The Poisoner’s Ring by Kelley Armstrong

May 23rd, 2023 Kimberly Review 18 Comments

23rd May
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I am loving Kelley Armstrong’s historical time travels and was fortunate enough to receive advanced copies of both the book & audiobook. The Poisoner’s Ring is the second novel in the Rip Through Time series featuring a young detective who finds herself stuck in Edinburgh, 1869. An exciting mystery and danger await you in this fast-paced, twisty tale.

The Poisoner’s Ring by Kelley Armstrong
The Poisoner's Ring
by Kelley Armstrong
Series: A Rip Through Time #2
Narrator: Kate Handford
Length: 14 hours and 52 minutes
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.5x

A modern-day homicide detective is working as an undertaker's assistant in Victorian Scotland when a serial poisoner attacks the men of Edinburgh and leaves their widows under suspicion.

Edinburgh, 1869: Modern-day homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is adjusting to her new life in Victorian Scotland. Her employers know she’s not housemaid Catriona Mitchell—even though Mallory is in Catriona’s body—and Mallory is now officially an undertaker’s assistant. Dr. Duncan Gray moonlights as a medical examiner, and their latest case hits close to home. Men are dropping dead from a powerful poison, and all signs point to the grieving widows… the latest of which is Gray’s oldest sister.

Poison is said to be a woman’s weapon, though Mallory has to wonder if it’s as simple as that. But she must tread carefully. Every move the household makes is being watched, and who knows where the investigation will lead.

New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong is known for her exquisite world building, and this latest series is no exception. The Poisoner's Ring brings the intricacies of Victorian Scotland alive as Mallory again searches for a 19th-century killer as well as a way home.

historical MURDERMYSTERY Time Travel well written

This is the second novel in the Rip Through Time murder-mystery series. Armstrong does a fantastic job of reintroducing the characters and world, I highly recommend beginning with A Rip Through Time. This review may contain minor spoilers if you haven’t read book one.

On May 2019, Edinburg Detective Mallory Atkinson was attacked and awoke in Edinburg 1869. She awoke to find herself in the body of Catriona Mitchell, a housemaid for Dr. Duncan Gray, the local undertaker. After the events of the first book, Mallory is adjusting and working as an assistant to Dr. Gray.

In this novel, men are being poisoned and expiring. The lead constables believe the wives are responsible. Mallory, Dr. Gray and Constable McCreadie set out to look for the poisoner who may supply these women. Things take a turn when Dr. Gray’s own sister stands accused of poisoning her husband. How are these women connected? Did they, in fact, kill their husbands? The case was filled with twist and danger.

I loved the story that unfolded from the well crafted mystery to the threads involving social issues. Armstrong touches on racism, women’s rights, sapphic romance and the social classes. The characters are rich and developed from the street urchins to the upper class. We learn more about Dr. Gray and his family and, of course, Mallory herself. I enjoyed the relationship between Mallory and the doctor, as well as her friendship with his spinster sister.

The story wove in historical tidbits, the history of forensic science and the origins of the poisoner’s ring. While Mallory still longs to return to her time, I am looking forward to more mysteries in 1869.

Perfect for fans of murder-mysteries, historical fiction and well-drawn characters. If you haven’t tired Armstrong or read her earlier works, I cannot recommend her enough. Her latest series from romantic suspense to historical romance and mysteries have become must reads/listens for me.


While I bought the audiobook, I had the pleasure of listening early. Kate Handford narrates and brought these characters and story to life. The tale lends itself to the audio format, and Handford gave unique voices to each character. I highly recommend listening.

Amazon | Audible

About Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

About Kate Handford

Kate Handford

Kate Handford is an award winning voice over artist, narrating audio books, voicing characters in video games, and international campaigns including The Modist & World Animal Protection. ​She has performed on stage at Shakespeare's Globe, the National Theatre Studio & in films shown at international festivals.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

18 Responses to “The Poisoner’s Ring by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. Lover of Romance

    This sounds very interesting. I am glad that you were able to love this one so well. I do love seeing forensic science aspects in historical settings.

    Great review!

  2. Katherine

    This author is high up on my list and this book sounds so good! I need to get the audio book for the first in this series. Great review!

  3. Sophia Rose

    I really enjoyed the first book in the series so I’m glad to see that the second is solid gold, too.

  4. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    OOh nice! My copy is on its way to me! I love Kelley’s books! This series is definitely a little different from my usual fave from her but I did enjoy the first book of the series so I plan to continue this one as well! Great review!

  5. Lorna

    I’ve got this one on hold from the library so I didn’t want to read this yet. I’m glad you loved it. I read the first one maybe 2 months ago and I loved it.