"Death by Poison" By Abigail Keam: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Sassy Southern Sleuth…or Busybody

Fifty-something Josiah Reynolds raises bees, sells honey, boards thoroughbreds, and runs a successful catering/event venue from her farm, The Butterfly. She’s a widow, a mother of an adult daughter, and retired professor of art history. She also struggles with some physical challenges as a result of a terrible accident: walks with a limp, wears a hearing aid, and don’t mention her kidneys. There is a boyfriend in the picture, Hunter Wickliffe, who consults with lawyers and police as a forensic psychiatrist, but her full-time companion is Baby, an English Mastiff, and Morning Glory, a rescued horse. She is an admirable woman with strong opinions on staving off developers, maintaining eco-friendly land management, and honoring Bluegrass culture, but she can be more than a bit snarky. Although most know it’s generally all in good fun, it isn’t always appreciated by some law enforcement officials or judges.

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Image Source Worker Bee Press
“Mrs. Reynolds, do you understand why you have been arrested for criminal trespassing and destruction of property?”
—Judge Kenton; Death By Poison by Abigail Keam

Death by Poison Earns 5/5 Cherry Trees…Engaging & Clever Favorite!

If you destroy something you know will one day be a deadly menace before it is a deadly menace, will you be charged as a criminal or heralded a hero? That’s Shaneika Mary Todd’s dilemma as she defends Josiah Reynolds in court. Hildegard Elizabeth Beamer, nicknamed Bitsy, Josiah’s neighbor, planted several stone-pitted fruit trees, and Josiah knew, when mature, they would hang over onto her property, dropping their fruit, and poisoning her livestock, especially some very pricey horses. Josiah explains to the judge that cherry and peach pips contain cyanide, and the prospect of poisoning her animals is real. So, will the judge accept her “preemptive” actions as a legitimate defense? No, but the judge’s decree does make both women accountable for their actions. Bitsy, however, can’t help rub in the financial restitution made against Josiah along with a zinger about the woman involved with her late husband. But, it’s the snarky comment, “Someone ought to put that woman out of her misery,” that’s going to really haunt Josiah.

Bitsy Beamer has been feuding with several neighbors resulting in lawsuits: one about water rights and another over the destruction of a historic nineteenth-century rock wall. The newest issue sends neighbors into a tizzy. Bitsy contracted with the Clay Shooters International Association to hold their annual competition on her property, and although they find a resolution, Bitsy is not happy, vowing revenge. But, someone takes their own revenge out on Bitsy. She was pushed into the oncoming parade and found under Josiah’s horse cart. Later, she succumbs to her injuries in the hospital where they discover it wasn’t the cart or horse that caused her death, but poison. 

TREE-mendous! Abigail Keam has given cozy fans seventeen creative ways by which death can be caused: from honey bees, bourbon, and chocolate to malice, magic, and Agatha Christie’s favorite…poison. Karma sure took center stage in this drama giving the victim her just desserts. “She started it,” could be anyone’s defense, but can rumors, gossip, and one’s own “self preservation” be trusted. Suspects are a plenty with a variety of motives ranging from long ago affairs and ruined marriages to parentage and even the question why Bitsy moved into this area in the first place. This and incidents of sabotage really muddies the water, challenges Josiah’s inquiries, and makes it hard to put down…all the way to the end with an “Oh, my!” surprise.

Abigail’s writing has always been a favorite: well-written with descriptive language, entertaining wit, engaging mystery, and an informative narrative with details on horses, horse whispering, and honey! But, it’s Keam’s cast of characters that I really enjoy. I personally identify with middle-aged Josiah with all her realistic physical flaws, snarky retorts, feisty manner, and good sense about what’s fair and unfair, even if her methods are questionable. Velvet Maddox, as a water witch and horse whisperer, and Lady Elsmere, the Grand Dame of the local area, are both favorites, too! Highly recommend!

Be a Big Abigail Keam Fan!

Award-winning Abigail Keam is a favorite author of mine, and along with this extremely entertaining Josiah Reynolds Mystery series, she writes the delightful Mona Moon Mystery series set in the late 1920s and early 30s following a rags to inherited riches story of the silver-haired Mona Moon who finds herself too often embroiled in murder. She also wrote Last Chance for Love series and The Princess Maura Tales Epic Fantasy Series. Something fun and engaging for any taste!  

Website — Abigail Keam

Facebook — Abigail Keam, Author

Amazon Author Page — Abigail Keam

Join the Honey Bee Club

To enter to win an ebook copy of Death by Poison, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "poison,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 14, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter.  If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week. 

An earlier book in this series was featured on a Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast episode! You can click here to listen or use the player below: 

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

  4. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

  5. I would love a chance to win a new book in this series. LaurasReadingBlog AT gMaIl dOt com

  6. Sounds like fun. Snarky characters are my favorite. sue.stoner72@yahoo.com


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