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A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons

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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. London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. 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. 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?


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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. London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. 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. 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?

30 review for A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari, Narrated by Jodie Harris It's 1923 and Saffron Everleigh is the first woman to hold a research assistant position at University College of London. She loves botany and the work she does but she's run into a variety of male roadblocks while at the college. Still, she thinks the world of her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, and can't let things stand when he is the main suspect for the poisoning of a colleague's wife. Saffron was right there when the wo A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari, Narrated by Jodie Harris It's 1923 and Saffron Everleigh is the first woman to hold a research assistant position at University College of London. She loves botany and the work she does but she's run into a variety of male roadblocks while at the college. Still, she thinks the world of her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, and can't let things stand when he is the main suspect for the poisoning of a colleague's wife. Saffron was right there when the woman fell to the ground and she has a few suspicions about who may have poisoned Mrs. Henry. Saffron soon joins forces with fellow researcher, Alexander Ashton. My favorite parts of the story are when they are joking and flirting. It's obvious they are attracted to each other and would make a great couple. So we have these two researchers trying their hands at amateur detective work since Saffron wants to clear her mentor's name but also wants to determine who really did poison Mrs. Henry. Saffron, with assistance from Alexander, has no qualms about breaking, entering, or stealing and the stodgy head investigator doesn't really seem to mind what she does, either. There is a lot of plant talk, especially since a plant or plants could be one of the suspects. What we have here is a cozy historical mystery thriller and I would like to see more because I like the duo of Saffron and Alexander very much. Oh, and there is a party or two...shudder...I'm much happier with science than with parties! Jodie Harris does a lovely job of narrating the story. Pub: June 7th 2022 Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Cozy mystery meets historical thriller with romantic vibes and a stunning artsy cover is a dreamy package for my suspense cravings! Events take place in 1920’s London. Our heroine Saffron is aspiring, fiery, vivid scientist who knows lots about usage of poisons which helps her assist the investigation of suspicious murder attempt! Her relatable, smart mind and genuine, straightforward, natural traits help to get into the story quickly. Her determination and resilience are feeding her up to figh Cozy mystery meets historical thriller with romantic vibes and a stunning artsy cover is a dreamy package for my suspense cravings! Events take place in 1920’s London. Our heroine Saffron is aspiring, fiery, vivid scientist who knows lots about usage of poisons which helps her assist the investigation of suspicious murder attempt! Her relatable, smart mind and genuine, straightforward, natural traits help to get into the story quickly. Her determination and resilience are feeding her up to fight against condescending, sexist, unfair traits of her colleagues. The author successfully portrayed tough, but also a little impulsive heroine who sometimes acts faster before thinking through which serves a complex trait against her observant traits as a true scientist. The story opens with a party scene with the attendance of academicians and high society which purposed for presentation of expedition but the night ends with attempted poisoning of one of the members! Saffron’s teacher Professor Maxwell is accused for the poisoning attempt which pushes Saffron to find out the true perpetrator, teaming up with charming veteran Alexander Ashton. ( when you see the word: charming, you’re already warned that a delicious romance between two characters is about to come out! ) The story started strong but in the middle of the book, the pacing got a little slower and the identity of perpetrator was a little far fetched but it was still enjoyable, interesting, riveting cozy murder mystery. The scientist, quirky heroine development and romance parts are well executed. It was fun to time travel and read an intriguing suspense story from early 20th century of London which earned four poisoned, smart, tempting, moving stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Dr. Henry glared at Blake and snatched the champagne glass from her hand. “I can pour my wife’s drink well enough, Blake.” He sloshed a dollop of liquid into her glass, refilling what he had just caused to splash out. He smiled obnoxiously at Mrs. Henry as she accepted the glass from him and took a drink. With a cold smile to her husband, she said, “Thank you, darling.” Then Mrs. Henry crumpled to the floor and lay quite still. Saffron Everleigh is Dr Maxwell’s research assistant in London’s U Dr. Henry glared at Blake and snatched the champagne glass from her hand. “I can pour my wife’s drink well enough, Blake.” He sloshed a dollop of liquid into her glass, refilling what he had just caused to splash out. He smiled obnoxiously at Mrs. Henry as she accepted the glass from him and took a drink. With a cold smile to her husband, she said, “Thank you, darling.” Then Mrs. Henry crumpled to the floor and lay quite still. Saffron Everleigh is Dr Maxwell’s research assistant in London’s University College biology department, the only woman employed there and thus the subject of whispers. Science was making great strides in the post-war world, but 1923 was maybe not the best time to be a young woman trying to build a career in a heretofore male field. It helps that her father was a renowned biologist, but she must face serial sexism and some truly odious individuals in her quest to advance her studies and career. She finds herself facing a very different challenge, though. …when I taught fifth grade American history, the story of how America developed felt like a story instead of a bunch of names and dates in a book. Writing about the ‘20’s feels the same- so many things were happening as a result of World War One that influenced everyday life. Technology and science were exploding with new discoveries, women were finding their new place in the world, millions were adjusting to horrible new realities of destroyed countries, bodies, and minds, and politics were ever-changing and charged with fear and hope. It’s a fascinating time to write about. - from The Book Delight interviewWhen we meet Saffron, she is enduring a department party at the grand home of a major donor, and meeting-cute the studly, witty, but mysterious Alexander Ashton, who will become her partner in this. Are those sparks igniting between the two of them or maybe just some spores floating in the air? Ashton is a biologist AND a microbiologist, a weird coincidence, as Khavali’s husband just happens to be a biologist AND a microbiologist too. Kate Khavari - image from her site At the party we are introduced via observations and overheard conversations to a series of characters and potential conflicts. We are let on, for many, to just what we should think of them. Harry Snyder, Dr. Henry’s assistant, was seated on her other side. With small brown eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, and thin lips that emphasized his large, impeccable teeth, he looked rather like a rodent. His demeanor, skittish and reticent, matched his mousy appearance. Probably not setting Snyder up for a heroic role. The excitement of the party turns out to be the sudden collapse, noted in the introductory quote at the top, of Mrs Henry, wife to Lawrence Henry, the man slated to lead an upcoming expedition to the Amazon. Was it an allergic reaction? Young George Bailey might have a good idea just what caused Mrs Henry’s sudden shift from the vertical. Saffron becomes concerned that the doltish police are settling on her boss as a possible suspect, deciding that since the authorities can be relied on to get everything wrong, it is up to her to find out what really happened at the party. Thankfully, she has considerable knowledge of things biological so the game is afoot, focusing on a particularly poisonous (and fictional) South American plant that her boss had discovered decades ago. Everleigh keeps pushing to learn more, gaining help from Ashton in her pursuit. There seems to be a connection between the two, but the sexual tension between them seems to blossom, then wilt, blossom then wilt. We are kept in the dark, and thus guessing, about his role in all this. A prospect or a suspect? Is he a reliable partner, or is he using his appeal like that of a carnivorous cobra plant, not as transparent as he appears? This romantic element crops up from time to time in fawning descriptions of the guy. The tale is of the cozy mystery sort, not much blood and violence on screen, although there is some very definite peril. The investigation is done by rank amateurs. Usually, there is someone with police expertise to advise, but not so much here. The fun feature of this particular book and, I expect, the planned series, is the introduction of botany as the root of all Saffron’s investigations. The possibilities are vast. We are led to suspect first this one and then that one, while maintaining a short list of likely subjects. Khavari has some fun with names, (I love this stuff) seeding her cast with a veritable garden of botanical references, some obvious, like Saffron, Inspector Green, and Doctor Aster. Alexander Ashton must certainly reference the tree. I am sure there are more. She also has some fun of a different sort with other character names. Does Doctor Berking’s character reflect the etymology of his name? How about Eris Ermine, a femme fatale sort? She also brings into the tale a consideration much in the world of this era. The long-lasting, personal impact on those involved in the front lines of World War I. Much has been written about soldiers experiencing shell-shock, so I wanted to explore a lesser known avenue of symptoms and recovery. Alexander’s recovery from the Great War is complex and isn’t straightforward—few cases are—nor it is over. I will just say that many hours of research and consideration went into developing his symptoms and coping strategies… - from The Book Delight interviewSaffron has to deal with MeToo miseries from the more aggressive, and personal and institutional chauvinism all around, even among some thought more advanced. The toxic nature of academia politics is noted. No antidote is prescribed. This book is hardly a yuck-fest, but there is still considerable humor and the occasional LOL. Khavari, who grew up in Wichita, Kansas, keeps her characters on the move, and thus holds our interest. Saffron is a decent sort, working hard in multiple ways to produce good results. She is mostly honest, although suffering a bit from a moral disorder that afflicts so many investigators, a willingness to engage in criminal behavior on the grounds of the-ends-justify-the-means. Ultimately, though, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons (which was called Saffron Everleigh and the Lightning Vine earlier in its life. I have no inside intel on why this title was not used, but suspect it was a bit too close for comfort to the Harry Potter book titles format.) is a delightful sapling in the The Saffron Everleigh Mysteries series. Who knows? Maybe you will learn a few tricks for preparing that special drink for that special someone. The second volume, A Botanists’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality is expected to sprout in June 2023. It is something to look forward to. Once you begin spending time with Saffron Everleigh, you will not want to leave. Her eyes fell on the name of a plant from south-central Mexico, brought back decades ago by Dr. Maxwell. The vine was a sickly yellow color and zigzagged around trees as it grew, clinging tightly to its host. Maxwell had named it the xolotl vine, after the Aztec god of death and lightning, since the growth pattern resembled a fork of lightning and the toxin in its leaves struck as quickly. Saffron had the feeling that Maxwell enjoyed the notorious reputation of his plant, occasionally still telling secondhand stories of people dropping to the ground immediately upon consumption. Review posted – June 10, 2022 Publication date – June 7, 2022 I received an ARE of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons from Crooked Lane Books in return for a fair review, and the secret to my special tea. Thanks, folks. And thanks to NetGalley for facilitating. This review has been cross-posted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Stop by and say Hi! =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Instagram, and Twitter pages Interviews -----The Book Delight - AUTHOR INTERVIEW: KATE AKHTAR-KHAVARI with Jean M. Roberts -----Wichita Public Library - Read. Return. Repeat. S2E1: The Books are Back in Town - with Sara Dixon and Daniel Pewewardy – video lists as 43 minutes but the KK piece begins at 1:21 and goes to the 28 minute mark Item of Interest -----It’s a Wonderful Life - ”It’s poison, I tell ya, poison!” Item of Interest from the author -----In her site, Khavari provides A Botanical Index of all the plants referenced in the book

