It’s no secret I love a good cozy mystery, and it’s always a delight to find a new series! Cozies cover just about every subject you can think of… bookstores, cooking, small towns, and much more. But when a book ties in a mystery, a fabulous historical setting, and a female scientist who’s ahead of her time… well, who could resist?
Kate Khavari’s A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons introduces us to Saffron Everleigh, an independent, scholarly young woman living in the 1920s. Here’s the publisher’s description:
London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon, she doesn’t expect Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.
Joined by enigmatic Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list?
In a time when girls definitely didn’t run the world, Saffron held her own. She was an interesting character… you can feel her pain in certain situations but she knew how to make the best of her abilities.
(A few slight spoilers ahead… nothing to do with the mystery itself.)
While some cozies tend toward the humorous side, there were definitely some darker aspects to this book. Deadly poison aside, the story touches on workplace harassment (it still exists certainly, but it was disgustingly acceptable in previous times), women’s opportunities, and a veteran with what we now know to be PTSD. These all tie together to add depth to the storyline.
I was able to get a very early copy of this… it won’t be out until summer, but it had just the right feel to read as autumn settled upon us!
I’m very much hoping for the continuation of Saffron’s adventures, as I’d like to see where her career takes her, what might come of a certain relationship, and how she grows and matures.
The book will be released on June 7th, but you can preorder it now:
Or, if you’re a blogger with a Net Galley account, you too may be able to snag this one early. At any rate… definitely plan to pick this up and look for more in the future from this talented author. Happy reading, friends!
Thanks to Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books for a complimentary digital review copy of this title. All opinions are my own.
This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Please see my policies for further information.