Penguin Books | A Paperback Original | On Sale: June 18, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-143-13405-3 | Price: $16.00
THE POISON THREAD gives voice to two very different young women; one wealthy and beautiful, the other poor and on trial for murder. When Dorothea Truelove’s charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets one of the prisoners, the teenaged seamstress Ruth Butterham, she is faced with another strange idea: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread—because Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches. The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations—of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses—will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?
Purcell, fascinated by the darker side of history, laces together true crime stories from Victorian England to tell Dorothea and Ruth’s disturbing tale. From a gruesome murder at a milliner’s shop in 1758 to the fatal poisoning of a young craftswoman in 1861, Purcell’s impressive research imbues this atmospheric and evocative thriller with a chilling and realistic air that will keep readers on the edge of their seat long after the last page is turned.
Before you start this book know that phrenology is the study of the shape of a person's head and how that can determine their traits and habits. Dorothea studies people’s head shapes to figure out why they act the way they do, how it tells of the future, and how they should be treated. I thought this was an interesting idea, how unique of a story idea. The Poison Thread is a unique story that weaves a tale together that at times left me wondering what I was reading and at other times left me in awe of the direction it was going.
As I was reading I thought I could tell where the story was heading but I was always not quite right with my ideas. The twist, the turns, the ups, and the downs were exactly what I love to read. I couldn’t stop and put this book down. There were a couple times the story slowed down and that had me concerned but as soon as I had that thought it picked right back up and I had no doubts that I would quickly finish reading it.
A couple friends asked me what I was reading, I gave them the title and as I tried to tell them what it was about all I could say was that they had to pick up their own copies. It is a book that is hard to summarize because I want to share it all. I refuse to give spoilers, so pick up your own copy. Read this book. Do not wait!
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