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Essex Poison

(The County Guides #4)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  15 reviews
‘Beautifully crafted by Sansom, Professor Morley promises to become a little gem of English crime writing; sample him now’ Daily Mail

October 1937. Swanton Morley, the People’s Professor, sets off to Essex to continue his history of England, The County Guides. Morley’s daughter Miriam continues to cause chaos and his assistant Stephen Sefton continues to s
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 11th 2018 by Fourth Estate (first published January 12th 2017)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another instalment in the eccentric life of Morley (the Arthur Mee figure) and his glamorous daughter Miriam and assistant/narrator Stephen, whose "County guides" series has reached Essex. The mayor of Colchester dies at the famous oyster feast - of natural causes, or not?
So many cultural references here, echoes of real people and events (with the opportunity for some benefit of hindsight stuff, like Morley's fantasy mobile phones). The cottage which Morley makes available for Stephen's us
easy going novel in the county guides series a throwback to the 1930's style murder mystery novels with the backdrop of visiting different counties at the time.
K.E. Coles
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. My favourite County Guide so far. Sefton is such a wonderful character, & he's developing more depth with each story. Really looking forward to reading the next one.
John Lee
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For a change , it appears that I have not started at the beginning of a series and if I had I may have got used to the style of narrative. I may also have worked out whether the author intended it to be comic/light hearted/ or tongue in cheek.
Although there was a death, the question of whether or not a crime had taken place seemed to dominate a lot of the book which seemed to be more of a travelogue than a murder mystery.
I enjoyed some of the humour and once you got used to the way the st
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this quirky series about the People's Professor, his daughter and assistant(who never has his notebook or pencil at hand)travelling to various English counties gathering information for a series of "guides."
There's always a token mystery but the focus is really on local color and on the assistant, Sefton. Sefton is a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and seems to be suffering from PTSD - drowning his terrors in alcohol and gambling.
The Professor obviously sees something worth s
Michael Rumney
This quirk novel blew hot and cold with me as Stephen Sefton accompanies Morley and his daughter Miriam on writing another 1930s County guide.
It felt more like a travel information novel and with a somewhat confusing end I'm not even certain any crime was committed, except when Sefton takes something to pay off a gambling debt.
Miriam and Sefton are interesting characters and for that reason I'd liked to have seen Miriam a lot more, only she takes herself off to hotel rooms and stays
Symon Hill
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great brook in the 'County Guides' series (the fourth in the series). As with the others, it's great in terms of an engaging story, brilliant characters and lots of humour, offset by occasional dark undertones and more complex emotions. I think it's probably the funniest book in the series since the first one (The Norfolk Mystery). From a mystery point of of view, the plot is not as good as other aspects of the book, but this tends to be the case with Ian Sansom's books generally (perhap ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is the fourth of Sansom's County Guides mysteries, in which autodidact journalist Swanton Morley, his glamorous daughter Miriam, and factotum Stephen Sefton travel the length and breadth of Britain in the 1930s, writing travel guides and solving murders. Quality writing that is a cut above the usual cosy murder mystery fare: narrator Sefton is a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, and his troubled soul casts just the right amount of shadow over Morley's oblivious blowhardiness.
Sue Keeble
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Stanton Morley adventure. Set in Colchester and Mersea it gives a less than enthusiastic appraisal of both locations in pre war setting. Crime was a less gripping aspect of the story than the hilarious depiction of place and character.
Andy T
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Rather too much background / 1930’s travel info and not enough plot for me. Read the Norfolk mystery with the same outcome, the books moves into interest gear in the last 20 pages. Not a series for me
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, the People's Professor makes an entertaining travelling companion, as well as solving the obligatory murder mystery. This one is set close to home, with much of the action in inter-war Colchester. Southend's Kursaal also features, Becontree and the Dagenham Girl Pipers ...
Marielyn K
Jun 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Slow development of storyline, and the way Morley always going about with his random ramblings gets really tiresome once you reach halfway through the book. Expected a rich “crime”, mystery novel but instead was nothing like that.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: failed-to-read
Best one of the series I believe. With so much character in these books the crime plots always seems a little inconsequential, similar to his mobile library series. However the writing, characters and comic asides make these a gem of a Series.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable, educational journey with Miriam, Sefton and Morley with very little shillyshalling or funking going on as they journey on their fourth County Guides into Essex... Joyous writing from Ian Sansom, roll on Sussex
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Jan 11, 2017
Karen Easton
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Jun 11, 2017
Peter J Katic
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Other books in the series

The County Guides (4 books)
  • The Norfolk Mystery (The County Guides, #1)
  • Death in Devon (The County Guides #2)
  • Westmorland Alone (The County Guides #3)