

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley  Reviewed by Warren Bull

The novel was originally published in 1929. Felony & Mayhem Press brought out a new edition in 2010, calling it A Golden Age Classic.  The author, Anthony Berkeley, is not well known today. The Poisoned Chocolates Case is his most remembered book. 

The plot was original. A group of people formed a Crime Circle that required potential members to be knowledgeable in all branches of science used in crime detection, criminal psychology and famous crimes in history. In addition the would-be member had to write a paper on a topic suggested by the current members, which would be judged by the entire group Although the goal was for thirteen members, only six applicants were able to pass the test and join. The six included a famous and titled barrister, a playwright, a brilliant novelist, the most intelligent of all living mystery short story writers, the president who was man of independent means as well as a published author and a man who lacked the credentials of the other members, but who had none-the-less satisfied the requirements for membership.

At one meeting the president and founder of the group presented them with a challenge. In a recent incident someone sent a box of poisoned chocolates to a man generally thought to be a scoundrel. That man gave the box to an acquaintance who had lost a bet with his wife and thereby owned her a box of chocolates. He presented her with the box. They each ate some of the candy.

He left home and later collapsed at his club. His wife ate more than he did. She remained home. A clever doctor called to the club was able to save the man. His wife was less fortunate. She died before medical assistance could reach her.

With some reluctance the police agreed to allow the club members to examine the few items of evidence they had and to investigate the crime. The president declared that he doubted their efforts would actually help the police, but trying to solve the crime would be interesting. He decided that each member would work alone to propose a theory of how the crime had been committed and, if possible, determine who the murderer was.  Members would report their results at subsequent meetings.  The order of the presentations would be established randomly.

Interestingly, I really enjoyed the novel but my wife skimmed through it, skipping much of the book.  She disliked the stilted prose style.  I found it humorous as an exaggeration of the egotistic speech of the club members.  I also caught references to the writers of that era who she did not know.  The club resembles the Detection Club established about the time of the book’s publication.  Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, the author of this novel and other talented writers were members. In many ways the book is an inside joke.  It is much more intriguing for those in the know than for others.

I think dedicated mystery readers and writers would enjoy The Poisoned Chocolates Case.  Other people, like my wife, with less interest might find it tedious. 


Kait said...

What a great classic mystery! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the Detection Club. Can you imagine. Oh, poisoned chocolate? Even the thought is a crime.

KB Inglee said...

Delaware had it's own poison chocolate case. The mistress of a journalist sent a box of poisoned chocolate to his wife with a note "love to you and the baby". Mistress lived in California, wife in Delaware. The chocolates killed several family members but not the wife. The big problem in the case was jurisdiction. Was the crime committed in Delaware or California?

Margaret Turkevich said...

I've read about the Detection Club or seen something like it on tv. And now to track down the book!

Shari Randall said...

Warren, thanks to you my TBR overfloweth. This is a great series!

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I'm writing this on my TBO list. I'm getting bogged down with all your reviews. :-)

Julie Tollefson said...

Warren - Another terrific sounding book to add to my TBR pile! Though how anyone could poison chocolate - shudder!

KM Rockwood said...

Another interesting classic mystery! Thanks, Warren.