The Poison Tree, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


I have given up so much and done so many terrible things already for the sake of my family that I can only keep going.

I do not know what is going to happen to us. I am frightened, but I feel strong. I have the strength of a woman who has everything to lose. In the sweltering summer of 1997, strait-laced, straight-A student Karen met Biba - a bohemian and impossibly glamorous aspiring actress. She was quickly drawn into Biba's world, and for a while life was one long summer of love. But every summer must end. By the end of theirs, two people were dead - and now Karen's past has come back to haunt her ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, n/a
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9781444701050



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The Poison Tree was an engaging and well written 'psychological thriller' from new author Erin Kelly. I was a bit dubious in approaching this novel, not least because of the three-plus pages of recommendations at the start of the book; in my experience, such hyperbole is rarely justified. <br /><br />However, the story of slightly drippy Karen and her intense friendship with Biba (wannabe actress with a nice line in personality disorder) and her slavish brother Rex, grips and is a fairly tense, if somewhat predictable page-turner. Set in the summer of 1997, it's a tale told in retrospect, with the circumstances of the protagnonists' lives set out at the start. There's murder (or more accurately manslaughter), middle class London suburbs, obsession, and intense, enmeshed relationships all sparking off a well plotted story. The female leads were fairly irritating,and I struggled to really understand the non-sexual desire that drove Karen to form the dysfunctional relationship with Biba in the first place, but Kelly's writing is assured and intelligent, and this book certainly achieves the accolade of 'exciting fiction'. <br /><br />The reviews compare the work to Barbara Vine and Evelyn Waugh, and while it's not in their class, it is nevertheless a good, old fashioned page-turner. Worth a gamble.<br/>© Koplowitz 2012

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