The Taste of Murder by Joanna Cannan was published in 1950. The original title seems to have been Murder Included, but in the US it was published under the title Poisonous Relations, so confusing, I can’t see any reason for changing the title.
Joanna Cannan came from one of those families which produces a lot of writers over different generations. All three of her daughters wrote, mainly pony books which I certainly remember reading as a youngster. They were the Pullein-Thompson sisters, but Cannan was completely unknown to me.
This is one of the many books which Peggy brought me from the US but as Peggy herself said, it’s not one of the best. It suffers from having no really likeable characters.
While Sir Charles d’Estray is on holiday on the Riviera he asks a widow to marry him, more or less on a whim. Bunny is the widow of a French poet, used to leading a very free and easy lifestyle with lots of gentlemen friends. She fancies a change of scene and accepts his proposal which means she goes back to his country estate which she discovers is very run down.
She turns the place into a guest house, much to the disgust of Sir Charles’s family and when murder ensues Bunny finds herself being viewed as the chief suspect.
I will try some more of Cannan’s books if I ever come across any, but I wouldn’t seek them out.