The Poison Tree is a detective who-dun-it novel with a heroine who is doing her PhD in detective novels. Ironic. Anyway, it tells of Terry Williams who, after a divorce, got into a lesbian relationship and to escape it all, went back to study at the University of Oxford.
In the meantime, she bought a house which used to belong to the university’s student housing but has to be sold because a student was brutally murdered with a iron rod stuck up his ass.
Terry then became the detective herself, trying to solve the murder of the previous occupant of her house while surprise, surprise, uncovering dark secrets about every one around her. She even found some pornographic letters hidden behind the wallpaper she has by chance torn down. Thing was, the man she had suspected as a murderer had the perfect alibi but she was not convinced. And, as how all detective novels would end, the murderer was indeed someone everyone least expected to be, one hidden from the storyline all this while.
It was not a let down, actually. At least it kept me company during my AirAsia ride to and fro Hong Kong. As with all who-dun-its, you tend to want to finish the novel, since you obviously want to know who the murderer is. Despite reviews (I know they are not often right) of it being grisly, violent and thought-provoking, I didn’t have the same conclusion. Well, perhaps it was somehow a bit erotic here and there, but that was not what I had expected when I picked up the book.
I am not sure if Tony Strong has written other books after this ‘debut’ but I sure hope the others are better than this.
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