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The Poison Thread

A Novel
Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[An] uncanny Gothic mystery... Satisfying." (The New York Times Book Review)

"A romping read with a deliciously dark conceit at its center... Reminded me of Alias Grace." (Kiran Millwood Hargrave) 

A thrilling Victorian gothic horror tale about a young seamstress who claims her needle and thread have the power to kill

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea'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, 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? For fans of Shirley Jackson, The Poison Thread is a spine-tingling, sinister listen about the evil that lurks behind the facade of innocence. 

©2019 Laura Purcell (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Suspenseful.... This smart and sophisticated historical thriller will appeal to fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace." (Publishers Weekly)

"A potent, powerful novel: seductive, spellbinding, and - in every sense of the word - haunting. As atmospheric as Sarah Waters, as psychologically astute as Tana French." (A.J. Finn, number one New York Times best-selling author) 

“[The Poison Thread is] a compelling slice of early Victorian gothic.... Vivid and well researched, this book is an evocative portrait of a society that punishes women who dare to contravene social norms...a splendid mystery with suitably melodramatic flourishes.” (The Guardian)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Just WOW!

Wow! Excellent story, excellent narrators. I could not put this one down. Great book club or beach listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Grim Grim Grim

I cried copiously. This was heart breaking
F LAWLESS NARRATION.
Unrelenting cruelty that only Brits can commit.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful