Cover Image: A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons is a delightful, charming mystery, brimming with academic intrigue, sassy characters, and charming characters with a pinch of romance.

My favorite aspect of this book has to be the fiery female protagonist (Saffron) and the chemistry between her and the male lead Alex. The author astutely portrayed the struggles that Saffron faces in the highly male-dominated academic world.

The murder party mystery twist only highlighted my delight and proved a useful catalyst for the plotline that involves a good old-fashioned "Who dunnit mystery."

Saffron, who is more of a heart-first leap into danger first hand girly is tempered very nicely by Alex and his strong headstrung ways.

With a decent plotline and fantastic characters, this book is a definite must-read.

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review. You can follow me on IG @JessicaReadsIt.

Was this review helpful?

Though not my usual genre of choice, I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was well done and the prose was beautiful. The book kept me engaged and guessing the whole way through. Very entertaining, and with a beautiful cover to boot.

Was this review helpful?

In the Roaring Twenties, London University. Saffron is a young assistant to a professor of botany who needs to gain the respect of her peers by navigating with both force and diplomacy. She meets Anthony, a bacterium expert, at a fancy dinner meant to mark the beginning of a new expedition to the Amazon, and she instantly falls in love with him.
The university's offices serve as the setting for the main plot, which is expertly portrayed. I was taken back in time to those stifling rooms brimming with potential and literature. The mystery is not too complicated, and Saffron and Anthony's budding romance is a bonus. The text is as vibrant, intricate, and humorous as its lovely cover suggests. An interesting read for me.

Was this review helpful?

Great historical fiction mystery set in the 1920's in London. Saffron Everleigh is a young woman botanist, struggling to make a career for herself in a male dominated society. While attending a dinner party, Saffron witnesses a woman fall into a coma after sipping from a glass of champagne. The professor she's been studying under is soon arrested for this crime and Saffron makes it her duty to uncover the real villain and free her friend. It also helps that the new (and handsome) biologist, Alexander Ashton, becomes her friend and co-conspiring detective in the case.

I loved Saffron and Alexander's characters as well as the setting for this mystery. This is book 1 in a series and I'm definitely invested enough to keep reading! The romance was sweet and clean, just the way I like it!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved the setting!London in 1923 sounds like a fun place to read about.

I also really liked the science aspect to the story. Loved the strong female character.

It was a good mystery but it did tend to read pretty slow and I think it made the story drag a bit.

I think I personally would have preferred a bit more action.

Was this review helpful?

While I really liked the setup and premise of this book, it ended up not working super well for me. I was bored throughout parts and wasn't sold on the romance

Was this review helpful?

This book reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie's works of mystery and crime. It's fast-paced and the characters are both sharp and lovable, contributing to a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. Amidst the crime-solving narrative, it manages to strike a relaxing balance, providing ample tension to captivate readers without pushing them to the edge of their seats.
Saffron, especially, emerges as a standout character—fierce, determined, and brilliantly portrayed. Her inspirational qualities add depth to the narrative.
I wholeheartedly recommend it to historical fiction enthusiasts who appreciate cozy (if there is such) mysteries.

Was this review helpful?

Saffron Everleigh, a research assistant at the University College of London, believes she's the only hope at proving her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is not behind the murder by poisoning of a fellow professor's wife. Time is of the essence with a research expedition to the Amazon on the horizon. She enlists the help of fellow researcher, Alexander Ashton, as the evidence mounts against the suspected professor. Set in 1923, this cozy mystery was a delight to read. Saffron comes from a well to do family, but despite their disapproval, has decided to follow in her late father's footsteps, the and research of botany. Her skills and knowledge come in quite handy as she and Alexander search for answers to solve the crime--just what was the unknown poison used and who is behind it?

Saffron is an intelligent and capable woman, although, admittedly, she takes risks with her own life that had me seriously questioning her judgement a couple of times. I liked her flat mate, Elizabeth. The two women have a strong friendship and look out for each other. Alexander is an interesting character with a complex backstory--a veteran who was injured in the first world war. I liked that the author doesn't shy away from the effects war had on the returning soldiers. The mystery itself was entertaining, the possible budding romance between Alexander and Saffron well played, and I couldn't wait to find out how everything would turn out. This novel was well researched, both in science for the sake of the crime and history to bring the setting to life. A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons was a great start to a new series.

Was this review helpful?

When Saffron Everleigh's mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is wrongly accused of attempted murder, she sets out in search of the answers to which toxin caused it and who was responsible for the crime.
Once again, the wonderful netgalley with the arcs for me to read made me get to know the first book in this series.
At the end of the book I was sad because I wanted to read more and then happy because I remembered that there's another one out and one to come.
I liked the writing especially when the author was describing the specific moment when we could see how the poison worked, I kept imagining the scene as if it were a movie.
I felt that the book was very quick and easy to absorb the events.
Saffron was a character I loved so much, it had been a while since I'd read a character and I loved the details. The other researcher, Alexander Ashton, was a worthy partner and I hope he's in the next book in the series.
As it was the beginning of the series, there were points that bothered me and that I hope will be fixed with the next books.

