The Blackheath poisonings: a Victorian murder mystery

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Harper and Row, 1978 - Fiction - 302 pages
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Wealth can have its drawbacks. Case in point: The Collard and Vandervent families, who for decades have shared a large estate in the elegant London suburb of Blackheath. It's now the 1890s, and over the years, the families' near-incestuous entanglement has grown into a toxic web of lies and bitterness. While mama keeps an iron grasp on the purse strings, an unmarried daughter sucks greedily on her own disappointment, a son raises corruption to an art form, and an ethereal daughter-in-law casts come-hither glances at anything in pants. She casts them frequently at young Paul Vandervent, who responds by filling his journal with fevered love poems. And when one member after another of the extended clan falls victim to gastric misadventure--and his beloved falls under suspicion--Paul embarks on an equally feverish quest to clear her name, resolving to solve the extraordinary series of crimes popularly called The Blackheath Poisonings.

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