'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creeping Venom

Published 1946

Description from back cover:
  Was it just a coincidence that the very rich and very Protestant Miss Hampton dined on poisonous escargot just hours after she threatened to cut her cousin, Liam Hampton, out of her will if he married Catholic beauty Meriel Booley Browne? Or did her death have more to do with another old lady, long rumored to be a witch, who put a curse on her head? Or was it the old lady's young companion, Priscilla Hoyle, who perhaps knew some household secret? Or did the cook simply mistake a deadly liniment for a condiment? Maybe it was another distant relative, Ethelwyn Linacre, who thought her son Tim should inherit Hampton Court.
  The residents of Bainsborough (a one and three Irish town-one sergeant and three policemen in the local Civic Guard barrack) all have their theories but it's up to Tim, A Trinity college student who dabbles in many areas, from snail cultivation to science, to turn detective and figure out whodunit in this charming Irish mystery.

I absolutely adored this mystery! I have to have the other 3 Sheila Pim books now! Her depiction of Irish village life is delightful and the characters are quirky and lovable.

In chapter 16 Miss Pim writes - 'Already he knew all the relevant facts,* though he had so far failed to assemble them.'  at the bottom of the page: * And so does the reader. I thought that was very interesting! So pay close attention from the get go and you might be able to solve it! 

Cast of characters:
Miss Rebecca Hampton is 80 and a fierce Protestant, she had her will alter to forbid her heir to marry a Catholic.

Liam Hampton, her cousin and closest relative, thought to be courting a Catholic girl!

Meriel Booley Browne, the Catholic girl in question and so lovely the rector wistfully  proclaimed it a pity that 'providence had not seen fit to bestow such beauty on a Protestant'.

Priscilla Hoyle, a Dubliner, and Miss Hampton's secretary-companion. Is she falling in love with Liam?

Tim Linacre, 20, a college student home on holiday, can't make up his mind what he wants to be. Maybe a detective! A distant cousin of Miss Hampton and 2nd in line to inherit the estate.

Lizzie Shegog, town witch, self-proclaimed expert on herbs, and keeper of an errant goat.

Just to mention a few of the wonderful inhabitants of Bainsborough!
Sheila Pim wrote her first detective novel, Common or Garden Crime, to satisfy her father’s thirst for detective stories, the publication of which had been curtailed thanks to the paper shortages which affected neutral Ireland during the “Emergency”—or World War II, as it was called in most other parts of the globe. The book turned into something of a collaboration, at least when it came to research, with Sheila and her accountant father pooling their knowledge of gardening and sharing details about the habits of their Dublin neighbors...click here to finish reading about Sheila Pim at Rue Morgue 

I could not find a picture of Ms. Pim:( 


  1. Hi Peggy,

    First of all, I have to say that I just love your 'keds'. They are fast becoming all the rage here in the UK now, although yours are particularly attractive.

    Sheila Pim is a new author to me, however this is a series that I shall definitely be looking to catch up with very soon. I guess that because of the period when they were written, they would be very similar in style of writing and language, to the books of Agatha Christie?

    How strange that there are no photos of Sheila at all, perhaos she preferred to remain somewhat anonymous.

    Thanks for the recommendation and lovely review.


    1. Yvonne, wait 'til you see the new pair of Keds I have coming in the mail! I enjoyed Pim much more than Christie!

  2. You discover the most interesting authors! Thanks for sharing all your finds - you've got me on several "treasure hunts" now. Next time I'm near the used book store (85 miles away), I'll have a hayday!

    1. Tami, I wish I had a good used bookstore around here but I don't I usually get mine online:(

  3. I don't remember ever seeing any of her books but I'll be looking out for them now. You seem to track down mystery writers as if you're a sleuth yourself!


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