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a slowly-paced historical mystery. Set in 1923 at the University College of London, where Saffron Everleigh is attending a dinner party when Mrs. Henry, a professor’s wife, suddenly collapses. The police begin an investigation, which soon reveals that someone poisoned Mrs. Henry. Further investigation leads them to believe that Saffron’s mentor Dr. Maxwell is the primary suspect. Saffron refuses to believe that Dr. Maxwell could have committed such an A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a slowly-paced historical mystery. Set in 1923 at the University College of London, where Saffron Everleigh is attending a dinner party when Mrs. Henry, a professor’s wife, suddenly collapses. The police begin an investigation, which soon reveals that someone poisoned Mrs. Henry. Further investigation leads them to believe that Saffron’s mentor Dr. Maxwell is the primary suspect. Saffron refuses to believe that Dr. Maxwell could have committed such an act. And thus, she commences her own amateur investigation, determined to uncover the actual culprit. Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, finds himself joining her case. The university was supposed to embark on an expedition to the Amazon in a few weeks’ time, but with the poisoning, things remain uncertain. This cozy mystery alternates perspectives between Saffron and Alexander. Aside from the central plot, it explores PTSD, women working in a male-dominated field, and sexual harassment in the workplace. I wasn’t a fan of the casual racism that appeared a couple of times in this story and went unchecked. In the context of this story, it doesn’t surprise me, but the fact that it’s just there without any discussion around it offends. Overlooking that, the story itself didn’t hold my interest and the romance felt forced. There were a few things that I did enjoy: Saffron’s research of poisonous plants and her best friend, who was supportive but also gave her much-needed reality checks. The ending was quite satisfying as the pieces started coming together. Other reviewers have enjoyed this much more than I did, so be sure to check those out. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. https://booksandwheels.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In 1923 Saffron Everleigh, the only female scientist in the Department of Botany at University College London is attending a party to celebrate the University’s upcoming expedition to the Amazon. The woman who collapsed during a toast to the success of the expedition, is the wife of Dr Lawrence Henry, Head of Biology and leader of the expedition. Saffron’s supervisor, Prof Maxwell was observed having a bitter argument with Prof Henry a few days before the party and quickly becomes the police’s m In 1923 Saffron Everleigh, the only female scientist in the Department of Botany at University College London is attending a party to celebrate the University’s upcoming expedition to the Amazon. The woman who collapsed during a toast to the success of the expedition, is the wife of Dr Lawrence Henry, Head of Biology and leader of the expedition. Saffron’s supervisor, Prof Maxwell was observed having a bitter argument with Prof Henry a few days before the party and quickly becomes the police’s main suspect, especially when they learn that he has a very poisonous plant Solandra xolotum (known as the xolotl for short) that he brought back from an expedition to Mexico. Saffron is devastated as Prof Maxwell has always been a kind mentor to her, recognising and encouraging her talent. As the only female scientist in the Biology department, it has not been easy for her to forge her career in such a male dominated department. She has already had one close encounter with the lecherous Prof Henry, a well known philanderer and, after a narrow escape from his unwanted attentions, now avoids being alone with him. Positive that Prof Maxwell would not have had any reason to poison Mrs Henry, Saffron sets out to prove his innocence. Joined by Alexander Ashton, a charming and handsome research fellow, they work together to try to find out who really poisoned Mrs Henry and why. Encased in a gorgeous cover, this is a fun and engaging historical mystery sprinkled with a little romance, although I was disappointed there weren't more parties and poisons. I enjoyed Saffron and Alexander’s witty conversations as they tackle the mystery and their attraction to each other grows. Saffron is a woman ahead of her time for the 1920s; smart and determined, wanting a career before a husband, although a little naïve and unsophisticated from her sheltered upbringing. She’s not afraid to take risks but prone to jumping in feet first without thinking through the consequences. Fortunately, she has her more worldly friend Elizabeth, assistant to a lord and writer of rather salacious poetry who provides Saffron with good advice. The descriptions of the old University buildings, cluttered offices and humid, steamy glasshouses filled with unusual plants and the excitement about the upcoming expedition all work together to provide the perfect atmospheric backdrop for the mystery. With thanks to Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for a copy to read. Original review first published in Mystery & suspense Magazine https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/a-...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Such an intriguing title but, for me anyway, the book did not quite live up to it. There were a lot of botanists but I can only recall one party and two possible poisons. Set in the University College of London in 1923, the main character is Saffron Everleigh. She is the first woman research assistant appointed there and she feels her position as a woman in a man's world very strongly. She becomes involved in events surrounding a poisoning at a party and works with a colleague, Alexander Ashton, Such an intriguing title but, for me anyway, the book did not quite live up to it. There were a lot of botanists but I can only recall one party and two possible poisons. Set in the University College of London in 1923, the main character is Saffron Everleigh. She is the first woman research assistant appointed there and she feels her position as a woman in a man's world very strongly. She becomes involved in events surrounding a poisoning at a party and works with a colleague, Alexander Ashton, to solve the mystery of 'who dunnit'. I have always assumed that researchers dealt in proof and logic but Saffron defies that and works mostly by instinct and rash decisions. Luckily Alex is there to save her and occasionally prevent her excesses and the pair have an interesting, developing relationship. The botany was informative and not over whelming, the characters were well done and the mystery interesting and rounded off well. A good start to a new series and I will look out for the next book. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karine

