Tea Tonic and Toxin: Mystery and Thriller Podcast and Book Club


Tea, Tonic & Toxin is a book club and podcast for people like us who are obsessed with the history of mystery. Join us, won’t you?

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841)

Edgar Allan Poe is the mystery master. Set in Paris, this gruesome tale introduces amateur detective Auguste Dupin and his trusty sidekick.

“The Purloined Letter” (1844)

Edgar Allan Poe called it “perhaps the best of my tales of ratiocination.” It’s a great mystery — minus the Gothic horror of “Rue Morgue.”

Bleak House (1853)

In Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, Inspector Bucket, the first important police detective in English literature, investigates a murder.

The Woman in White (1860)

Wilkie Collins’ book has it all — switched identities, false imprisonment, foreign agents, blackmail, conspiracies, and shocking secrets.

The Notting Hill Mystery (1862-3)

A woman dies after drinking acid. Was it an accident? The intrigue includes a kidnapping, a sinister mesmerist, and many dastardly crimes.

The Moonstone (1868)

Wilkie Collins’ amazing mystery includes red herrings, plot twists, a small circle of suspects, and a stolen Indian gem with a bloody past.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886)

Set in Melbourne, Fergus Hume’s literary sensation puts a spotlight on social class as a crime is committed by an unknown assassin.

A Study in Scarlet (1887)

Arthur Conan Doyle introduces us to Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous “consulting detective,” and Watson, his sidekick.

The Big Bow Mystery (1892)

In Israel Zangwill’s locked-room mystery, two detectives race to solve a murder and the startling solution is revealed at the very end.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s Gothic-inspired spine-tingler, the great Sherlock Holmes must discover the truth about a deadly spectral hound.

Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (1910)

Baroness Orczy’s short story collection stars one of the first female detectives in fiction. Lady Molly solves crimes using feminine intuition.

The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)

G. K. Chesterton’s first collection of short stories featuring a Catholic priest who solves crimes by tapping into spiritual and philosophic truths.

Trent’s Last Case (1913)

In E. C. Bentley’s “whodunit,” new clues appear throughout the story, making readers feel as if they’re solving the crime along with Trent.

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)

In John Buchan’s prototype of the “man-on-the-run” adventure, a spy is murdered in Richard Hannay’s flat. Can Hannay evade his pursuers?

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

Agatha Christie’s incredible whodunit introduces brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Inspector Japp.

Whose Body? (1923)

Dorothy Sayers introduces Lord Peter Wimsey, the father of the “gentleman sleuth” who will appear in British novels for decades to come.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

One of Agatha Christie’s most controversial novels due to an unexpected twist at the end. Christie considered it her masterpiece.

Red Harvest (1929)

Dashiell Hammett’s portrayal of the Continental Op as a “hard-boiled” detective became a prototype for many detective stories to come.

The Maltese Falcon (1930)

Dashiell Hammett introduces Sam Spade. The third-person-objective narrative includes no insights into characters’ thoughts and feelings.

Malice Aforethought (1931)

Frances Iles’ novel is an early example of the “inverted detective story,” in which the murder AND murderer are revealed at the beginning.

The Case of the Velvet Claws (1933)

We meet criminal defense lawyer and detective Perry Mason. Earle Stanley Gardner went on to write 150 books that sold 300 million copies.

Murder on the Orient Express (1934)

Agatha Christie’s  books have sold more than two billion copies. This page-turner starring Hercule Poirot helps to explain why.

The Nine Tailors (1934)

The murder method in Dorothy Sayers’ marvelous story was unique. The idea came from a sixpenny pamphlet about bell-ringing.

The Thin Man (1934)

The Thin Man is known for its clever plot twists, witty dialogue, blend crime and comedy – and the enigmatic duo of Nick and Nora Charles.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)

In a dusty roadside diner, love and lust ignite a murderous plot. Two lovers are drawn into a web of crime, leading to a shocking climax.

The Hollow Man/The Three Coffins (1935)

This novel is celebrated for its exceptional execution of the locked-room mystery. Is it the best locked room mystery of all time?

The League of Frightened Men (1935)

Brilliant and eccentric detective Nero Wolfe and his wise-cracking sidekick, Archie Goodwin, as the investigate a sinister secret society.

Death in the Stocks (1935)

When a man is found dead, Inspector Hannasyde must unravel the secrets of an eccentric family in this Regency romance.

Gaudy Night (1935)

Harriet Vane returns to her alma mater, Oxford, only to find the campus disturbed by a series of unsettling incidents. Call in Lord Peter Wimsey!

The ABC Murders (1936)

A serial killer strikes in alphabetical order, challenging Hercule Poirot to a battle of wits. You’ll be kept guessing until the end.

The Wheel Spins (1938)

A young woman’s train journey takes a sinister turn when a fellow passenger disappears. It’s the basis for Hitchcock’s film The Lady Vanishes.

Rebecca (1939)

A young bride is haunted by the lingering shadow of her husband’s first wife. It won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

Rogue Male (1939)

This suspense masterpiece may be the “best escape and pursuit story yet written, with lip-chewing tension right to the end.” [Times (UK)]

A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)

Also called The Mask of Dimitrios, it’s one of the first modern suspense thrillers, paving the way John Le Carré, Robert Ludlum, and others.

And Then There Were None (1939)

Ten strangers are lured to a remote island and drawn into a deadly game. This classic whodunit is the best-selling mystery novel of all time.

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