ANNE HOCKING – Poison Is a Bitter Brew. Chief Inspector William Austen #6. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1942. Originally published in the UK as Miss Milverton (Geoffrey Bles, hardcover, 1941).

   Two heirs to a fortune and a landed estate die of poison, one after the other. The first is passed off by an elderly friend of the family doctor as food poiscn1ing; the second; handled by his locum, is examined more carefully. The verdict in both: murder.

   Miss Milverton, sixthy-ish proprietor of the estate until her death, is shocked. The final heir, her nephew Charles Temple, was on the scene both times and has an excellent motive, but he doesn’t act like a murderer. Chief Inspector Austen and Sergeant Pendarvis investigate.

   This is a good, old-fashioned between the-wars British mystery. Why would a genteel, well-brougbt-up, upper class Englishman or woman commit murder? Not only for wealth, we find. A good read.

– Reprinted from The Poisoned Pen, Volume 4, Number 4 (August 1981).