    London University during the roaring 20's. Saffron is a young assistant to a botanist professor and must navigate forcefully yet with diplomacy to earn the respect of her peers. She attends a formal dinner organized to celebrate the start of a new expedition to the Amazon, where she meets Anthony, a specialist in bacteria and she soon swoons over him. Later that evening, the wife of the expedition leader suddenly falls into a coma after being poisoned. Together with Anthony, she does everything London University during the roaring 20's. Saffron is a young assistant to a botanist professor and must navigate forcefully yet with diplomacy to earn the respect of her peers. She attends a formal dinner organized to celebrate the start of a new expedition to the Amazon, where she meets Anthony, a specialist in bacteria and she soon swoons over him. Later that evening, the wife of the expedition leader suddenly falls into a coma after being poisoned. Together with Anthony, she does everything she can to clear the name of her mentor who is quickly accused to be the culprit. The main story happens in the offices of the university, which is very well depicted. I was transported to that period, inside stuffy rooms filled with books and possibilities. The mystery is rather easy and there is the blooming romance between Saffron and Anthony as a side. Saffron is a nice character, she is trying her best to own her place in the academic world, yet she is still hesitating, doubting herself. She is quirky and fun and I liked her. The content is just as its beautiful cover promises: colorful and detailed with a touch of humor. A very nice read indeed. A very sincere thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Crooked Lane Books and the author for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hadassah S

    Happy Monday Friends!💐 Let me tell you all a funny story before we get into the review for this beautiful book😅 I few weeks ago I found A Botanists guide to parties and Poisons on netgalley and immediately knew I had to read this book! So I then decided I was going try my very best to increase my feedback ratio just so I had a higher chance of getting it! Well folks turns out I got denied anyway 😂 I was gutted !! For some reason or another I knew this was the book I needed, and I literally could n Happy Monday Friends!💐 Let me tell you all a funny story before we get into the review for this beautiful book😅 I few weeks ago I found A Botanists guide to parties and Poisons on netgalley and immediately knew I had to read this book! So I then decided I was going try my very best to increase my feedback ratio just so I had a higher chance of getting it! Well folks turns out I got denied anyway 😂 I was gutted !! For some reason or another I knew this was the book I needed, and I literally could not let it go (yes I am insane). I then decided we are not going to give up and I emailed the lovely people at Crooked Lane Books and practically begged them to give me an early copy 😂 So Miss Kate can I just say I really really wanted your book , and I was ready to fight for it 😂❤️ My instincts were right folks , this story was everything I dreamed it would be and more !! Saffron Everleigh you have a new biggest fan. I practically inhaled it! Set in London 1923, research assistant Saffron Everleigh is thrust into the middle of a poisoning/almost murder investigation!! Together with the help of the charming Alexander Ashton, Saffron must help clear the name of her accused professor. I'm just going to be here singing praises for this book until the end of time because I truly had the best time. What a brilliant read! Saffron was such a great main character - sometimes main characters tend to be a little annoying but friends this was not one of those times. I simply can not wait for Book 2. This was such an atmospheric read and the reader could really feel the depth of the story. I loved all the descriptions and history !! I not only had a blast reading this but learned so much along the way! You could tell that this was such a well researched book so hats off to you Miss Kate A Botanists Guide to Parties and Poisons only releases in 2022 but I am way to excited about this release and had to post my thoughts immediately😂❤️

