20 Books and Poisoned Chocolates

I’ve been keeping an eye on The Invisible Event’s list of fairly-clued mysteries and since I’ve only read the Christie and one of Carr’s (hated it), I thought I’d give some others a try.   Having pretty much finished with Dame Agatha, for now anyway, I need something else to fill the time and so the first of these I’ve read is Anthony Berkeley’s The Poisoned Chocolates Case in a great old acidified, flaking, genuine Pocket book.


It’s highly contrived even for Golden Age Detective novel — 6 people have formed a crime club.   They meet regularly and, I assume, discuss crime.   We have no idea what they do in their regular meetings because this is a special meeting from the start.   Scotland Yard have admitted they are stuck and are willing to get some amateur assistance.   The case of Mrs. Bendix poisoned by chocolates that actually burn when you bite them and numb your lips —  she should’ve known better, but she didn’t.   Her husband got the chocolates from a member of his club.  So, we not only don’t know who the murderer is, we don’t know who the intended victim is either.   But these six highly confident amateur detectives are ready to show Scotland Yard up.  They will meet every night for the rest of the week and offer their solutions.    So right off you know that the first five are going to be wrong.

If you like a lot of action, or any action, this is not a book for you.   It is mostly made up of meetings.  It is not without humor and I guess it’s fair-play.   I’m not sure how early one can guess.   I guessed after the fifth person did their bit.   It really became, I thought, completely obvious at that point, though whether it was obvious earlier to others, I don’t know.   Moderately entertaining, though naturally somewhat dated, I might try other Berkeleys.  Not sure it would make my top 100 of mysteries, but then no one seems to please me all that much except Christie and Sayers, so perhaps I’m just too picky to even have a top 100.

Summer is approaching and 746books is hosting the #20booksofsummer challenge (or winter if you’re on the southern side of the world.)  I think I tried 10 or 15 last year.  I think I failed.   Onward and upward.   I’m going for 20, though which 20, I’m not sure.   It runs from 1 June to 3 Sept.   Not sure why third of September.  Perhaps it’s a holiday over there.   Or maybe school starts the next day.   I don’t know.   But who am I to argue over an extra 3 days?   But then if she were American it would probably run from Memorial day weekend which for most of us starts tomorrow which would mean even more days…  oh, well, maybe I can finish something before the 20.


Wish me luck as  I wish anyone joining us!  (Join us)

3 thoughts on “20 Books and Poisoned Chocolates”

  1. Hey, thanks for playing along! Sorry to hear this wasn’t to your taste — I personally think it’s one of the ten finest detective novels ever written, but then I’m also a massive Carr fan! Maybe the two have more in common than I initially thought….hmmmm, you’ve got me thinking now.

    If you’re a big Christie fan, Christianna Brand may be your kind of thing — personally I don’t rate Green for Danger, but a lot of people voted for it, and she’s done excellent work elsewhere. Should you wish to trry any more, that may be a good place to go next.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I read Green for Danger a couple years ago and thought it was okay. (Loved Aliatair Sm in the movie though), but I’ve got another Carr or two and a Brand, so I’ll keep at it. I find it difficult to think of a mystery solely from the fairly-clued stand-point, but it’s a fun challenge, so thank you for starting this!

      1. I sort of think it’s nice to have at least some idea of where to start; I acknowledge how lucky I got with a lot of the early GAD mysteries I read and how it could have been so, so much worse. I had in mind something to help the curious get int what I love in a good way, so I’m really pleased to see someone using it even a little bit; I look forward to hearing about your future experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.