As Poison in Paddington by Samantha Silver opens, Cassie Coburn gets into a car accident that has just ended the career as a surgeon that Cassie is just about to embark upon. Six months later, healed in body but not in mind and with a new $10 million settlement from the driver high on drugs, Cassie moves to London to find new life. Moving into a youth hostel, Cassie is disturbed to find her bike lock broken and her bicycle stolen, so she goes to report it at the police station. And this is where Cassie meets Violet Despuis, a Frenchwoman consulting in serious cases for the police department. Violet immediately deduces a lot of significant details about Cassie, which impresses the American woman. Then, just a day later Violet calls Cassie to come visit her, having found Cassie’s bike when she needed a break for her mind in her case. In a few short moments, Cassie has found herself involved in a sensational murder case in which four people have been poisoned with strychnine in stew.
Cassie gets involved in the investigation as Violet’s assistant. I really enjoyed the way this book created a female Sherlock Holmes without ever trading on that fact. Violet makes deductions in the same manner as Sherlock Holmes, while Cassie performs the role of Watson effectively, but she is much sharper and not as obtuse as Watson, who is inspired incapable of making any deductions of his own. As someone who was very nearly a doctor, she is able to prove a valuable assistant to Violet in the medical understandings of her case. In addition, she serves as Violet’s confidante and Boswell. Violet finds an apartment for Cassie in her own building, and their manager, Mrs. Michaels, is a delightful woman in the same light as Mrs. Hudson. But what I especially like about this book is the way that it does not rely upon the fame of Sherlock Holmes to draw attention to the book. Since the television show came out, there have been a lot of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, but most seem to have poor plots and characters and seem to rely on the name of Holmes to make sales. So I am impressed by the way Silver refuses to try to take advantage of the connection to Holmes. A fun side note is that in passing, Cassie watches a celebrity talk show featuring Martin Freeman, who plays the role of Watson, her own role, in TV’s Sherlock.
Patricia Santomasso does an amazing job of narrating the audiobook. She uses good voices and accents that suit the characters. Further, her expressions fit the attitude of the book, making the listening experience highly enjoyable.
I really enjoyed Poison in Paddington. The book gripped me from the opening moment and kept my attention until the last moment. Many books as short as four hours lack the depth to keep the mystery full of important details, but this book manages to keep things moving well and fascinating. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author, but that in no way affected the content of my review.
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