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A Trace of Poison: A Riveting Historical Mystery Set in the Home of Agatha Christie (A Phyllida Bright Mystery #2) (Paperback)

A Trace of Poison: A Riveting Historical Mystery Set in the Home of Agatha Christie (A Phyllida Bright Mystery #2) By Colleen Cambridge Cover Image
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In this captivating English murder mystery from an acclaimed author, Agatha Christie’s housekeeper must uncover the killer amongst a throng of crime writers.

“Balances Downton Abbey–style period charm with a tight plot that twists and turns right until the end… a plot that would satisfy Poirot.” – Library Journal

“Dame Agatha would be proud.” – Publishers Weekly

In England’s stately manor houses, murder is not generally a topic for polite conversation. Mallowan Hall, home to Agatha Christie and her husband, Max, is the exception. And housekeeper Phyllida Bright delights in discussing gory plot details with her friend and employer . . .

The neighboring village of Listleigh has also become a hub of grisly goings-on, thanks to a Murder Fête organized to benefit a local orphanage. Members of The Detection Club—a group of celebrated authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha herself—will congregate for charitable events, including a writing contest for aspiring authors. The winner gets an international publishing contract, and entrants have gathered for a cocktail party—managed by the inimitable Phyllida—when murder strikes too close even for her comfort.

It seems the victim imbibed a poisoned cocktail intended for Alastair Whittlesby, president of the local writers’ club. The insufferable Whittlesby is thought to be a shoo-in for the prize, and ambition is certainly a worthy motive. But narrowing down these suspects could leave even Phyllida’s favorite fictional detective, M. Poirot, twirling his moustache in frustration.

It’s a mystery too intriguing for Phyllida to resist, but one fraught with duplicity and danger, for
every guest is an expert in murder—and how to get away with it . . .

About the Author

Colleen Cambridge is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Phyllida Bright Mysteries, the first of which, Murder at Mallowan Hall, was an Indie Next Pick and Agatha Award finalist. An accomplished historian whose meticulously  researched novels appeal to fans of historical fiction and mysteries alike, she also writes under the pennames C.M. Gleason and  Colleen Gleason. She lives in the Midwest and can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for the Phyllida Bright Mysteries by Colleen Cambridge:

“Cambridge balances Downton Abbey–style period charm with a tight plot that twists and turns right until the end, with utter believability… The real-life historical players make only brief cameos, but Cambridge creates such a compelling cast of fictional characters that they are hardly missed. Reminiscent of Jessica Ellicott’s “Beryl & Edwina” series, this novel will please readers with its historical world and a plot that would satisfy Poirot.” —Library Journal on A Trace of Poison

“Cambridge weaves in just the right amount of historical detail and references to classic Christie novels while placing Phyllida and her intelligent sleuthing skills front and center…Fans of traditional mysteries will appreciate the author’s sometimes tongue-in-cheek adherence to the conventions of the genre, particularly the denouement where all is revealed. Dame Agatha would be proud.” —Publishers Weekly on A Trace of Poison

“Cambridge takes inspiration from several of Christie’s most celebrated novels in devising her agreeably intricate plot.” —Kirkus Reviews on A Trace of Poison
“Charmingly told, with a full upstairs-downstairs cast of guests and servants, Murder at Mallowan Hall is a wonderful mystery by Colleen Cambridge…Fans of Agatha Christie, historical fiction and fierce female leads are all sure to enjoy Murder at Mallowan Hall.” —Shelf Awareness on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“It’s obvious Cambridge had a blast writing the book, set in 1930s Devonshire, and her fun is infectious. Phyllida is a confident first-time detective, modeling herself on her hero, Christie’s Hercule Poirot, who outshines all suitors who have come her way. Phyllida’s smarts and assurance don’t save her from making mistakes, some of which delay solving the case. Paced at a gallop, it’s an entertaining read. Recommended.” —Historical Novel Society on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“Two words describe this book: absolutely delicious…Murder at Mallowan Hall is a near-perfect traditional mystery.” —First Clue on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“Colleen Cambridge has done her homework on English society and provides us with a clear picture of her characters, where they live, and how they act. She does well at capturing the era with all the right language and dialects. It’s a good cozy to read with a cup of tea on the patio.” —New York Journal of Books on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“A delicious combination of Downton Abbey and a meta-play on a Christie novel (obviously, The Body in the Library). The Downton Abbey bit is Cambridge’s attention to 1920's domestic detail and the way Mrs. Bright runs the household...Agatha Christie the character plays a very peripheral part in the proceedings, but Agatha Christie the writer haunts every page of this delightful book that both pays homage to the Queen of Crime, but also embroiders on her work with a fresh character and a fresh look at a part of her life. This is a wonderful series debut.” —Mystery Scene on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“The premise of a crime-solving housekeeper to the one and only Agatha Christie is full of promise and portent.  It’s such a pleasure when the first book in a new mystery series is well-crafted and I look forward to reading more of Phyllida Bright’s adventures in detection.” —Criminal Element on Murder at Mallowan Hall

"What if Agatha Christie’s housekeeper was the best detective of all? In this delightful book, she is! You will love watching Phyllida spot the clues the authorities miss when a dead body shows up in Agatha’s library. An outstanding start to what promises to be a winning new series." —Victoria Thompson, USA Today Bestselling Author of Murder on Wall Street on Murder at Mallowan Hall

“Cambridge pens a thoroughly intriguing mystery, told in a unique manner from the perspective of the staff belowstairs rather than the upper class above, in this splendid first installment in a new series. Her heroine, Phyllida Bright, is the confident, shrewd, and eminently capable housekeeper for none other than the grand dame of mystery herself—Agatha Christie—and a great admirer of Christie’s fictional detective Poirot, whose methods she seeks to emulate. Fans of Tessa Arlen and Jennifer Ashley will be delighted.” —Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Verity Kent Mysteries on Murder at Mallowan Hall

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496732484
ISBN-10: 1496732480
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English
Series: A Phyllida Bright Mystery