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The Poison Thread    by Laura Purcell order for
Poison Thread
by Laura Purcell
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2019 (2019)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Laura Purcell's The Poison Thread is a very chilling Victorian era, Dickensian psychological mystery. I have to say that I found it hard to get into as I didn't like its leads. Yet I found it intriguing and continued to follow its very unusual plot.

The piece centers around the story of Ruth Butterham, a young seamstress who believes that she can damage her enemies via the magical power of her stitches. She's been jailed in Oakgate Prison for murder (that she believes was done with this method) and expects to hang for it.

Wealthy, intelligent young Dorothea Truelove is obsessed with phrenology, which assumes a relationship between the shape of a person's skull and their tendency to criminal acts. She visits the prison to develop and test her skills and becomes fascinated by Ruth's story and case.

The story moves back and forth in time between the horrors of Ruth's past life and the challenges heiress Dorothea faces. Her father wants her married to a husband of his choice, but she's determined to wed a young policeman. Eventually all is resolved, in unexpected ways.

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