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    CW: sexual predation in the context of academia, though not unnecessarily explicit. Kate Khavari's A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is the first volume in what I expect will be quite a successful cozy mystery series. It's 1923. Saffron Everleigh comes from money, but her grandparents have cut her off because she insists of following in her father's footsteps to—gasp!—become a botanist. Why would a young woman waste her time on plants when she could be flirting with eligible men, gossipin CW: sexual predation in the context of academia, though not unnecessarily explicit. Kate Khavari's A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is the first volume in what I expect will be quite a successful cozy mystery series. It's 1923. Saffron Everleigh comes from money, but her grandparents have cut her off because she insists of following in her father's footsteps to—gasp!—become a botanist. Why would a young woman waste her time on plants when she could be flirting with eligible men, gossiping with other young women, and going shopping? Um, gee... keep her brain from rotting, not wind up married to a pretentious dolt who expects her to abandon all aspirations beyond keeping him happy, and getting to find out who says what behind whose back? Her choice seems pretty sensible to me. The novel is set in London, primarily at University College, where Saffron is working as a research assistant for Dr. Maxwell and hoping to be admitted to graduate study. The Botany Department, housed within the Biology Department is run by a cadre of—you guessed it!—old white men. The chair is, not to put too fine a spin on it, a sexual predator. Saffron got away from him the first time he attempted sexual assault, but the version of the story he's spread is that she threw herself at him in a pathetic and desperate attempt to gain access to a scientific community that she has no right to be part of. Saffron is understandaly terrified of any future contact with him. At a send-off party for an (all male) expedition to Brazil, Saffron meets Alexander Ashton, who has returned from WWI with a badly damaged arm and what we would call shell shock. He actually treats her with respect; they can actually talk about science; they have an embarrassing few minutes hiding from gossiping faculty wives, then rejoin the party just in time to see one of those wives drop dead from poisoning. And who winds up as the chief suspect? Dr. Maxwell, who unlike many of the guests, has absolutely no reason for wanting to harm the victim. You can take it from there... a blossoming relationship with Ashton with intervals of misunderstanding, a determination to proved Dr. Maxwell's innocence, a discovery of financial shenanigans in the department, and a close call with death when she decides to try the poison purportedly used for the murder herself. If you enjoy mysteries with a feisty woman ahead of her time and at least one man who has the good sense to recognize her brilliance, you'll enjoy A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons. As the book ends, Ashton is preparing to leave on the six-month expedition, where he'll be working on a research project Saffron has designed. Who knows what kind of trouble she'll be getting into before the see each other again? I received a free electronic ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kylie H

    I really enjoyed this book, similar style and era to Agatha Christie and/or Sulari Gentill. The title probably builds an expectation that is not quite met, but I still found the story quite intriguing. Saffron Everleigh is a young woman, and the only female researcher at University in London. Located in the botany department Saffron battles to get herself taken seriously and fend off the unwanted advances of her male counterparts. While attending a faculty party a guest is poisoned and Saffron is I really enjoyed this book, similar style and era to Agatha Christie and/or Sulari Gentill. The title probably builds an expectation that is not quite met, but I still found the story quite intriguing. Saffron Everleigh is a young woman, and the only female researcher at University in London. Located in the botany department Saffron battles to get herself taken seriously and fend off the unwanted advances of her male counterparts. While attending a faculty party a guest is poisoned and Saffron is horrified to discover her mentor and support Dr Maxwell appears to be the prime suspect. Saffron takes on the 'boys club' and the police in trying to clear Dr Maxwell's name at the same time putting her own self and career in perilous danger. A lovely debut novel, I am looking forward to reading more by this author. Thank you Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this digital ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maria Smith

    Thanks to Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books for this advance copy. Set in 1920’s London after WW1, Saffron Everleigh is the only female botanist at the University College of London. Her professor is accused of poisoning the wife of a colleague at a high society dinner weeks before a team of botanists from the University are scheduled to travel to the Amazon on an expedition. Saffron, along with her sidekick, Alexander Ashton, set out to solve the crime themselves. Written in the classic whodunni Thanks to Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books for this advance copy. Set in 1920’s London after WW1, Saffron Everleigh is the only female botanist at the University College of London. Her professor is accused of poisoning the wife of a colleague at a high society dinner weeks before a team of botanists from the University are scheduled to travel to the Amazon on an expedition. Saffron, along with her sidekick, Alexander Ashton, set out to solve the crime themselves. Written in the classic whodunnit style the storyline moves along at a good pace with an interesting cast of characters. Saffron is a likeable and strong protagonist holding her own in a man's world. Overall a good mystery with the potential to be a series (similar to Deanna Raybourn) and I hope to see a follow on book from the author - 3 1/2 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    The Sassy Bookworm

    ⭐⭐⭐ -- The cover of this book is just beautiful! I wanted to love this one more than I did. It wasn't a terrible book by any means. The writing was top-notch. I loved the time period, and the setting. Saffron was a strong female lead. I thought the subject of poisonous plants was fascinating. All good things! However, where this book fell short was the pacing. I found it to be very slow and draggy, especially through the middle section. I also wasn't a huge fan of the romance. It felt forced and ⭐⭐⭐ -- The cover of this book is just beautiful! I wanted to love this one more than I did. It wasn't a terrible book by any means. The writing was top-notch. I loved the time period, and the setting. Saffron was a strong female lead. I thought the subject of poisonous plants was fascinating. All good things! However, where this book fell short was the pacing. I found it to be very slow and draggy, especially through the middle section. I also wasn't a huge fan of the romance. It felt forced and clunky. All that said, I am onboard to give book two (if there is a second book) a try! **ARC Via NetGalley**

