Thursday, June 15, 2023

A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality - Kate Khavari

It was the cover of Kate Khavari's new book, A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality, that first caught my eye. Then I read the synopsis of the book - and I was hooked! This is the second book in the Saffron Everleigh series. I had not listened to the first book, but it was great as a stand alone as well.

1920's London, England. Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant at a London University. Her field? Poisonous plants. She is called on to the local constabulary when a number of deaths occur - and each of the victims have received a bouquet. In addition to her skill with plants, Saffron is well versed in the Victorian practice of floriography. But she won't be investigating on her own. Dr. Michael Lee will be on the case with her. 

Could there be any better name than Saffron for a poison plant expert? She is a wonderful lead character, one you are firmly behind from the first chapter. She's intelligent, intuitive, determined, brave and more than a little impulsive. I also quite liked Saffron's flatmate Elizabeth - she's a great 'sidekick' supporting player. Dr. Lee provides a will they/ won't they romantic thread. Khavari has given this part of the book the right amount of attention as it never overpowers the murder mysteries. 

I thought the poison plants and floriography was a fresh idea and perfect for the timeframe. Khavari has captured 1920 with the depictions of society, relationships, mores and my favourite - the verbal jousting.

And the mystery of whodunit? Not who you would have expected! The case was well written, with more than a few choices for the culprit.

I chose to listen to A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality. The narrator was Jodie Harris - a new to me reader. I really liked her voice and accent. Her voice is easy on the ears and the accent is perfect for my mental image of Saffron. She's easy to understand. The speed was just right. Harris easily captures the plot, the emotions, danger and more with her reading. She also provides believable male voices and different and recognizable voices for other female characters. An excellent performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality. 11 hours 18 minutes

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