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May's Book Club Pick is Murderous

We've picked your poison.

arsenic eater's wife book cover on suburban skyline background

Here at Murder & Mayhem, we pride ourselves on reading the best mystery and thriller books.

The past two months, we've read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Traitor's Purse together and it's been a blast, which is how we know you're all going to love May's pick: The Arsenic Eater's Wife

The Arsenic Eater's Wife

The Arsenic Eater's Wife

By Tonya Mitchell

A historical gothic based in Victorian-era Liverpool in 1889, The Arsenic Eater's Wife is actually based on the true story of Florence Maybrick, a woman who, just like the book's protagonist, Constance, suffers at the hands of the British legal system. That being said, Tonya Mitchell's powerful prose offers an ending with much more closure than Florence's story.

In it, we meet 26-year-old Constance Sullivan, the now-widow to her much older husband, William Sullivan. On the surface, her life is perfect: loving husband, adorable children, beauty, money, and a decent social circle. But infidelity, scheming servants, and her husband's bouts of illness due to his insistence on taking arsenic powder as medicine is ruining their marriage. 

Though everyone is aware of his arsenic habit, Constance is arrested when he dies, much to her surprise, and brought to trial on the grounds of poisoning her husband. She and her mother are the only ones fighting to exonerate her; but one by one, unlikely witnesses come forward with incriminating testimonies about the dark underbelly of the Sullivan's marriage. Though many think Constance is in the clear, someone could be holding the key to the whole truth. 

An absorbing and atmospheric read, The Arsenic Eater's Wife jumps back and forth in time to show the attrition of the Sullivan's marriage, the nitty-gritty details of the crime, and the trial and its aftermath. 

This read starts up on the free Fable app on May 10, 2024, and will be available through the app for download as well. Join us to find out if Constance is truly guilty, or just unfortunate.