  13. 4 out of 5

    ABCme

    First of all kudos for a gorgeous cover! Set in London's 1920's, this is an intriguing, well written, but slow moving story. An exotic expedition is being prepared for the university's botanical department when an unexpected event threatens to delay the journey. What follows is non-exciting who-dunnit. The subject of poisonous plants is interesting, but the characters are rather dull academics who need dusting off. At least our main girl has some spirit. This book took a lot of patience for me to First of all kudos for a gorgeous cover! Set in London's 1920's, this is an intriguing, well written, but slow moving story. An exotic expedition is being prepared for the university's botanical department when an unexpected event threatens to delay the journey. What follows is non-exciting who-dunnit. The subject of poisonous plants is interesting, but the characters are rather dull academics who need dusting off. At least our main girl has some spirit. This book took a lot of patience for me to finish. Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Saffron is a research assistant in the botany department in a university in London, just after the Great War. She is reluctantly networking with colleagues at a party when a women is poisoned there. When her mentor is accused of the crime Alexander, who also works at the university, helps her delve into who is responsible for the poisoning. I never really connected with the characters, and found the plot slow moving. Despite my interest in both botany and historical fiction, I was very disappoin Saffron is a research assistant in the botany department in a university in London, just after the Great War. She is reluctantly networking with colleagues at a party when a women is poisoned there. When her mentor is accused of the crime Alexander, who also works at the university, helps her delve into who is responsible for the poisoning. I never really connected with the characters, and found the plot slow moving. Despite my interest in both botany and historical fiction, I was very disappointed. I received an advance copy from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Srivalli Rekha

    3.8 Stars One Liner: Promising start to a new series London, 1923: Saffron Everleigh is a botanist and the only female assistant on the campus and works with Professor Dr. Maxwell. The man is her mentor, guide, and murder suspect. He has been arrested on the suspicion of murdering Mrs. Cynthia Henry, the wife of Dr. Henry. Dr. Maxwell had a row with Dr. Henry a few days ago bout a Brazilian expedition. The toxin that killed Mrs. Henry is unknown, and the case is getting stronger against Dr. Maxw 3.8 Stars One Liner: Promising start to a new series London, 1923: Saffron Everleigh is a botanist and the only female assistant on the campus and works with Professor Dr. Maxwell. The man is her mentor, guide, and murder suspect. He has been arrested on the suspicion of murdering Mrs. Cynthia Henry, the wife of Dr. Henry. Dr. Maxwell had a row with Dr. Henry a few days ago bout a Brazilian expedition. The toxin that killed Mrs. Henry is unknown, and the case is getting stronger against Dr. Maxwell. Saffron knows that he would never be capable of such a crime, and it’s up to her to prove his innocence. Dr. Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, reluctantly helps her uncover the truth and get to the bottom of the matter. Dr. Ashton has demons of his own but cannot resist helping Saffron. Can the duo use their expertise in botany to identify the killer before it’s too late? Given the secrets surrounding them, can they come out alive? The requested the book for three reasons:  The title  The cover  The alliteration in the author’s name My Observations: • The narration is slow almost throughout the book. The saving grace is that the story kept me hooked enough to read more. The book is the first in the series, which explains the ‘slowness’. • There are no cliffhangers (the case is solved) though there is enough to start the next in the series. The mix of mystery, suspense, romance, and light action works well for the plot. • The characters are well-etched, though I’m in half a mind to knock sense into Saffron. Alexander has lots of promise and is an intriguing character. Inspector Green and Elizabeth are promising. • Saffron is fiery and has a tendency to act first and think later, which doesn’t do well to keep her out of trouble. She’s strong, kind, funny, and talented in her field (and yet to attain that level of expertise in investigating crimes). • The book is well-researched and yet doesn’t feel heavy or dense. We can follow the investigation even if we aren’t botanists and scientists. Still, I wished there were a couple of illustrations of the plants. • The book shows how women had to deal with assumptions and indecent proposals to make a career in the field. Sadly, things haven’t changed a lot in this aspect. Women still need to prove their worth time and again. • Some of it seems a little too farfetched towards the end, but then it’s a work of fiction. I can let it go (and roll my eyes, of course, ). • Quite a lot of adverbs to read, and I tried my best to ignore them. :/ To sum up, A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is a promising first book in the series. It’s a decent historical cozy mystery and keeps you interested most of the time. It’s a tad predictable, but that’s fine too. I’m looking forward to the next book. Thank you, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. #ABotanistsGuidetoPartiesandPoisons #NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this opportunity to review A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons. All opinions and comments are my own. Saffron Everleigh is a Research Assistant to Dr. Maxwell at University College, London, Biology Department. She’s gossiped about, of course, as the only female in the department. Our book starts with Saffron attending a dinner honoring an expedition that’s heading for Brazil in search of more specimens. Suddenly, one of the wives collapses Many thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this opportunity to review A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons. All opinions and comments are my own. Saffron Everleigh is a Research Assistant to Dr. Maxwell at University College, London, Biology Department. She’s gossiped about, of course, as the only female in the department. Our book starts with Saffron attending a dinner honoring an expedition that’s heading for Brazil in search of more specimens. Suddenly, one of the wives collapses. At first, an allergic reaction is suspected; but then -- poison. And we’re off, in A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons, a new book by Kate Khavari. Her mentor and friend is suspected and taken away. Well, this can’t be allowed to stand, so of course Saffron must do something, and with the help of a sympathetic (male) colleague, she does. There’s a poisonous plant she knows about -- and does an experiment with it that is quite astonishing. Her friend Elizabeth tells her how stupid she is, by the way; us readers would have told her the same thing. There are bits of a possible romance here, with Mr. Ashton. But they do make a good pair for a partnership. Besides, he’s on the expedition heading for Brazil, so, there is that. In A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons you’ll get quite a bit of a botany lesson along the way. And a study about what not to do in trying to find out murderers, I should think. There’s also rather a gruesome scene at the end, when our heroine (and hero) are threatened. One not usually found in a cozy mystery, in my opinion. Just, be advised. The mystery of what really happened is solved with the help of our duo. At least all’s well in the botany world. Saffron gets to continue her research studies, including her research into poisonous plants, because she’s proven she’s really good at it. An author’s note details the real and fictional world of plants the author chose to write in. And pinpoints our timeframe, 1923. A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons has a satisfactory mystery storyline. I’d like to see a little more character development with Saffron; there was nothing really unique about her, except her propensity for doing rather stupid things. Perhaps, if there’s a second book, she’ll have gotten over her habit of doing that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    A thrilling murder mystery set in the academic halls of University College London, post World War 2! Saffron Everleigh is the daughter of a renowned botanist Thomas Everleigh who had been engaged in the enthralling (to her) pursuit of the pigmentation of different kinds of tropical plants.. A research assistant in a male dominated landscape she’s no stranger to the sexual harassment, the discounting and bullying that pervades her chosen discipline. When a professor’s wife is poisoned at a cocktail A thrilling murder mystery set in the academic halls of University College London, post World War 2! Saffron Everleigh is the daughter of a renowned botanist Thomas Everleigh who had been engaged in the enthralling (to her) pursuit of the pigmentation of different kinds of tropical plants.. A research assistant in a male dominated landscape she’s no stranger to the sexual harassment, the discounting and bullying that pervades her chosen discipline. When a professor’s wife is poisoned at a cocktail party and her kindly mentor is accused of attempted murder it’s Saffron who desires to prove the Doctor could not have been the instigator. Her knowledge of plants and toxins prove invaluable. She is assisted by another department member, the very interesting Alexander Ashton. The interactions of the staff, the politics, the dismissal of Saffron as a serious scientist with a focused intelligent mind, her pursuit of the truth about the poisonings add tension that engage. A solid read, I’m looking forward to reading future works featuring Saffron! A Crooked Lane ARC via NetGalley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling

