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Louisa the Poisoner

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  192 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Raised in a swamp by a mad witch, poor Louisa grew up with one goal in mind: to marry a wealthy man, then inherit his lands and money by whatever means it takes. And Louisa may well succeed, for she is a stunning beauty with the manners of an angel. At last she sets off to make her fortune . . . and with the help of her vial of undetectable poison, she soon finds her first ...more
80 pages
Published (first published 1995)
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Night's Master by Tanith LeeDeath's Master by Tanith LeeRed as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith LeeThe Silver Metal Lover by Tanith LeeDelirium's Mistress by Tanith Lee
Best Of (And Everything By) Tanith Lee
24th out of 97 books — 28 voters
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What Not to Marry
104th out of 122 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 351)
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Dannii Elle
Lee proves, once again, that she is the true queen of the macabre. She draws the reader into association with the criminal and makes the unlikable, immoral and irredeemable somehow the stars of the show. The reader is drawn into Louisa’s confidence and, as such, is a party to her Gothic display of morbid curiosity and depraved actions. And, despite all that, it hard not to find her sagacity in darkness utterly beguiling.
Kim Falconer
Sep 30, 2011 Kim Falconer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully gruesome tale told in a kind of high English voice. Think of a dark Jane Austin nightmare and how. Tanith Lee must be one of the most diverse speculative fictions authors around. She's an inspiration. I love her work!
Jan 02, 2012 Nadir rated it really liked it
Told in the style of Grimm’s fairy tales, this short novel is a dark fantasy with a delightful attitude. The story follows Louisa, a penniless yet beautiful girl raised in the marshes on her mission to gather wealth by means of marrying wealthy men and then murdering them with an untraceable poison.

I found this in my quest to add more Tanith Lee to my collection. No one can have too much Tanith Lee, and I have woefully little. She is favourite author of mine, though there is much of her work I h
Oct 01, 2011 Tommy rated it really liked it
What's not to like, if you're a Tanith Lee fan? It's short, really a novella, and reminds me of "Vivia," or one of her other stories about an icy woman with seemingly no moral compass. Tanith breaks a lot of so-called "rules" about fiction writing, but it doesn't matter because she creates characters so fascinating that I want to read about them, even if they're horrible and cold. Louisa is brought up in the swamp by an herbalist who teaches her the fine art of poisoning, and Louisa then finds a ...more
Deanna Jamero
Jun 09, 2013 Deanna Jamero rated it really liked it
Shelves: default
What a twist! . . . Eh?

I own an indecent amount of Tanith Lee books and this one lacks the richness and depth of imagery as her other books. Still good and a keeper for my library.

It's a story of an isolated beautiful young woman who was trained by her archetypal witch of an aunt on how to put on airs from a book of etiquette. Living in the swamp, there's no appropriate audience for this skill but she adopts it as if she were born aristocracy.

Enter the poison that earns her her title. After deal
Feb 05, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I like anything by Tanith Lee and this book is no exception. Louisa the Poisoner is like an updated version of a Grim fairy tale but more believable because Louisa seems like an actual sociopath than someone who turns into a wolf during certain lunar events.

This is more novella than novel, and rather dark, but I enjoyed it. I only wish Lee's books were easier to get here in the United States.
Andromeda Huffman
Jul 19, 2015 Andromeda Huffman rated it liked it
Classic Tanith Lee if not the best Tanith Lee.

Those familiar with her stories will know the beats and enjoy the wordplay. Louisa is a savage and beautiful young woman raised in poverty on the Mire. After murdering her caretaker, she goes out to seek her fortune in the way you'd expect: utilizing her beauty and her little vial of poison to get what she wants.

Tanith Lee's passing caused this book to wind up in my path. There's nothing new here, but I welcomed a familiar journey in a familiar set
Andromeda M31
Jul 19, 2015 Andromeda M31 rated it liked it
Classic Tanith Lee if not the best Tanith Lee.

Those familiar with her stories will know the beats and enjoy the wordplay. Louisa is a savage and beautiful young woman raised in poverty on the Mire. After murdering her caretaker, she goes out to seek her fortune in the way you'd expect: utilizing her beauty and her little vial of poison to get what she wants.

Tanith Lee's passing caused this book to wind up in my path. There's nothing new here, but I welcomed a familiar journey in a familiar set
Nov 22, 2015 Camille rated it liked it
This was an interesting little short (novella?) about a beautiful girl raised in a swamp by her aunt, who she steals a vial of poison from. She ends up leaving the swamp and ends up taken in by a rich old man and his obnoxious relatives.

