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Arsenic for Tea
British edition cover
Author Robin Stevens
Cover artist Nina Tara
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Mystery, Children's
Publisher Corgi, Random House Children's Publishers
Publication date
29 January 2015
Pages 352
Preceded by Murder Most Unladylike 
Followed by First Class Murder 

Arsenic for Tea is a children's mystery novel by American-English author Robin Stevens. The story is written in the style of a casebook and follows the fictional schoolgirl Detective Society detectives, the Honourable Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, as they try to find the murderer of a guest at Daisy's birthday party, Mr. Curtis. Arsenic for Tea was nominated for the 2016 Carnegie Medal awards, but did not make the longlist. The book is a sequel to Murder Most Unladylike and is the second book in the Murder Most Unladylike series. It is set at Fallingford, Daisy's house, during the Easter Holidays, when Daisy's birthday takes place. Mr Curtis, a guest of Lady Hastings, Daisy's mother, is killed by arsenic. It is later revealed that the murderer is Stephen Bampton, who is staying at the house as well, Bertie's( Daisy's older brother) best friend because Mr Curtis was in fact a thief and it had happened to Stephen's family as well, but he attempted to prevent it from happening to Daisy's family as well. It is also revealed that Daisy's Uncle Felix was trying to arrest him also.

Plot Summary

Arriving at Fallingford House, Daisy's home, from their Easter term at Deepdean, they enter the house in the middle of an argument between Lord and Lady Hastings( Daisy's parents). Other people staying in the house include Bertie( Daisy's brother), Stephen Bampton( Bertie's best friend) and Miss Alston( Daisy and Hazel's governess and secretary to Lord Hastings). Daisywill turn 14 in the holidays so a party is planned. The guests are: Denis Curtis, antiques dealer and guest of Lady Hastings, Felix Mountfitchet, Daisy's uncle and brother to Lady Hastings, Saskia Wells, Aunt to Lord Hastings and Great-Aunt to Daisy, Catherine 'Kitty' Freebody and Rebecca 'Beanie' Martineau, Daisy and Hazel's friends from Deepdean. Daisy then Overhears Curtis say 'Ming' to himself at a pot before claiming at dinner that it was not Ming. He also claims various items in the house are worthless. Daisy, whilst playing a game of Hide and seek then tells Hazel that they are going downstairs to spy on Mr Curtis as she thinks he is highly suspicious. During their mission, they discover Uncle Felix speaking to Mr. Curtis and Uncle Felix greeting Miss Alston as if they know, and dislike each other. Mr Curtis then kisses Lady Hastings later that evening, upsetting Daisy. Bertie and Uncle Felix then burst in and yell at Mr Curtis. The next morning, they see Lord Hastings demand that Mr Curtis leave by that evening. They also see Miss Alston spying on Mr Curtis, and later that day, an argument between Uncle Felix and Mr Curtis and a Lady Hastings going to speak to Mr Curtis. Later that day, whilst playing Sardines, Stephen finds Hazel and admits he is poor and together they accidentally overhear Mr Curtis say to bring certain things, including jewels and paintings, to Lady Hastings. At tea, Lady Hastings asks for someone to give Mr Curtis some tea, and Lord Hastings does. Mr Curtis then has a coughing, fit and is invalided to his room. Later that evening, Miss Alston tells them that Mr Curtis has died and that the doctor will be summoned. Daisy and Hazel, using the spare key, as Uncle Felix has taken custody of the main dining room key, enter the dining room early in the morning to recover the cup full of Arsenic, entering easily when they see the door unlocked, even though they were sure Uncle Felix locked the door. Hazel picks up a piece of paper in the dining room. The cup and Mr Curtis' watch are gone. Something then rustles at the other end of the room, presumably the murderer, and they flee. Later that morning, Lady Hastings announces she is going to call the police. Inspector Priestly, the policeman from Deepdean, who solved the murder of Miss Bell earlier in the series. Aunt Saskia and Bertie then try stop her, Bertie saying that Mr Curtis died from food poisoning. Lady Hastings then reveals that Uncle Felix does not think this is food poisoning. Lord Hastings says that their road is flooded and that they are unable to leave the house. Uncle Felix then says it was Dysentry, which was why he didn't think it was not food poisoning, but Lady Hastings then says that she thinks it is murder. However, Lady Hastings is unable to call the police due to the roads being flooded and the connection not working. Upstairs, Kitty reveals she and Beanie know about the Detective Society and Daisy reluctantly lets them join. The four then make their first suspect list with Miss Alston, Bertie, Lord and Lady Hastings, Uncle Felix and Aunt Saskia, and Stephen all on the list. They then search Miss Alston's room, where Daisy realises that Miss Alston is a cover identity and that she is not a real person. They then walk downstairs, hunting for Miss Alston's references for when she applied to be governess. However, Beanie has found a notebook that incriminates Mr Curtis as a thief and that he was planning to steal from Fallingford. Heading downstairs, they see Uncle Felix, Aunt Saskia and Bertie try to stop Lady Hastings call the police. Going to Lord Hastings' study Hazel finds the papers that 'Miss Alston' used to apply for governess. The four find and read them. The letter of application says that she has come from the 'Reputable Agency' and is newly registered but has worked in important places before registering with the 'Reputable Agency'. The four then realise that, due to the signatures, the references are fake. Chapman, the butler, then acts very oddly.

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