Hodder & Stoughton - 2001
ISBN: 0340718617 -  Paperback

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde, MyShelf.Com
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This is the sixth of the John Rawlings mysteries featuring the inventor of carbonated water and the famous “Blind Beak” John Fielding.  This time he has to investigate after a Liveryman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries dies of poisoning following a dinner.  John had treated the man and thought him on the road to recovery but when he is found dead foul play is suspected.  Has somebody been tampering with ingredients in the kitchens of Apothecaries’ Hall?   There seem to be many people who might have had a hand in this from a bereaved parent who has a grudge against apothecaries to the Beadle who had quarreled with the Master.  John comes up against more complications when he falls in love again and tries to find his way through a maze of suspects and red herrings.

This delightful series is as effervescent as the carbonated water John Rawlings is accredited with inventing.  Lake manages with an admirable economy of verbiage to describe life in the robust mid 18th century with its painted fops and belles rubbing shoulders with swearing wherrymen, worthy trades people and Bow Street Runners.  There is much to enjoy in here with a puzzling case that twists and turns populated with likeable and lively characters.  Like all the books in this series I recommend it highly and hope that there will be a seventh novel out before too long.  

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