Great Illustrated Books

The Poisoned House

By Michael Ford

Albert Whitman & Company, 2011
Pages : 328
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 9780807565896

Love, secrets, betrayals, murder, greed, and madness all play roles in this eerie tale, set in Victorian London and sure to grip readers from the very start with its startling cover featuring a hand reaching from the depths of a crypt.

Greave Hall has become a dark, haunted place since Abigail’s mother passed on a year ago. And when Abigail’s attempt to flee servitude in the Hall fails, it does not bode well for her. If Mrs. Cotton, the housekeeper, had mistreated Abigail before, the abuse will only become greater now. But that is not what worries Abigail most. Abigail has begun to believe that Mrs. Cotton poisoned her mother.

Following leads that take twists and turns, Abigail discovers that her mother was having an affair with Lord Greaves and concludes that Mrs. Cotton must have felt her position was threatened. Why else would Abigail’s mother keep appearing from beyond the grave, disrupting the household and Abigail’s dreams, if not to warn Abigail about Mrs. Cotton? But when Abigail tries mystic means to interpret her mother’s message, she seems to be pointing the finger at someone else. Abigail does not know who to trust until she finds an ally in Lord Greave’s son . . . or does he have sinister motives of his own?

Moody and atmospheric, with a cast of brooding characters, The Poisoned House will have readers gasping as the suspense builds to a pulse-pounding crescendo before the mystery is unraveled.

Reviewed by : JMcD


If you love this book, then try:

Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan (Leviathan series). Simon Pulse, 2009.

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008.

Lane, Andrew. Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes series). FSG, 2011.

Wooding, Chris. Malice. Scholastic, 2009.

Critics have said

This well-crafted novel delivers all the elements of a great ghost story: a brooding gothic atmosphere, an adventurous protagonist who intrepidly pursues every terrifying new clue, a relentless and scary ghost, and a colorful cast of fully developed secondary characters.

In all, scary, compelling and atmospheric enough for a satisfying chill.
Kirkus Reviews