A Whiff of Cyanide - Guy Fraser-Sampson - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

A Whiff of Cyanide – Guy Fraser-Sampson

A Crime Writers Convention – famous authors falling out – a drink spiked with cyanide right under the nose of Hampstead’s Detective Sergeant Karen Willis …


The Hampstead Murders #3

Hampstead, gracious and atmospheric, has the honour to house a Crime Writers Convention, normally held in Bristol. Some authors want readers to attend, others, like Ann Durham, are reluctant to mingle with the public. There is more: psychologist Peter Collins, obsessed with Golden Age Detectives, on the verge of his book being published, has been invited to attend as a guest speaker. Detective Sergeant Karen Willis, his girlfriend, will accompany him. Oh, did I mention the two of them and Detective Inspector Bob Metcalfe living together and that this ménage à trois is regarded as somewhat strange by Detective Superintendent Simon Collinson, their close friend? Follow me to Hampstead Heath, once again to become the scene of murder!


Those of you who have read the first two instalments in The Hampstead Murders Series are aware that DI Bob Metcalfe and DS Karen Willis fell in love whilst Karen was in a relationship with psychologist Peter Collins. Peter needs Karen to keep him sane, she is his Harriet (Vane, later to become Lady Peter Wimsey), which makes him Lord Peter Wimsey. Peter identifies with the Peter from Dorothy Sayers’ books because of his fascination with the Golden Age Detectives and the methodology of Dorothy Sayers’ great protagonist. That is why they came up with this arrangement and so far, all three of them are happily living in the lovely Hampstead mansion. At a dinner party with Super Simon Collinson and his pregnant wife, Peter Collins tells his guests how he looks forward to attending the Crime Writers Convention, held near Hampstead, and meeting famous writers such as Ann Durham, “the doyenne of English crime fiction” and author of six successful books, adapted for television.

Then there is Tom Smythe, the author who insists Ann Durham vacates the Chair of the Conference. Tom Smythe despises Ann, her success, her drive to control and her power to rule. Now the time has come to overthrow the Queen and take over the Throne .. the chairmanship of the Crime Writers’ Convention. Will he succeed? However, that question is off the table when Angela Hughes, Ann Durham’s agent, brings with her a small bottle of cyanide she has somehow obtained and Ann Durham is thrilled. Would she have known that soon, she would drink a glass containing the lethal liquid and drop dead in front of a shocked audience, Ann might have reacted otherwise. But perhaps she did know and, seeing her anxiety over the last days, decided to commit suicide en plein public or should this be regarded as murder most foul? With psychologist Peter Collins and DS Karen Willis as prime witnesses, it seems an open and shut case to investigate but still, DS Simon Collinson has his work cut out for him!

My Thoughts

I love the Hampstead Murders series by Guy Fraser-Sampson! They are sparkly, witty, and this one has even a conference of crime writers! How cool is that? It is great reconnecting to Collinson and Golden Age detective addict as well as psychologist Collins and his menage-a-trois with Karen Willis and Bob Metcalfe. There was one plot (twist) however, I could not reconcile in my mind, feeling it was devoid of the main real-life emotions I expected to be displayed by the character(s) involved and therefore somewhat difficult to believe in my eyes, although I understand the author’s need to deal with the topic as such. Cryptic as it may sound, I cannot divulge more for fear of giving the plot away. Having said that, the (rest of the) plot is intricate, the novel well-written and entertaining. I loved from the outset the basic concept of this detective novel and the tension between the crime authors. Another great instalment in The Hamstead Murders series!

About the Author

Guy Fraser-Sampson Author Image

Guy Fraser-Sampson is a lawyer with deep-set roots in the investment area. Since 2007, he has been a member of the teaching staff at Cass Business School. A few years ago he started writing fiction. He has written three books in the ‘Mapp and Lucia’ series and also three in ‘The Hampstead Murder’ series. Volume #1 is ‘Death in Profile‘ (March 18, 2016) and you can read my review here. Volume #2 is ‘Miss Christie Regrets‘ (my review).

Book Info

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 Paperback   360 pages
 Publisher   Urbane Publications (June 2, 2017)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1911129767
 ISBN-13 978-1911129769

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