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Bitter Poison

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An absorbing Christmas mystery The Colonel (few people call him Hugh) is busier than ever this Christmas. The Frog End Players have enlisted his woodwork skills to build a set for their annual Christmas pantomime. This year, it's Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairytale The Snow Queen. Local busybody Marjorie Cuthbertson is on the hunt for her leading lady — and who better t An absorbing Christmas mystery The Colonel (few people call him Hugh) is busier than ever this Christmas. The Frog End Players have enlisted his woodwork skills to build a set for their annual Christmas pantomime. This year, it's Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairytale The Snow Queen. Local busybody Marjorie Cuthbertson is on the hunt for her leading lady — and who better to play the icy queen than beautiful new resident, ex-model Joan Dryden. But as interested as they are in their new neighbours, the residents of Frog End remain wary of the Dryden family, considering them snooty Londoners. But tragedy strikes at the village party . . . One moment, one of the guests is enjoying a festive mince pie. The next, they are on the floor, clawing at their throat. A tragic allergic reaction or did someone mean to kill? The Colonel must find out if this was just a terrible accident . . . or bitter revenge.


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An absorbing Christmas mystery The Colonel (few people call him Hugh) is busier than ever this Christmas. The Frog End Players have enlisted his woodwork skills to build a set for their annual Christmas pantomime. This year, it's Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairytale The Snow Queen. Local busybody Marjorie Cuthbertson is on the hunt for her leading lady — and who better t An absorbing Christmas mystery The Colonel (few people call him Hugh) is busier than ever this Christmas. The Frog End Players have enlisted his woodwork skills to build a set for their annual Christmas pantomime. This year, it's Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairytale The Snow Queen. Local busybody Marjorie Cuthbertson is on the hunt for her leading lady — and who better to play the icy queen than beautiful new resident, ex-model Joan Dryden. But as interested as they are in their new neighbours, the residents of Frog End remain wary of the Dryden family, considering them snooty Londoners. But tragedy strikes at the village party . . . One moment, one of the guests is enjoying a festive mince pie. The next, they are on the floor, clawing at their throat. A tragic allergic reaction or did someone mean to kill? The Colonel must find out if this was just a terrible accident . . . or bitter revenge.

30 review for Bitter Poison

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    There appear to be a great many of these British village mystery books, this one a Christmas seasonal wherein a colorful new resident of the village dies from allergy. I will likely dip into this village pond of books again for light reading of familiar characters as it brings a smile or two. The characters are just interesting enough to revisit. Kindle Unlimited

