Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth

This is another gift from Peggy Ann who is a keen vintage crime fan, much like myself. I’m sure I read some books by Patricia Wentworth way back in the year dot but I’m fairly certain that they weren’t Miss Silver mysteries. This book was originally published in 1955.

Miss Silver is Wentworth’s equivalent to Miss Marple, a spinster who manages to knit as she solves crimes. The twist is that Miss Silver is valued by Detective Inspector Frank Abbott of Scotland Yard and in fact it is he who sends her to the small English village of Tilling Green where someone is sending poison pen letters to the inhabitants, leading to tragedy in at least one case.

Miss Silver is a retired governess and she finds it easy to pose as a lady on holiday in the village and quickly immerses herself in the social scene. She’s soon able to hear all the local gossip and realises that there has been a murder and that there is a vicious and demented killer at work.

It’s absolutely years since I read an Agatha Christie but I think that this book was every bit as good, if not better than a Christie. I didn’t guess who the culprit was, which is always a plus. Miss Silver managed to finish knitting a blue twinset and start a red cardigan whilst she solved the case – not bad going! I’ll be reading more of Wentworth’s books in the future.

6 thoughts on “Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth

    • Peggy Ann,
      I think I’ll have to read a Christie book soon so I can compare them. I have a feeling that I will actually prefer the Wentworth but it’s so long since I read a Christie, I’m not sure.

  1. Oh my mum has some of these on her shelf I am sure. Certainly will be looking out for them now!

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Jo,
      I think you’ll enjoy them, your mum must have such a lot of vintage crime. I wish I had held on to mine over the years, I had so many Christies at one point now I have none.

  2. I’ve just realized that I’ve had Patricia Wentworth confused with Patricia Highsmith in my mind – neither of whom I’ve read, but I think I’d enjoy Wentworth.

    • Lisa,
      Ooh that could have been quite nasty if you had given Highsmith to a prudish person to read! As I recall, her books often involve sleazy sex, but I haven’t read any since the 1970s. Very different from Wentworth. I get mixed up with Penelopes.

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