Series Name:
Saffron Everleigh Mystery, # 2

Review By Veronica

A Botanist’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality is a great historical mystery with a plant-y twist.

Favourite Quote:

Time moved in a strange way when Saffron was searching out plants in the field. There was only her, the landscape, and her need to find what she sought. The sun’s heat sunk into her clothes. Perspiration slipped down her back and beaded along her brow. She ignored it in favour of wracking her brain for the names for each plant her gaze swept over, pausing only briefly to wonder at ones she didn’t recognize and hoping her lack of knowledge didn’t spell doom.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

1920s London isn’t the ideal place for a brilliant woman with lofty ambitions. But research assistant Saffron Everleigh is determined to beat the odds in a male-dominated field at the University College of London. Saffron embarks on her first research study alongside the insufferably charming Dr. Michael Lee, traveling the countryside with him in response to reports of poisonings. But when Detective Inspector Green is given a case with a set of unusual clues, he asks for Saffron’s assistance.

The victims, all women, received bouquets filled with poisonous flowers. Digging deeper, Saffron discovers that the bouquets may be more than just unpleasant flowers— there may be a hidden message within them, revealed through the use of the old Victorian practice of floriography. A dire message, indeed, as each woman who received the flowers has turned up dead.

Alongside Dr. Lee and her best friend, Elizabeth, Saffron trails a group of suspects through a dark jazz club, a lavish country estate, and a glittering theatre, delving deeper into a part of society she thought she’d left behind forever.

Will Saffron be able to catch the killer before they send their next bouquet, or will she find herself with fatal flowers of her own in Kate Khavari’s second intoxicating installment.

This book intrigued me when I stumbled upon it on NetGalley. I love a good mystery and, in particular, historical mysteries. This is the second book in the Saffron Everleigh Mystery, # 2 series. If you are like me and haven’t read the first book in the series, you might feel a little lost in the first few chapters. It took me a few chapters to get my bearings in Saffron’s world and understand who is who and what has happened leading up to this book. But once I felt settled, I enjoyed the story, its characters, and the mystery Saffron is trying to solve. First, I have to say how much I love that this book takes place in the 1920’s. It’s such a unique time period to visit and one that I don’t get to spend too much time in. In this book Saffron and her new colleague Michael find themselves investigating different poisoning cases throughout England. These smaller poisoning cases were an interesting side story to the overall book. Sometimes I forget how toxic plants can be, and I found myself interested in learning all about these poisonous plants. 

The main mystery follows the death of several women who have all received a deadly flower bouquet before their untimely demise. Saffron has been called in to help figure out the significance of the flower bouquet in these murders. The main mystery itself was intriguing enough. However, sometimes it got lost in the overall story, and the story itself lost focus at times. It made it hard to keep track of what was going on. It was incredibly clever and unique to add in the flower component to the main mystery. Saffron dives deep into flower language and uncovers the message the killer sent their victims through flowers.

One of the highlights of this book was the interactions between Saffron and Michael. Their banter and chemistry were addictive, and I wish they had spent more time together in this book. I’m hoping future books have these two spending more time together. 

A Botanist’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality is an exciting and easy mystery to get lost in. 

Thank you, Crooked Lane Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.