A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang


image via goodreads


Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.


This was a slow building murder mystery with a heavy theme in the sciences.

With a count of about seven or eight characters introduced within the first few pages of the book, I had to put this one down and pick it up at another point when I could really concentrate. A fellow reviewer recommended taking notes, which I definitely think would have helped, however reading shouldn’t really be this confusing!

I enjoyed the references to chemistry and medicine, the book was well written, and I definitely didn’t figure out whodunnit, however this story lacked a certain bit of suspense and pacing that I enjoy with my mysteries.

Thank you to Netgalley, Lydia Kang, and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3 stars

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