The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson arrived via Scott Pack's free give-away and I was just going to slot it into its place on Mount TBR (To Be Read, if anyone's in any doubt) and thought I'd get to it eventually. But you know how it is, you open the book, read a page or two, ten, fifty and then you can't put it down until it's finished.
It's difficult to talk about this book without giving away great swathes of the plot because it's based on a true story, so look away now if you want a great read full of surprises.
Read on if you still want a great read, still full of surprises but you know roughly what's coming.
The plot rang bells and yes, it is based on the true story of The Angel Makers of Nagyrev, the group of women living in Nagyrev in Hungary who were estimated to have poisoned up to 300 people between 1914 and 1929.
The problem began when the men of the village went off to fight in the First World War and in their absence were replaced by some rather dashing, smooth-talking prisoners.The husbands returned to find themselves somewhat outclassed in the charm department.
The poison of choice was clever and painful and by all accounts the killing all became so easy it then became the first line of action against anyone remotely annoying.
Jessica Gregson presents the this fictional account from a very sympathetic point of view. The scenes of domestic violence and the imbalance of power it creates in a relationship have real latter-day resonance. At several points I was almost shouting at the pages and Jessica Gregson steered me cleverly into being well onside for the retribution, in fact I was quietly cheering.
Apart from the fact that the denouement felt a bit rushed and tempus fugit maximus quickly towards the end of the book this was a great,unputdownable read and I was then intrigued to look up some background on original events.
I often find present tense writing (it probably has a more technical name) a bit annoying, and don't ask me to explain why, I have no idea,but I was halfway through this book before I had spotted it so it can't have been that annoying.
E mail me with your snail mail address if you are a book blogger who would like/ be able to read this quite soon, blog about it and then be happy to post it on to another book blogger.
There are some books you can't keep to yourself and I'd love to hear what others think about this one and in case anyone is worried about Devon bugs travelling, I'll put the book in the freezer at -18 degs for a day or so before I post it!