A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons
By: Kate Khavari
Genres: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Publication Date: July 7, 2022
Format: E-ARC via NetGalley
Synopsis from NetGalley:
Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever. Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber, Kate Khavari’s debut historical mystery is a fast paced, fearless adventure.
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?
Thank you to Kate Khavari, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGally for a free e-arc in exchange for a honest review.
A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a historical cozy mystery with a dash of romance set in London 1920s. I absolutely applaud and adored the plethora of botany descriptions and found myself Googling to get an idea of all of the plants.
While this book took me about five or so chapters to really get into, but once I got into it, I was pretty hooked. There were too many characters introduced in the first chapter at the dinner party that I couldn’t keep them straight. Eventually they all separated into their own characters as the story went on.
Saffron is a brilliant botanist dedicated to her mentor and I love seeing a genuine sweet relationship between mentor and apprentice. I do wish we would have had more interaction with them, though. Alexander is a war veteran, semi grumpy love interest, but first and foremost an ally and friend to Saffron to help her clear her mentor’s name from murder charges.
The mystery itself was quite twisty in the end and I enjoyed seeing it all wrap up, even if it was very different from where I thought it was going. This might be a book that I reread to see if I can spot any clues or foreshadowing that I missed the first time around.
Lastly, I can’t tell if this is set up to be a series or not, but would read a sequel if there is one. If you like slow burn mystery and romance with a splash of dark academia vibes, much plant descriptions, then I would recommend this one.