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sandra P. Hess

    Enjoyed this book, much better than last one. I do wish that the murderers would be caught and punished instead of getting away with murder.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    I enjoy reading this English village series of mystery stories written by Margaret Mayhew. They are relaxing and give me that lovely feeling of the tiny English village of my imagination, probably not something that really exists at all in real life. The characters are all sufficiently developed so that I already feel as if I know them from previous novels in the series. The Major with his eye fixed firmly on the clock waiting for it to strike six in the evening so he can have that drink he's pi I enjoy reading this English village series of mystery stories written by Margaret Mayhew. They are relaxing and give me that lovely feeling of the tiny English village of my imagination, probably not something that really exists at all in real life. The characters are all sufficiently developed so that I already feel as if I know them from previous novels in the series. The Major with his eye fixed firmly on the clock waiting for it to strike six in the evening so he can have that drink he's pinning for and always on the lookout for an attractive woman to flirt with. Freda Butler concealed behind the curtains in her cottage with the Zeiss binoculars picking up most of the comings and goings in the village. Naomi Grimshaw usually shows up in some decidedly outlandish piece of apparel from long ago or a land far away and thinks it is completely normal. At the center of all the village activity is the one person who values his privacy more than any of the others and is therefore disturbed most often, the Colonel. Everyone wants to know what use he has for the shed in his garden but so far he has managed to keep his new hobby a secret. How long will that last with the Frog End equivalent of the KGB on the prowl for clues? Will the new couple from London fit into the social life of Frog End by participating in the Christmas theatre production? Or will the famous fashion model let everyone down by refusing to be The Snow Queen? I had begun to think that this book wouldn't have any mysterious death to investigate at all since it came so late in the novel, but there is finally something for the Colonel to tackle and the author presents it in an unusual way. Quite an interesting way from my point of view. This is one of those mystery novels you can feel good about recommending to your friends who don't like to read the more grim and gritty variety of murder mysteries. A quiet corner, a comfortable chair and something nice to drink will complete the picture of the atmosphere of this book in particular and this entire series in general; just a nice, old fashioned cozy. I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Severn House Publishing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Bitter Poison by Margaret Mayhew is An English Village Cosy. Frog End Players are preparing their Christmas offering (play) and Marjorie Cuthbertson is recruiting everyone to assist. They have decided to perform The Snow Queen. The only person who could play the part is newcomer Joan Dryden (who looks down on the villagers). The play is a hit and everyone retires to the after party. Joan suddenly is choking and her husband, Kenneth is calling for her Epi-pen. The Epi-pen cannot be found (it shou Bitter Poison by Margaret Mayhew is An English Village Cosy. Frog End Players are preparing their Christmas offering (play) and Marjorie Cuthbertson is recruiting everyone to assist. They have decided to perform The Snow Queen. The only person who could play the part is newcomer Joan Dryden (who looks down on the villagers). The play is a hit and everyone retires to the after party. Joan suddenly is choking and her husband, Kenneth is calling for her Epi-pen. The Epi-pen cannot be found (it should be in her bottomless purse). Joan is rushed to the hospital but does not survive. Turns out that Joan is allergic to nuts and she ate a pastry that contained nuts. Was it accidental or did someone deliberately sabotage Joan? The Colonel (Hugh) decides to look into the matter and find out who is responsible. Bitter Poison was extremely disappointing. The story is charming, but the mystery took a backseat. The murder did not occur until I was 70% through the novel. I could have told you who was going to die and the killer at about 25% (or earlier). I kept hoping for a surprise (a twist), but I did not get one. The ending was a big letdown. Bitter Poison was a snoozefest. If you just want a cute story on village life, you will enjoy the book. If you want a book with a good mystery, then this is not the book for you. I give Bitter Poison 2.75 out of 5 stars. Bitter Poison is easy to read (nicely written), has quirky characters, and a gorgeous setting. If it contained a twisty mystery, it would have been superb. I received a complimentary copy of Bitter Poison from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review of the novel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    This is the first time I've read anything by this author. I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The Colonel is a private man and he is comfortable in his own surroundings. When he is asked to build a sled as a prop for the town's play, he doesn't expect there to be a murder and soon everyone is wondering who would do such a thing. The humor in this book was great and I enjoyed the colorful ca This is the first time I've read anything by this author. I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The Colonel is a private man and he is comfortable in his own surroundings. When he is asked to build a sled as a prop for the town's play, he doesn't expect there to be a murder and soon everyone is wondering who would do such a thing. The humor in this book was great and I enjoyed the colorful cast of characters. My favorite part was when Major Cuthbertson kept trying to sneak an early drink. Waiting for the clock to ring six was hysterical and I kept thinking to myself, by golly good man, have a drink! I will definitely read more by this author.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    While I really like this series, and enjoyed reading this, it's the second one in a row that seems to fall short as a mystery. The Colonel is coerced into helping the Frog End dramatic group with their Christmas play, which will star the beautiful newcomer Joan Dryden as the Snow Queen. At a party after the show, someone dies in a tragic accident. One of the Colonel's neighbors reveals something seen at the party that was disturbing; he confronts the suspect and is told that he's misreading the While I really like this series, and enjoyed reading this, it's the second one in a row that seems to fall short as a mystery. The Colonel is coerced into helping the Frog End dramatic group with their Christmas play, which will star the beautiful newcomer Joan Dryden as the Snow Queen. At a party after the show, someone dies in a tragic accident. One of the Colonel's neighbors reveals something seen at the party that was disturbing; he confronts the suspect and is told that he's misreading the situation. Since he's sure that he's not (notice how carefully I'm avoiding spoilers!), he goes to the police, who tell him there's no evidence of wrongdoing. The end. Although he's the "detective," he does no detecting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Lee

    Book 5 of the series with one more to go at the time of writing. The saga of Frog End goes on. The Colonels garden is getting betting and the shed is in useful service as the Colonel has been conscripted into making a sleigh for the Snow Queen in the Frog End Players Christmas play. It was fortunate that an ex model and her fading TV personality husband ( and their obnoxious girl child) have just moved in to the village as she would be absolutely perfect for the title role as long as she can be ta Book 5 of the series with one more to go at the time of writing. The saga of Frog End goes on. The Colonels garden is getting betting and the shed is in useful service as the Colonel has been conscripted into making a sleigh for the Snow Queen in the Frog End Players Christmas play. It was fortunate that an ex model and her fading TV personality husband ( and their obnoxious girl child) have just moved in to the village as she would be absolutely perfect for the title role as long as she can be talked into taking the part. Eventually she carries the part off to perfection before she dies at the after show party at the Manor. Who did it, if anyone? Does anyone really care?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Another Winner in This Delightful Series I love escaping to Frog Pond these days. We are living in such distressing times and this series has provided me a safe haven from all the misery and unpleasantness the world is fishing out in droves. These books are well written and the characters are delightful. I just love the humility of the Colonel and this Cozy British Series has done wonders in allowing me to take respite, if on!y briefly .com today's tragic madness. I highly recommend this series o Another Winner in This Delightful Series I love escaping to Frog Pond these days. We are living in such distressing times and this series has provided me a safe haven from all the misery and unpleasantness the world is fishing out in droves. These books are well written and the characters are delightful. I just love the humility of the Colonel and this Cozy British Series has done wonders in allowing me to take respite, if on!y briefly .com today's tragic madness. I highly recommend this series of Cozy British Countryside Mysteries are your cup of tea.

