A Botanist’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality by Kate Khavari

A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality (Saffron Everleigh Mystery, #2)

Barbara’s rating: 4.3 out of 5 Stars
Series: Saffron Everleigh Mystery #2
Publication Date: 6/6/23
Period: 1920’s London – George V – Interwar Period
Number of Pages: 352

Saffron Everleigh has worked hard, defied her family, and found success at a time and place where women were relegated to fetching coffee, typing notes, and running a home. Were it not for her hard-headed determination and brilliant mind, she’d still be doing all of those things. Instead, she is a researcher at University College with her own office and a research grant. That grant comes with a partner, Dr. Lee, who is handsome, suave, and very dedicated to medicine. Their task is to investigate poisonings from poisonous plants and to document the plant, its location, the effect on the person who was poisoned, etc. Saffron is very excited about the project because it means she’ll have a published paper before she even starts her masters program at the university.

If you read the first book, you’ll remember Inspector Green who was constantly trying to keep Saffron out of his investigation. This time, he’s come to her asking for help. It seems there have been three murders – all by different methods – but all victims received strange flower arrangements prior to or at the time of their deaths. The murders are all definitely related – but how – and what prompted these strange bouquets? The inspector is interested in having Saffron identify the plants – which she does. She also discovers the old meanings (floriography) of the different plants and passes that along as well.

Being Saffron, she also inveigles more information from the Inspector and takes it upon herself to begin investigating – even bringing a reluctant Dr. Lee into it. They trek through dingy clubs where drugs are as prevalent as alcohol, and they befriend people who have much to hide. Who among the denizens of this dark world could have wanted three people dead? Or, are they even looking in the right place?

I’m definitely a romantic and I just have to have a romance in my mysteries. I’m not sure where this series is headed in that area, but I’m ready for the male romantic lead to be settled. I’m not one for the will-they/won’t-they scenario and that is what this is so far. Yes, this is only the second book, but we should have a pretty clear view of where this is headed by now – and we don’t. I’m pretty sure Dr. Lee is currently out of the romantic picture and Ashton may or may not be. I’m guessing Ashton will be the romantic lead, especially with how the third book is set up at the end of this one – but – you never know.

As for Saffron, I have to wonder a bit about her. She is brilliant and dedicated, but she seems to be oblivious to the feelings of those around her – at least the male portion of the population. They are all supposed to be totally supportive and understanding of her, but she seems to have no clue about them. For instance – Dr. Lee wanted to drop out of the investigation – so she just got angry with him rather than wondering (or asking) what the reason was. Then, there is Ashton with PTSD and she doesn’t seem to want to make any allowances for his feelings of protectiveness or his personal battles with flashbacks. Yes, he has a real problem with actually expressing his feelings, but she doesn’t seem to care enough about him to delve into why any of that might be. While I find her mind to be very sharp, I find her heart to be a tad slow, selfish, and dull. I’m hoping that will change with the next book.

I recommend this book and this series and I hope you will enjoy it. There are plenty of twists and turns, lots of red herrings, plenty of danger for all of our characters, and a thoroughly satisfying wrap-up for the villain. Then, of course, there is the set-up for the next book and I can’t wait to see where that one leads us. BTW – you do not have to have read the first book to enjoy this one – however, I believe it will add much to your enjoyment of this book if you understand more about Saffron’s journey to get to where she is now.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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