Book Review: Frances and Richard Lockridge’s Pinch of Poison

Posted September 17, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Frances and Richard Lockridge’s Pinch of Poison

Pinch of Poison

on December 1, 1994 and has 200 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Third in the Norths mystery series set in late 1930s New York City and war has broken out and revolves around a trio: Jerry North, an editor with Kensington & Brown, Pam is his wife, and William Weigand is a detective.

My Take

The start to this story certainly had me going. I just knew the taxi driver was about to be killed. Whew… Other than this, it’s the same low-key approach with odd bits of humor. Part of me is irritated that the Lockridges portray Pam as a dizzy dame, and yet I also like that she’s so far ahead of them in terms of solving the crime, although both Weigand and Jerry are bright men. Maybe the Lockridges are simply playing up women’s intuition??

The Lockridges take us on twists and turns from the start, dropping tidbits of information as the story progresses. It’s very matter-of-fact and very typical police work: investigating people and verifying their stories. The untypical is how seriously Weigand takes what Pam North has to say, and the amount of information he spills to the Norths. The clues are both subtle and not, and I kept going off on tangents, figuring out part of it and still being surprised at the end.

I do love seeing this time period through the Lockridges’ story: it’s weird that Pam doesn’t know how old she is; cops today would be envious of all the cops Weigand can detail off to shadow people; and, the technology of the time is brought home with that inability to communicate as easily as we do today.

I’m suspicious of this brother who doesn’t mourn his sister… Why doesn’t Pam contact the police station when Michael is found?

The budding romance between Bill and Dorian is building slowly, very slowly which ought to satisfy those of you who hate the insta-love, LOL.

The Story

It appears to be a good life for Lois Winston. Good right up until she no longer has it, and Lieutenant Weigand is pulled into the investigation with Pam in his wake.

It’s a plague of secrets with people hiding life-changing events until Weigand and Pam North work it out to be what you’d never expect.

The Characters

The Norths are socially active and spending time with Weigand and Dorian. Gerald “Jerry” is laid back and amused with his wife’s, Pam‘s, intuitive leaps. I never do understand how she makes the connections she does. Pete, their cat, has been on his own unintended vacation.

Now promoted to lieutenant and still an acting captain, William Weigand is seeing Dorian Hunt, the fashion illustrator he met in Murder Out of Turn. Detective-Sergeant Aloysius Mullins also got a promotion and really does like his alcohol; he’s starting to infect Weigand with “screwy”. Their boss is Deputy Chief Inspector Artemus O’Malley. Dr. Jerome Francis is the assistant medical examiner. Detective Stein is helping.

Lois Wilson is a society girl with a big heart. In spite of her big bucks, she volunteers at the Placement Foundation. Dave McIntosh is the son of James McIntosh, a very wealthy man. He’s in love with Lois and wants to marry her. Randall “Buddy” Ashley is Lois’ half-brother; his father set up a trust that binds him terribly. Mrs. Ashley is their mother who surprises them all. Anna is Lois’ maid; Mary Holden is a housemaid. Madge Ormond, a.k.a., Stella Ormk, is a lounge singer with whom Buddy is enthralled.

Mary Crane is the secretary of the Placement Foundation. Ellen Pickett is the social worker who suspected Lois of taking over her job. Mrs. Eva Halstead is the formidable old woman with whom Michael Osborne was boarded. Richard Osborne is his father; he’s dying and wants to ensure a home for his three-year-old son. Barton Halstead is Mrs. Halstead’s nephew; a man she takes great delight in making uncomfortable. Margaret Graham is almost desperate to adopt Michael; her husband, John Graham, works at Henri et Paulette, a perfume company. Miss Hand is John’s secretary. George Benoit is Margaret’s father. Cyrus Graham, John’s father, is very ill and trapped in a wheelchair; he has very decided notions about insanity.

Max Fineberg is a taxi driver with a pregnant wife in the hospital. Nicholas is the maître d’hôtel at the Ritz-Plaza. Frank Kensitt is the quick-thinking busboy with his own agenda. Waiter No. 67 saw something. Zepkin is the hotel detective.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a plain linen broken into a one-quarter vertical band of black on the left and the remaining three-quarters a red. The spine is where you’ll find the title.

The title tells all, for it was just A Pinch of Poison.