It was quick to read and moderately entertaining. There were even a few illustrations. I mean, it's essentially just Louisa, poisoning the shit out of everyone in the mansion. Something Tanith fans will probably enjoy - but if you've never read Tanith, don't sta
Mar 17, 2015 Dina rated it liked it
Tanith Lee’s prose is beautiful as always, since Lee simply cannot write a single sentence that is not a work of art – a pompous way to put it, sorry, but it is the truth. Louisa the Poisoner is a rather short novel, about a beautiful girl named Louisa, who – well, you guessed it, right? – poisons people. The style reminded me a lot of Lee’s other two works, Elephantasm and the Heart-Beast, though probably not as gory. Overall, considering that dark fantasy is not usually my cup of tea, it was s ...more
Cathy Bryant
Apr 06, 2016 Cathy Bryant rated it it was amazing
Grim and refreshingly weird, this is another example of Lee's originality. Out from a swamp life of cruelty and bad smells, Louisa makes her way in the respectable world - and does very well, being unencumbered by morals. Dark, twisted, and fun.
Aug 10, 2016 Ursa rated it really liked it
A short and sweet traditional gothic tale of horror. Predictable at time, yet still enjoyable with a tangibly suspenseful atmosphere. There isn't a good person in sight. Only bad, evil, and worse.
Tanith Lee writes the best creepy fairy/folk tales! Louisa the Poisoner is a short and delightfully morbid read. I need to read more of Lee's work; she's done so much.
What a delightfully fucked up little book! This novella is in keeping with Tanith Lee's sense of morbid humor, thoroughly enjoyable if that's your bag. It's a very quick read but doesn't seem stunted or forced.
Sep 16, 2014 Katie rated it it was ok
This was more of a short story than a novel. Ido enjoy Tanith Lee's books, but I feel that she could have fleshed this out a bit more.
Thane Eichenauer
May 31, 2014 Thane Eichenauer rated it it was amazing
I was captured by this dark tale. I wanted to put the book away for good. I am happy that I completed reading this book.
Sep 24, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
A fun to read quick dark fairy tale. A perfect one day read.
I like the concept but the ending is kind of weak. But I like it anyway at least as a great fan of her Flat Earth tales, if you get my meaning, though I remember reading something similar before.
Dec 26, 2014 Kaila rated it liked it
I won't lie, I chose this one because it was the shortest book on my shelves and I'm a mere 3 (now only 2) books away from my goal. I wonder why they chose to bind it by itself. Even with one other novella, it would have felt more substantial.

Otherwise, it was a lovely Tanith Lee story with all of the "respect" for life I've come to expect.

I am not convinced that she knows how to end a story.
Jun 26, 2016 nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
3.5 stars. i really liked this! the ending was a little weak, though. i'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more tanith lee works.
Oct 03, 2016 Akcire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, novels
The wolf who has killed the lamb and feasts on its chops can feel no pain.

It's a shame goodreads doesn't have the option to upper the rating, I would have given this amazing short about 20 stars! It was dark and passionate, it was beyond original! Wish I could have picked up Tanith Lee's books before her passing, she really deserves to be praised for the amazing author she fought to be.
Apr 11, 2008 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this story. It descends deeply into the very foggiest memories. An easy read and fit for general readers of all kinds of mysteries and era stories. It doesn’t have a strong eventful opening in Lousia’s life for beginners. But she has been exploited as an individual and is explored by a public who mean in such opinions as of man of court since there required evidences of death.
Sep 04, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
What a charming dark fairytale, as its says louisa the poisoner indeed!
Aug 26, 2010 Tammy rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic
From the title, you do she did it, but will she get away with it? Old English style of writing though, which I like but isn't everyone's cup of tea.
Sep 08, 2008 Marita rated it did not like it
Recommended to Marita by: Bill Davis
This books lists itself as a historical fantasy. I'd say horror. Only redeeming quality was that it was clean and short otherwise a waste.
Dec 17, 2012 Moose rated it liked it
A fairy tale of the darker sort. Such a cold and morally bereft protagonist.
Elizabeth Škec
Sep 11, 2013 Elizabeth Škec rated it it was amazing
Loved it but it is more of a novella. I wanted more.
Oct 08, 2015 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tanith_lee-own
This is copy 13 of 300 signed numbered copies.
Stephanie Manson
Aug 23, 2012 Stephanie Manson rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fantasy
A fun, dark fairytale of a story.
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai
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“Pale beauty stands aghast,” he said, “at the vulgar ugliness of men.” 6 likes
“She was what an aristocrat should be, porcelain and silk, unreachable, gracious, untainted by the dust of all this common death.” 4 likes
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