  9. 4 out of 5

    shawn marton

    Abrupt ending This was an easy read. The characters were well fleshed out and likable. But I felt that it ended abruptly. I had to. Had to check to make sure I downloaded all of the book. Would probably not read another book by this author.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Mccracken

    A little too easy to figure out but a fun read nevertheless.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Miki

    Funny thing about the books in this series - the Colonel always figures whodunnit, but no one ever gets caught. Still good reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I am rather fond of this gentle cozy series with its cast of eccentric English village characters securely rooted in the village of Frog End. The Colonel, always correct, and seemingly unaware of the reason he is trusted by the entire community, solves mysteries by simply talking to his neighbours. The charm of these novels hinges on humour. There's the Colonel's stray cat, Thursday who eats from a dish marked clearly DOG. There's the shroud of secrecy the Colonel imposes on the contents of his I am rather fond of this gentle cozy series with its cast of eccentric English village characters securely rooted in the village of Frog End. The Colonel, always correct, and seemingly unaware of the reason he is trusted by the entire community, solves mysteries by simply talking to his neighbours. The charm of these novels hinges on humour. There's the Colonel's stray cat, Thursday who eats from a dish marked clearly DOG. There's the shroud of secrecy the Colonel imposes on the contents of his garden shed. There's the condescension of his daughter-in-law, he experiences and the miraculous way in which the Colonel is rescued from having to visit. Other characters gently amuse as well. There is Marjorie Cuthbertson and her hen-pecked husband, the Major, overly fond of his drink, and inclined to exaggerate his appeal to the opposite sex. The mysteries themselves are absolutely secondary to the character portraits in these books, in my opinion. Do such quaint and charming places exist? Well, they do in this book. Great escape read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    No resolution So while one is pretty sure one knows who did it, it is never actually spelled out although numerous other items are repeated ad nauseam, such as who repeat characters are, and key points in their relationship with the Colonel. As this is the 5th book in the series and one could presume that readers have read the others, the tiresome repeats could be reduced. If the author wants to make sure each is a stand alone, then find some other way of saying the same things... at the very le No resolution So while one is pretty sure one knows who did it, it is never actually spelled out although numerous other items are repeated ad nauseam, such as who repeat characters are, and key points in their relationship with the Colonel. As this is the 5th book in the series and one could presume that readers have read the others, the tiresome repeats could be reduced. If the author wants to make sure each is a stand alone, then find some other way of saying the same things... at the very least don’t repeat yourself IN THE SAME book! I appreciate the interesting premise in some of these stories in that many times the murderer does get away with it and there isn’t any true resolution, but on this one I felt everything was a bit hanging. I will likely read the next one, as I really enjoy the Colonel as a character.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley O’Malley

    I stumbled upon this series on my Amazon unlimited and unfortunately started on book 3, have managed to read the first 2 and up to 5 starting on 6, while I’ve enjoyed them up to now with the exception that each book seems to recap too much of the history of Hugh and cast + Thursday, I’m not a fan of murder mystery books that end with the killer(s) not being punished, the ending in book 4 & 5 almost felt they ended abruptly without much closure. I’m onto book 6 and hopefully will bring back the s I stumbled upon this series on my Amazon unlimited and unfortunately started on book 3, have managed to read the first 2 and up to 5 starting on 6, while I’ve enjoyed them up to now with the exception that each book seems to recap too much of the history of Hugh and cast + Thursday, I’m not a fan of murder mystery books that end with the killer(s) not being punished, the ending in book 4 & 5 almost felt they ended abruptly without much closure. I’m onto book 6 and hopefully will bring back the style of books 1-3, otherwise I love the characters and the full description of a English town.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Hewitt

    Really good The characters in the village are really friendly, they are like one big family. Strangers move into the village an ex model and a tv presenter and their daughter. The ex model is invited to play the Snow Queen in the village Christmas show. At the after show party there is a death, but was it an accident or a murder. The Colonel does a bit of sleuthing to find answers. I love these books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    James H. Jaqua

    I took the author's word for it, just to be safe. Follows along, or leads along, the stories in the series. All the good stuff I liked about the earlier books still stand. The Colonel is a character to follow as he sets the pace for solid sleuthing. And now we take a break for tea. I took the author's word for it, just to be safe. Follows along, or leads along, the stories in the series. All the good stuff I liked about the earlier books still stand. The Colonel is a character to follow as he sets the pace for solid sleuthing. And now we take a break for tea.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mr Kenneth L Mullen

