Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by giggil
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Heavy wear, ex-library book with markings, many stickers or residue, and name on inside cover.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Head for Poisoning Hardcover – July 1, 1999

Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$20.00 $0.01


New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031220549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312205492
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set shortly after the killing of English King William Rufus in 1100, this absorbing historical mystery features the return of Sir Geoffrey Mappestone, the unusual crusader knight and unwilling amateur detective who first appeared in Murder in the Holy City. After 20 years abroad, Geoffrey is informed of his father's impending death, and he reluctantly wends his way home to his family's estates near the Welsh border. On the way, a knight in his retinue who carries messages to the king is killed during an ambushAnot a propitious start to Geoffrey's homecoming. King Henry I orders Geoffrey to uncover the truth behind the suspicious happenings at the crusader's own home, Goodrich Castle, including the slow poisoning that is killing his father and the sudden death of his favorite sister, Enide. At home, Geoffrey discovers a hornet's nest of greed and treachery, wherein his three brothers and surviving sister wait for their hard-hearted father to die so they can inherit his estates. Geoffrey's father is then found slain by his own dagger, and the knight must strive to discern the murderer as more bodies pile up around him. Beaufort's lively prose and diabolical characters, as well as Geoffrey's sorely tested indestructibility, keep matters moving swiftly. The novel offers finely written descriptions of medieval life and, above all, the exceptionally engaging character of the bookish, highly moral Geoffrey. An exciting finale caps this entertaining period tale from the pseudonymous Beaufort.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When Geoffrey Mappestone returns from the Crusades to his family's castle in Wales, he is not exactly welcomed by his feuding brothers and sisters-in-law or his cruel father, who is convinced that someone is trying to murder him. Soon Godric Mappestone really is dead, and Geoffrey must defend himself against a murder charge while uncovering the scary truth of his beloved sister's death. Taut, quick-paced, and full of excellent characterization, this sequel to Murder in the Holy City (LJ 12/98) is another winner.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's 1101--dawn of a new century, and Sir Geoffrey Mappestone is back in "A Head for Poisoning," this being the second in the series by Simon Beaufort. Taking up where the first episode was centered (in Jerusalem), Sir Geoffrey is throughly disgusted with the bickering--and lack of success--in the Holy City and returns home, to the Welsh border (he's been gone 20 years!). His companion on the return trip is a knight who claims he is carrying an urgent message for King Henry I. Alas, the knight is killed and it falls upon Sir Geoffrey to deliver the message to the king. Henry immediately "enlists" his help and Sir Geoffrey finds himself in an awkward position--spying on his own family! Unfortunately, too, Sir Geoffrey's father dies, and these inheritors of his estate are not the meek! He soon concludes that his father's death is murder and even Sir Geoffrey is a suspect! Beaufort's series--and it's continuing--is a good one, one that is historically bound--as far as most historical mysteries actually are!--and his style of writing is sound, quickly paced, and filled with anecdotal episodes that spice up the narrative. This novel of greed, fear, and eventually justice is well worth the read!(
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on March 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I can positively say I like Geoffrey Mappestone's dog. God forbid anything should happen to him as he's the best thing in the book. Maybe I am cynical after years of reading P.D. James, Colin Dexter, and others, but I am getting a bit tired of Geoffrey Mappestone's goody-two shoes behaviour. I don't want him to be bad, just a little more human.
Geoffrey is the product of a mega-dysfunctional family and he's spent years surving in the Holy Lands as a Crusader. He's in his thirties and as as far as I know (after two books) he doesn't even know what sex is. Even Cadfael had an affair. Also, Beaufort's 21st Century ruminations about the morality of the Crusades are getting a bit old. The author is an historian, but as nearly as I can tell from my reading, hisorians disagree about the Crusades. At least one school says the West would be a very different place if the Jihad had succeeded. Call me sentimental, but I much prefer Ellis Peters views of the Crusades via Cadfael. I am aware the Crusades mostly failed, but I think the one Cadfael and Mappestone participated in was at least motivated by good intentions. I know Constantinople was sacked by Crusaders later on--probably why it eventually fell and that the Albigensians were destroyed. However, the infidels who wreaked havoc on the Byzantine Empire--including the Levant were not "good" guys. And, the eye-for-an-eye, slavery, and enshrouded women still exist in the Middle East.
My biggest objection to this book, however, is it's failure to be a good mystery.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First Sentence: The early morning mist lay thick and white across the river, and there was a chill in the air.

Upon hearing that his father is dying, Sir Gregory Mappestone heads back to his family's home, Goodrich Castle. But rather than a warm family reception, he finds a feud between his family and their Welch neighbors of Llan Martin which results in the death of a knight carrying a message to King Henry I. Henry asks Gregory to spy on his family in order to identify a traitor. His youngest sister, Enid, is dead, his father claims he is being poisoned and his other siblings are continually bickering among themselves and accusing him of only coming home in an effort to take over the Castle.

Any book by Beaufort/Gregory is one I know will be well researched and very well written. This was certainly no exception.

Even with the setting in the 1100s, the characters come alive. The scenes of the family arguments reminded me of the scene from "The Lion in Winter" when they are all in the dungeon. Geoffrey is an unusual knight. He is a hardened warrior, more interested in education than looting, and with his own personal phobia. He is in a situation where no one is what they seem but he must uncover the truth before he can leave and return to France.

What made it fun was that, as a reader, I was being continually surprised by the characters who are enabled by a deceptively twisted story. I've become a real junkie for mysteries in historical periods/setting but they must be done well. Beaufort does it very well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
In 1101, Sir Geoffrey Mappestone has returned after 20 years away--the last years as a Crusader Knight in the Holy Land, and is heading to his family's Goodrich Castle. His father, Sir Godric, who fought at the battle of Hastings, is dying and Geoffrey wants to pay his respects one last time. He's not exactly thrilled to be going home. He was the youngest son and his early years among his siblings were not filled with loving memories. He returns to a father who claims he is being poisoned by someone in the family and to three older brothers and their spouses who are openly vying for the inheritance of the estate and are willing to go to extreme lengths to do so. King Henry I, newly king after his older brother Rufus is killed in a hunting accident a year or two before is concerned enough to call Geoffrey before him and command him to find out who is behind the poisoning. For some reason, the King thinks it might be related to Rufus' death--or at least to the unsettled allegiances and politics of the region between the local lords and the Welsh and the powerful Earl of Shrewsbury, who has his eye on Goodrich Castle himself as a way to gain more wealth and power.

There is also the additional unsolved murder of Geoffrey's younger sister for him to look into. In short, there are threats and danger from a number of people with a host of motivations, along with a number of plots and mysteries. Geoffrey is called upon to do what is right because he is a rare man who has little personal ambition and a solid sense of honor and is forthright and honest, even with those he should defer to or to those he dislikes. He's also intelligent, one of the few who are literate. He is conscientious about solving the mysteries, even though he finds he doesn't care much for any of his family members... or the King of England, for that matter.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?