    Audiobook review I enjoyed this book. I was excited by the blurb and cover as I thought it may help to scratch the itch of The Lost Apothecary- I've not felt a historical mystery consume me like that since I read it! This started well, I liked the start and the narrator kept me engaged, listening around the house. I liked the characters, although some weren't likeable, that just made it enjoyable because I disliked them. Characters don't have to be likeable, I just want them to make me react and f Audiobook review I enjoyed this book. I was excited by the blurb and cover as I thought it may help to scratch the itch of The Lost Apothecary- I've not felt a historical mystery consume me like that since I read it! This started well, I liked the start and the narrator kept me engaged, listening around the house. I liked the characters, although some weren't likeable, that just made it enjoyable because I disliked them. Characters don't have to be likeable, I just want them to make me react and feel strong emotions! The pacing then slowed by rather a lot and I found myself not as excited to listen much. I enjoyed the ending too, but I was left feeling somewhat underwhelmed because of the middle.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    beautiful cover , as well as a historical cozy mystery that has me wanting more.Plus its also the first in a new series and a new to me author. Other thing i loved was that it was a who done it that made me want to just set there and read. On a side note there is a touch of romance but that felt to me like it was in the background of story and that the mystery aspect was the main part of the story.So it was an amazing blend of the two.It had everything in it that I love , and checked off a lot o beautiful cover , as well as a historical cozy mystery that has me wanting more.Plus its also the first in a new series and a new to me author. Other thing i loved was that it was a who done it that made me want to just set there and read. On a side note there is a touch of romance but that felt to me like it was in the background of story and that the mystery aspect was the main part of the story.So it was an amazing blend of the two.It had everything in it that I love , and checked off a lot of boxes which was : Historical cozy mystery Characters that I grew to love A who done it And the look at how poisons work . And a bit of romance

  20. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

    “Oh, you have a problem with a strapping young man fighting through the jungle while pining for you?” Plants, poisons, a mystery, and two classic who-dun-it characters are only the beginning of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons. This romantic mystery held my attention from the very first chapter and I fought myself to get back to work and stop reading. There were many times that I thought I had everything figured out, but the plot quickly unraveled, keeping me *literally* biting my nails. “Oh, you have a problem with a strapping young man fighting through the jungle while pining for you?” Plants, poisons, a mystery, and two classic who-dun-it characters are only the beginning of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons. This romantic mystery held my attention from the very first chapter and I fought myself to get back to work and stop reading. There were many times that I thought I had everything figured out, but the plot quickly unraveled, keeping me *literally* biting my nails. This book is a very quick read, I started and finished it on the same day, and it’s also very fast-paced, which is excellent for a mystery. There really weren’t any slow spots and I never lost interest! Saffron Everleigh and Alexander Ashton were my favorites, naturally. Their chemistry was so fun and had me giggling. Everything about them felt entirely natural and true to character as the romance developed too, so that was a huge win for me! There’s only a couple of reasons for my rating of 4 stars instead of 5 though. The first is that I had difficulty with names. There is a fairly small cast of characters, and in that, there’s a Harry and a Henry. An Ashton and an Aster. A Blake and a Berking. An Eris and an Eliza (short for Elizabeth). And a few other similar name pairings that made it incredibly difficult to distinguish characters in the beginning, especially since the majority of them begin with the preface of “Dr.” and go by both first and last names. I finally got them mostly straight by the halfway mark, but still, I’d like to see less similar names in future books, especially in a mystery where character distinction plays a huge role in the plot. The other reason is that with how heavily the expedition was included in the story, I really got the idea that part of the story would take place during the expedition and would be drawn out a bit more. Instead, the whole book takes place in a single week leading up to the departure of the expedition, so I was kind of disappointed to not get to go on the expedition to the Amazon. But perhaps the author wishes to save that trip for the sequential book that I have my fingers crossed for! Overall, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons was a fun read and I loved the large part that plants played in this story. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to mystery lovers! Content Warning: Mild cursing. Sexual harassment (not detailed). Attempted murder. Infidelity. Mild discrimination. There is no gore, and on-screen romance is a single kiss. I received this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole (the library of n)

    Thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books, and Kate Khavari for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Synopsis: Set in 1923, Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant in the department of botany at University College of London. When Saffron’s beloved mentor is accused of poisoning a professor’s wife, Saffron finds herself in a race against time to help clear his name and discover who is actually to blame. With the help of her colleague and friend, Alexander Ashton, Saffron won’t rest until she Thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books, and Kate Khavari for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Synopsis: Set in 1923, Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant in the department of botany at University College of London. When Saffron’s beloved mentor is accused of poisoning a professor’s wife, Saffron finds herself in a race against time to help clear his name and discover who is actually to blame. With the help of her colleague and friend, Alexander Ashton, Saffron won’t rest until she finds out the truth. Review: Wow!! Hats off to Kate Khavari. This is a stunning, fast-paced, engaging, absolutely beautiful piece of work! The story itself is a classic whodunnit—at a dinner party for the University College of London, a guest collapses and is presumed to be poisoned. It felt like playing a game of Clue! I was excited to try and figure out the real perpetrator while reading. The main characters are amazing, in a word. The development of Saffron and Alexander as well as their relationship was really the main selling point for me. They work incredibly alongside each other and have some really interesting, fun banter (as well as some tense, chemistry ridden scenes). They also have a connection relevant to the era that attaches them and helps strengthen their relationship. The writing was really enjoyable and I loved all of the descriptions of the University, the greenhouses, and the characters themselves. I felt like I good really picture each scene and I love being able to do that. The writing made me want to make an aesthetic mood board of this book (as well as go water my plants...) And of course, this cover and this title are to die for. A title like this feels like it should be an absolute requirement for mysteries. Overall, really, really amazing work by Kate Khavari. I can’t wait to get my hands on a print copy of this when gorgeous book comes out next year!! (Trigger warning for mentions of past sexual assault and attempted sexual assault)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vidhi

    As soon as I saw the cover for this on NetGalley I knew I had to read it and it did not disappoint. The characters were all incredibly engaging and realistic even though the entire book had an almost whimsical feel to it. I especially enjoyed reading about botany/biology as that's what I'm currently studying! I thought that the plot had the perfect amount of mystery, suspense and romance to keep my interest the entire way through. The ending was also great and I didn't see it coming! 4/5 stars. Th As soon as I saw the cover for this on NetGalley I knew I had to read it and it did not disappoint. The characters were all incredibly engaging and realistic even though the entire book had an almost whimsical feel to it. I especially enjoyed reading about botany/biology as that's what I'm currently studying! I thought that the plot had the perfect amount of mystery, suspense and romance to keep my interest the entire way through. The ending was also great and I didn't see it coming! 4/5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the author for this copy to review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    3.5★s A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is the first book in the Saffron Everleigh Mystery series by American author, Kate Khavari. Following in her beloved father’s footsteps, Saffron Everleigh is a botanist at University College, London. It’s 1923, and she’s the only female in her department, making her the subject of gossip, innuendo, some harassment, and discrimination due to her gender. But the man for whom she works as an assistant, Dr Alan Marshall, is unfailingly supportive. Which 3.5★s A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is the first book in the Saffron Everleigh Mystery series by American author, Kate Khavari. Following in her beloved father’s footsteps, Saffron Everleigh is a botanist at University College, London. It’s 1923, and she’s the only female in her department, making her the subject of gossip, innuendo, some harassment, and discrimination due to her gender. But the man for whom she works as an assistant, Dr Alan Marshall, is unfailingly supportive. Which is why, when he is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, she is determined to prove his innocence. At a party celebrating an upcoming expedition to the Amazon, Cynthia Henry, wife of Dr Lawrence Henry, collapses after she drinking some champagne, apparently poisoned. Dr Marshall’s extensive knowledge of poisonous plants, in particular, a certain, reputedly highly toxic Mexican vine, implicates him. It’s when Saffron conducts a dangerous experiment on herself to disprove this theory that she teams up with Alexander Ashton, a good-looking microbiologist who has recently joined the department. Together they try to deduce who might have wanted to poison Mrs Henry, and why. Things get more complicated when they wonder if, indeed, she was the intended victim. Saffron does entertain several loose deductions that, with each additional fact learned, veer further into wild guess territory. And, as she suspects that the poisoner could be a member of the Amazon expedition, they face a deadline if Alexander is not to spend months in the company of a possible killer. It’s lucky she has Alexander onside, as he, at first reluctantly, joins her in escapades that involve searching offices and trespassing in gardens and greenhouses, although eventually he blots his copybook as he ineptly tries to alert her to the likely motive behind a certain professor’s uncharacteristic flattery. Despite lots of somewhat convoluted college politics and the odd plot hole, Khavari captures the era well, and her characters are mostly appealing, except when they’re villains, making this a quite enjoyable cosy mystery. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *3-3.5 stars Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant to Dr Maxwell, a botanist in the biology department at University College of London in the post-war year of 1923. They attend a party with several others of the university staff to celebrate the up-coming Amazonian expedition. During a champagne toast to Dr Henry, the leader of the expedition, his wife collapses: it seems she's been poisoned and Dr Maxwell becomes the chief suspect. Can Saffron prove the police are wrong about her mentor? I d *3-3.5 stars Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant to Dr Maxwell, a botanist in the biology department at University College of London in the post-war year of 1923. They attend a party with several others of the university staff to celebrate the up-coming Amazonian expedition. During a champagne toast to Dr Henry, the leader of the expedition, his wife collapses: it seems she's been poisoned and Dr Maxwell becomes the chief suspect. Can Saffron prove the police are wrong about her mentor? I did enjoy the historical period and the setting of this story. There is a bit of light romance mixed into the amateur investigation Saffron and her friend, Alexander Ashton, carry on. I didn't much care for Saffron herself and found her attempts to uncover the truth quite haphazard, reckless and foolish. (One life-threatening act in particular which I won't describe to avoid spoilers.) It just seemed that most of the basics of investigation were missing here, such as looking into motive and opportunity. I would call this a cozy historical-mystery with a touch of romance. I received an arc of this new mystery from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity. Much praise for the lovely cover art!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    For the love of beautiful covers and Botany 🌱🧫 This book had such a promising start - a 1920s London academia setting, a time when women weren’t seen, or rather accepted to be competitive, ambitious and career-oriented and had to try hard, sometimes by giving into unfair methods to make their place. Then comes Saffron Everleigh, our protagonist, a futuristic woman who is all set to break stereotypes and do things her way. Wow! Sadly, the excitement didn’t hold for long. The writing got draggy and For the love of beautiful covers and Botany 🌱🧫 This book had such a promising start - a 1920s London academia setting, a time when women weren’t seen, or rather accepted to be competitive, ambitious and career-oriented and had to try hard, sometimes by giving into unfair methods to make their place. Then comes Saffron Everleigh, our protagonist, a futuristic woman who is all set to break stereotypes and do things her way. Wow! Sadly, the excitement didn’t hold for long. The writing got draggy and a bit too simple, and there were far too many orchestrated romantic scenes that dulled the mystery for me. The references to plants and poisons were the best part - well researched and cleverly blended into the story, but other than that, nothing lived up to the expectations that the gorgeous cover and title had managed to set up. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. Publication Date: June 7th, 2022. Not a bad read, just not too exciting for a mystery. 2.75/5🌟(rounding up). TW: Workplace sexual harassment, Discrimination based on sex, Murder Attempt, and War.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trishita Das

