Nice Review of The Poisoned Pawn by Hilary MacLeod

It’s always great when another author reads an author’s work and likes it because we authors can be tough critics. Here’s a new review of The Poisoned Pawn posted by mystery writer Hilary MacLeod on Amazon and elsewhere.  Much appreciated, Hilary!


Sometimes second novels disappoint. This is clearly not the case with “The Poisoned Pawn,” Peggy Blair’s sequel to “The Beggar’s Opera.” It’s had a ton of reviews in the press — in all the right places, and Blair seems to have hit all the right buttons with reviewers.

It begins with a really well-done weaving of the new narrative with the old. The 48 hours of “Pawn” reach back to the 72 hours of “Opera” and the threads in the two books join seamlessly. The author is more relaxed in her writing in this second book, and it moves along smoothly, step by flawless step.

Blair has given herself time constraints in both books –2 and 3 days for her inspector Ricardo Ramirez to find out, and figure out, a lot of stuff. TBO was set in Cuba. TPP is set in both Canada and Cuba, and this allows for some stark contrasts and striking similarities between the two countries.

Through the inspector’s eyes, we see an embarassingly rich Canada, with its surplus of luxuries, not merely necessities. In Cuba, Ramirez can’t access the simplest of supplies to conduct even a rudimentary police investigation. Through his eyes also, we see our democratic society, flawed but with its emphasis on individual rights.

Ramirez is on a mission that centers around the most shameful fact of life in both countries: rampant pedophilia, and, most particularly priestly pedophilia. Both countries share the further shame of their treatment of indigenous peoples.

This is a mystery story, not a political polemic, but these serious issues are part of the story. And Blair tells her story well, while still making her point.

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