Cover image for A head for poisoning
A head for poisoning
Beaufort, Simon.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
378 pages ; 22 cm
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On the way home to his castle in Wales, one of Geoffrey de Mappestone's knights is killed during an ambush. The knight had claimed to be carrying an important message for the King, but when Geoffrey tries to deliver it, he is faced with the King's orders to spy on his own family to ferret out a traitor.Meanwhile, the future of the family estate is already in jeopardy, and Geoffrey's father is found murdered with his own knife during the night. As Geoffrey investigates, he finds the danger reaches from his family all the way to the King.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Battle weary and disillusioned with the Crusades, Sir Geoffrey de Mappestone leaves the Holy Land and returns to his native Wales in order to make peace with his rapidly failing father before he dies. When Geoffrey discovers that both his father and his beloved sister have been poisoned to death, he initially suspects his three older brothers of foul play. Though it is widely known that the de Mappestone heirs have been feuding over the division of the family estate for years, it soon becomes evident that the murderer had an even broader and more daring agenda. At the behest of the king himself, Sir Geoffrey undertakes an investigation to expose a murderer and uncover a treasonous plot to topple the royal house. The twists and turns of the meticulously crafted plot will keep readers guessing until the last page. Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set shortly after the killing of English King William Rufus in 1100, this absorbing historical mystery features the return of Sir Geoffrey Mappestone, the unusual crusader knight and unwilling amateur detective who first appeared in Murder in the Holy City. After 20 years abroad, Geoffrey is informed of his father's impending death, and he reluctantly wends his way home to his family's estates near the Welsh border. On the way, a knight in his retinue who carries messages to the king is killed during an ambushÄnot a propitious start to Geoffrey's homecoming. King Henry I orders Geoffrey to uncover the truth behind the suspicious happenings at the crusader's own home, Goodrich Castle, including the slow poisoning that is killing his father and the sudden death of his favorite sister, Enide. At home, Geoffrey discovers a hornet's nest of greed and treachery, wherein his three brothers and surviving sister wait for their hard-hearted father to die so they can inherit his estates. Geoffrey's father is then found slain by his own dagger, and the knight must strive to discern the murderer as more bodies pile up around him. Beaufort's lively prose and diabolical characters, as well as Geoffrey's sorely tested indestructibility, keep matters moving swiftly. The novel offers finely written descriptions of medieval life and, above all, the exceptionally engaging character of the bookish, highly moral Geoffrey. An exciting finale caps this entertaining period tale from the pseudonymous Beaufort. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Geoffrey Mappestone returns from the Crusades to his family's castle in Wales, he is not exactly welcomed by his feuding brothers and sisters-in-law or his cruel father, who is convinced that someone is trying to murder him. Soon Godric Mappestone really is dead, and Geoffrey must defend himself against a murder charge while uncovering the scary truth of his beloved sister's death. Taut, quick-paced, and full of excellent characterization, this sequel to Murder in the Holy City (LJ 12/98) is another winner. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.