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03 November 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 35 (& a ramble) - Jean Teule's The Poisoning Angel

The Book & The Tease
Jean Teulé - The Poisoning Angel

The Meme

The Ramble
Have you ever found yourself enamored with a book but without being able to pinpoint exactly WHY? I finished Jean Teulé's The Poisoning Angel in the wee small hours of the morning and I loved it ... but I'm not exactly sure why. I do know that I'm awfully glad that NetGalley was offering it up as a "Read Now" selection and that I decided to take a chance on it ... but I'm not exactly sure what it was about the book that delighted me so.

It's not a delightful subject matter with a delightful heroine, that's for sure. It's a fictionalized account of the life of Hélène Jégado -- a serial killer from the early 1850's. Born in 1803 in Brittany, she grew up listening to the old stories, folklores and superstitions of the Celts and seeing those beliefs mashed together with the increasing influence of the Roman Catholic church. She also learned at a very early age, according to this telling, how to kill. Her specialty was masking poison in foods that she cooked. Likening herself to Ankou -- the Breton henchman of Death -- she killed without discrimination or remorse. Friends, employers, family, strangers, lovers. No one was safe. 

She was found guilty of three murders, three attempted murders and multiple thefts in 1851. There would have been more but there was a ten year statute of limitations. The number of deaths linked directly to her is 36. Some think that number is even greater. 

See? Not a delightful heroine. 

Some highlights -- in random order:
* the Mass scene where she does her rosary of victims so far
* the blue dish
* her collection of souvenirs from her completed "tasks" 
* the random reappearances of the Norman wigmakers (if she had been Hamlet they would have been Rosencrantz and Guildenstern)
* her utter delight in "caring" for the ill -- and her utter dismay when someone wouldn't eat what she had made for them
* the defense's argument at her final trial

I should not have enjoyed this book so much. I feel like I should be saying some Hail Mary's over it all and I'm not even Catholic. And yet, it's a book I can definitely see myself rereading by an author I'll be reading more from.


  1. You're right — there's an inexplicable draw there. I'm going to give it a whirl. Here's my Tuesday teaser: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-10B

  2. I don't know . . .I can see why you'd be drawn to this one. I know I am. :-) I like the teaser you shared. I do understand that feeling though--really liking a book, but not being able to put into words exactly why that is. I think you did a good job expressing your thoughts here though.

    1. I tried explaining it to my boyfriend this morning ... How strange it was to not really know why it was so good! Glad someone understands!

  3. The description doesn't make it sound like it would be so gripping. Curious how different books fire our imaginations. The teaser on my adult blog comes from The Bad Boy CEO by Sugar Jamison. Happy reading!