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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Poisonous Journey: The First Lady Evelyn Mystery is a historical sleuth mystery written by Malia Zaidi. Evelyn's bored with her life in London, especially now that the city is in its cold, gray and drizzly late-winter weather pattern. Life with Aunt Agnes is predictably bleak, as it has been ever since Evelyn came to stay with her as a four-year-old orphan. Aunt Agnes is a brusque, stern and overly protective guardian. When Evelyn receives a letter from her cousin, Briony, she's thrilled to read her cousin's invitation to come visit her and her husband, Jeffrey, in their new home in Crete. As it was, Evelyn only got to read the letter due to the kindness of Harris, the butler, who was able to sneak it past the eagle eyes of her aunt. Even though Evelyn is now in her mid-twenties, Aunt Agnes still feels it necessary and proper to keep her niece under control. And so it was that Evelyn surreptitiously made her plans to depart London on an early train some days later, with Harris there to wish her farewell. After a tumultuous journey aboard a not entirely safe feeling ship, Evelyn is thrilled to step foot on the sunny isle of Crete where Briony's chauffeur, Yannick, is waiting for her.
Malia Zaidi's historical sleuth mystery, A Poisonous Journey: The First Lady Evelyn Mystery, is a fascinating classic mystery tale set in Crete in 1925. Evelyn is a credible and intriguing character whose college training in the classics stands her in good stead as she visits her cousin, Briony, and her scholarly husband whose employment is with the Historical Museum in Heraklion. There's a hint of a burgeoning romance between Evelyn and one of Briony's other house guests, Daniel, and the murder of yet another house guest is a puzzle that the intellectually minded Evelyn cannot resist trying to solve. Overshadowing all is the spectre of the Great War which decimated an entire generation of British youth and left survivors who were physically or mentally scarred. Zaidi's plot is marvelous, with lots of red herrings for the reader and Evelyn to consider, and an exhilaratingly lovely setting. I enjoyed reading about the cousins' trips to Crete’s historical sites and their other sightseeing adventures on the island. Evelyn is a natural at sleuthing, and it's a good thing that her creator has future mysteries planned for her to solve. A Poisonous Journey is highly recommended.