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

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.

Review of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons

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. Also, 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.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️.5

Expected Publication: 07 June 2022

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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