    Another great story Another great story the Colonel who has a knack of getting himself involved in mysterious deaths.A great asset to the village he now lives in with most people confiding in him. These stories are always an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to reading more in the series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gail Gassen

    A thoroughly enjoyable cozy! I like that Hugh always proves the guilt of the person/person's but they usually do t have to pay for the crime. Except if they were a bad-un they usually do some how. Like flying into a mountain!!?? As all the other books in this series, this book was amazing! Please try them. Hugh, the Colonol, is such a perfect character! A thoroughly enjoyable cozy! I like that Hugh always proves the guilt of the person/person's but they usually do t have to pay for the crime. Except if they were a bad-un they usually do some how. Like flying into a mountain!!?? As all the other books in this series, this book was amazing! Please try them. Hugh, the Colonol, is such a perfect character!

  19. 5 out of 5

    STELLA SUTTON

    How to get away with Murder! I have read the first five Village Mysteries by Margaret Mayhew! For the most part, the characters are very charming! I have never visited England except in books! Maybe someday....... Stella SUTTON

  20. 5 out of 5

    MRS G

    I'm thoroughly enjoying these easy read, perfect to curl up in a warm bed or reading corner books. I've already started the next one. The characters all have a familiarity that feel like you're putting your well worn but veeery comfortable slippers on 😊. I'm thoroughly enjoying these easy read, perfect to curl up in a warm bed or reading corner books. I've already started the next one. The characters all have a familiarity that feel like you're putting your well worn but veeery comfortable slippers on 😊.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eirlys

    A cold dish A cosy English village, new inhabitants who are famous, and a Christmas play, all combine to create a mysterious death. The characters are intriguingly created to mimic the villagers in a rustic village. A good read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    Very Good! Another " murder" that the Colonel solves by clever questioning, intellect, and observation! But with no tangible evidence or confession, no prosecution is possible and murderer " gets away with it'"! Same nosy neighbors ---- some things never change! Very Good! Another " murder" that the Colonel solves by clever questioning, intellect, and observation! But with no tangible evidence or confession, no prosecution is possible and murderer " gets away with it'"! Same nosy neighbors ---- some things never change!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marie Shirley Griffin

    Absolutely good fun I have been reading the series since book one and have really enjoyed them. The characters are well written and some are lovely. The mystery is generally interesting and occasionally difficult to figure out.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    I really do enjoy visiting Frog Pond and all its interesting inhabitants. So happy that Ruth finally decided to marry her doctor Tom and start to live happily ever after. Although being the owner of the village manor means that she lives in the most interesting and obvious place for a murder to occur. And therefore, this is the second one to be hosted by the mistress of the manor. As always the storyline contains most of the villages fascinating characters and one can only guess at "who done it" I really do enjoy visiting Frog Pond and all its interesting inhabitants. So happy that Ruth finally decided to marry her doctor Tom and start to live happily ever after. Although being the owner of the village manor means that she lives in the most interesting and obvious place for a murder to occur. And therefore, this is the second one to be hosted by the mistress of the manor. As always the storyline contains most of the villages fascinating characters and one can only guess at "who done it" until the very end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Adams

    Getting away with murder. The colonel and his neighbor know full well who killed the famous model and why...but it is only supposition so the killer will get away with it. Another charming mystery in the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Albert D

    Good Book moves along well. Some of the things in the book were repeated from the other books, but I understand if you didn't read the other books, it would be necessary to include in this book . His characters seem to get away with murder Good Book moves along well. Some of the things in the book were repeated from the other books, but I understand if you didn't read the other books, it would be necessary to include in this book . His characters seem to get away with murder

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rita Hebert

    Shades of gray One of the things that I especially like about the plots in this series, and this book in particular, is that they are in shades of gray rather that cut and dried, black or white. And, of course, life is just that. Not a fairy tale. Well done.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mate Beth

    Large on Charm. The entire series is charming, full of well-developed characters who muddle, mull, analyze, mollify or endear themselves through potentially real life circumstances. I hope she has written something else!

  29. 5 out of 5

    NANCY M. WADE

    Slow village mystery Mayhew's Bitter Poison is slow to gain the readers attention when she finally shows the murder in chapter twelve. Her characters are all familiar and true to the series but the plot is a bit thin & not resolved with justice failing. Slow village mystery Mayhew's Bitter Poison is slow to gain the readers attention when she finally shows the murder in chapter twelve. Her characters are all familiar and true to the series but the plot is a bit thin & not resolved with justice failing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series The characters are well drawn. Not everyone is completely likable. Very few characters are completely dis likable. Most are just regular folks. Love Thursday. Hope he goes on for a long time.

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