Was this review helpful?

This book is an historical mystery set in the 1920's. I highly enjoyed the historical setting of the book. We follow Saffron Everleigh, who is a research assistant and the University College of London. At a dinner party someone is poisoned, and Saffron decides to try and find out who did it. Not without consequences.

The focus on botany in this book gave me a lot of joy. It's different from what I've read and gives a new twist to a mystery book. Although maybe there could've been even more talk about plants combined with the scenes in the greenhouse. That's a personal preference.

I got quite a quick start into the book, but halfway to three quarters I struggled a little bit and lost my pace. The ending was exciting though and definitely got me back on track.

As the start of a series, I think this is a great book. It'd be interesting to see how botany gets involved in other mystery stories.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoy historical fiction novels and thought parts of this book had great pacing, page turning parts, but then in other sections, the pacing of this book was a little off for me, particularly through the middle. I acknowledge however that this was the first book in a series, and it is probably necessary to set up the world and events, but it made it slow going in the middle and honestly Saffron…she did some really dumb things, is the worst amateur detective, and clearly academically smart but completely lacking in the other areas.

I am unsure how I feel about the ‘romance’ in this one. Mainly because I am not sure if I’d prefer it just being her to try and right some wrongs and investigate mysteries, or if the romance adds to the story.

The academia setting and plant/botany information was interesting, but I would have liked it to be a bit more fast-paced to maintain my interest.

Was this review helpful?

I really like the main character and the early chapters showing her investigating and analyzing plants and their potential dangers are excellent. The major crimes of the book were not as interesting to me, I wasn't enthralled by the decadent youth suspects. But I think the premise and main characters are very good and I will keep reading this series.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this and was surprised at how much I came to love Saffron and Alexander. I found found setting interesting and enjoyed the slow romance. Having Alexander as a shellshocked war veteran was fascinating and provided a prospective we don't usually see, or at least not in the books I normally read.

The mystery itself was intriguing and made me want to know just how it was all going to go down.

Although the poison symptoms was made up, I can see the author did make an effort to keep everything else as accurate as possible.

Thank you NetGallgery for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

<b>**FULL REVIEW**</b>

I’m sorry to say, despite the beautiful cover and high hopes I had going into this story…I’m sorely disappointed and so, so bored.

I’m all for cozy mysteries, a little bit of romance, and fancy accents…but this story fell a little flat. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, I found myself skimming what felt like needless word dumps throughout almost the entire book.

Saffron’s name alone is written so many times….ugh. Books typically written in this point of view tend to be more difficult to stay immersed in for me anyway, but I couldn’t get over the author’s lack of creativity in finding ways to show me things instead of telling this entire story. It was drawn out and mind-numbing, but not in the way I’d hoped.

I won’t be reading the rest of the series…thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title in exchange for my honest review.

<b>**Barely 2 So Much Saffron, Stars**</b>

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for giving me a free eARC of this book to read in exchange for my review!

Was this review helpful?

I could not get into this book.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Was this review helpful?

This book was dreamy and cozy and and was perfectly what I needed at this point. I loved this one and can't wait to read more.

Was this review helpful?

I read 2/3 of this book before I gave up in disappointment. The setting was the highlight, I wanted to see more of the setting than of the characters, who quite frankly bored me. The pacing felt incredibly slow. I wanted to persist, because there was so much that I liked about this book, and the synopsis drew me in, but in the end, I had to admit defeat.

Was this review helpful?

Slow paced historical mystery with seemingly forced romance and did not really hold my attention. Her bestfriend was a breath of fresh air but in the end everything came together nicely so I am thankful for that.

Thank you for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

An Agatha Christie-esque historical murder mystery set on a college campus shortly after WWI
I read A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons in one sitting. It was the perfect read for the rainy and uncharacteristically cold summer afternoon. I don’t usually read historical fiction books, but I decided to lean into it because our MC was a trailblazing woman scientist.

Saffron Everleigh is the only woman researcher in the University College London Biology Department. She is attending a faculty party when Dr. Henry’s wife collapses. Her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is accused of poisoning his colleague’s wife over a dispute about a research trip to Brazil. Saffron, a botanist, knows the facts don’t add up, and the plant that incriminates Dr. Maxwell is unlikely to be the poison used on Mrs. Henry. So, using her researcher and botanist’s skills and with the help of her colleague Alexander Ashton, Saffron sets out to find who had the motive and means to poison Mrs. Henry.

This story is simple and slow-paced, true to the Agatha Christie style. A historical glimpse of the 1920s with subplots that feel true to the times. A world that is reeling from a devastating war and the consequences for those who fought and their families. A world where a woman has to work five (fifty?) times harder than a man to be respected. In spite of the odds that are stacked against her, Saffron forges her path and leaves her mark.

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a sweet cozy mystery that reads fast and wraps up neatly.

Was this review helpful?