The Poisoned Island - Lloyd Shepherd Someone nicely described The English Monster as ‘Regency X-Files.’ Well, this is Regency Fringe.

A ship arrives from the strange, doomed island of Tahiti, carrying a cargo of plants destined for the gardens at Kew. But not all the plants are what they seem. And when certain members of the crew are found dead, Constable Charles Horton and his magistrate, John Harriott, must once again dig up the buried crimes of England’s past.

LONDON 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti. When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew? Horton must employ his singular methods to uncover a chain of conspiracy stretching all the way back to the foot of the great dead volcano Tahiti Nui, beneath the hungry eyes of ancient gods.

Thrilling, colourful theatrical that is a murder mystery packed with historical detail and a touch of weird.