A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari- Book review

I enjoyed this murder mystery featuring a mystery solving botanist in the swinging twenties. Here is my review of A Botanists Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

Genre: Historical fiction/ historical crime

Series: Saffron Everleigh Mysteries

Publication Date :June 2022

Source: Thank you  NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books

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,  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 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?


I was pleased to be approved for a copy of this murder mystery for a free, unbiased and honest opinion. 

 Saffron aspires to run her own study but this isn’t likely to happen in 1920s London, no matter how hard she tries. So when her only champion and mentor is accused of attempted murder she has no choice but to solve the crime with her knowledge of plants.

The underlying mystery is interesting with a huge range of shady suspects with complex motives that kept me guessing who the murderer was and while I did kind of guess the identity, the motive did come as a surprise.

The book is told from the third-person point of view from Saffron and Alexander as they try to solve the mystery.

Saffron is an interesting character, a woman ahead of her time with no real female role models trying to find her way in the closed world of academia- I found this thread of the story the most fascinating particularly in how despite the progress women have made but so much has still the stayed the same. Some of her actions did seem reckless but made sense given her shaky future in a department determined to see her fail. I could understand the police’s frustrations with Saffron’s well-intentioned attempts to help!

Alexander was a solid character but in the usual supportive hero with underlying issues mould but the budding romance between him and Saffron was lovely.

The book was easy to read and finished this in a couple of hours in one sitting ( I did need to find out if I was right about the culprit) and I will be adding Kate Khavari to my list of authors to read.

Content warning

Attempted sexual assault, sexual harassment

Perfect for Fans of

Historical cosy crime, from the Goodreads blurb-Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber.

3 thoughts on “A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari- Book review

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