    The action takes place in London in the 1920s. Saffron, our heroine, is a feisty, vibrant scientist who is well-versed in the use of poisons, which aids her in the investigation of a suspected murder attempt! Her relatable, intelligent intellect and real, simple, natural characteristics aid in rapidly immersing herself in the plot. Her resolve and fortitude are fueling her struggle against her coworkers’ arrogant, sexist, and discriminatory attitudes. The author skillfully depicted a tough, but The action takes place in London in the 1920s. Saffron, our heroine, is a feisty, vibrant scientist who is well-versed in the use of poisons, which aids her in the investigation of a suspected murder attempt! Her relatable, intelligent intellect and real, simple, natural characteristics aid in rapidly immersing herself in the plot. Her resolve and fortitude are fueling her struggle against her coworkers’ arrogant, sexist, and discriminatory attitudes. The author skillfully depicted a tough, but also a bit impetuous heroine who acts quicker than she thinks, which serves as a complicated feature in contrast to her perceptive traits as a genuine scientist. The novel commences with a party scene with professors and high society in attendance, which is intended for the presentation of the trip, but the night ends with one of the participants being poisoned! Professor Maxwell, Saffron’s teacher, is suspected of the poisoning attempt, prompting Saffron to partner up with attractive veteran Alexander Ashton to identify the genuine perpetrator. This book is a short read (I began and finished it in one day), and it’s also rather fast-paced, which is ideal for a mystery. There were no dull moments, and I was never bored! Naturally, my favorites were Saffron Everleigh and Alexander Ashton. Their chemistry was hilarious, and I couldn’t stop laughing. As the romance progressed, everything about them seemed very natural and true to character, which was a great plus for me! In a word, the major characters are outstanding. For me, the biggest selling factor was the growth of Saffron and Alexander, as well as their connection. They get along swimmingly and have some pretty fascinating and entertaining conversations. They also have a historical tie that binds them together and helps to enhance their bond. I felt the narrative had just the right mix of mystery, suspense, and romance to hold my attention throughout. The finale was fantastic, and I wasn’t expecting it! The writing was excellent, and I like the descriptions of the university, greenhouses, and the folks themselves. I felt like I could truly imagine each scenario, which I enjoy doing. To summarise, the first book in the series, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons, offers a promising start. It’s a solid historical cozy mystery that keeps you engaged for the most part. It’s a little formulaic, but that’s good. I’m excited about the next installment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denver Public Library

    This is the delightful first title in the new Saffron Everleigh mystery series, set in 1920s academic London. Saffron is a botanist, but at the university, women in academics are mostly ignored. Things change when Saffon's mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is accused of poisoning the wife of the head of the department. She is quickly thrown together with Alexander Ashton, another researcher at University College, and they put together their scientific knowledge to try to find the real suspect. Quirky and col This is the delightful first title in the new Saffron Everleigh mystery series, set in 1920s academic London. Saffron is a botanist, but at the university, women in academics are mostly ignored. Things change when Saffon's mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is accused of poisoning the wife of the head of the department. She is quickly thrown together with Alexander Ashton, another researcher at University College, and they put together their scientific knowledge to try to find the real suspect. Quirky and colorful, readers will enjoy watching as Saffron and Ashton become closer as they sort out poisons, potions, and politics to solve the mystery.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie T

    3.5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    katayoun Masoodi

    interesting characters and nice mystery, the writing was maybe not smooth all the time, but overall very enjoyable and would be happy to read saffron's next adventure. interesting characters and nice mystery, the writing was maybe not smooth all the time, but overall very enjoyable and would be happy to read saffron's next adventure.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Plucky: this is the word used by the publisher to describe our heroine, Saffron Everleigh in the novel A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari. Whenever I see the word “plucky”, I picture Shirley Temple or The Unsinkable Molly Brown: girls/women who acts in a way different from the girls/women of their time. They are sassy and brassy; they never give up, and are able to rally those around them to keep up the good fight. Nothing gets them down. I had so much trouble seeing Saffr Plucky: this is the word used by the publisher to describe our heroine, Saffron Everleigh in the novel A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari. Whenever I see the word “plucky”, I picture Shirley Temple or The Unsinkable Molly Brown: girls/women who acts in a way different from the girls/women of their time. They are sassy and brassy; they never give up, and are able to rally those around them to keep up the good fight. Nothing gets them down. I had so much trouble seeing Saffron this way, so I looked it up. In Gothic/Victorian literature, the Plucky Heroine—to paraphrase—is brave, outspoken, intelligent, curious, and independent. She uses courage, intuition, and intellect to solve problems (crime).* Saffron is a plucky heroine. It is 1923, and Saffron is a research assistant for botanist Dr. Maxwell. She is the only female in the science department at the University College of London. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1870s that women were allowed to earn a degree at this institution of higher learning. Fifty years later, the imbedded misogyny is apparent as she goes about her day at work: she is not allowed to do what her male colleagues take for granted, and is inundated with their sexual harassment. The two male characters who treat her with respect are Dr. Maxwell and fellow researcher, the handsome Alexander Ashton. It is the latter who works with her to save Dr. Maxwell—playing the part of the damsel-in-distress—from prison. This book was a fun and easy read. The pacing was swift, and the author put a modern twist to the historical fiction novel. Alexander Ashton, despite being a somewhat superior faculty member (and male), defers to her and acquiesces to her expertise in poisons. He doesn’t come in to save the day, or act paternalistic. He must have had a fantastic mother. If you like your mysteries with a bit of peril and romance, this is the book for you. *“Plucky Girls and Female Gentlemen: The Amateur Sleuth in Historical Mysteries” by Kelly Gardiner, Australiancrimefiction.com I would like to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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