A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons

Dreamscape Media. (Saffron Everleigh Mystery, Bk. 1). Jun. 2022. 8:12 hrs. ISBN 9781666582017. $17.99. M
Khavari’s intriguing mystery promises to be the start of an engaging new series. The tale is set in 1923 London, and listeners will meet Saffron Everleigh, a charming, quick-witted academic turned sleuth, who endeavors to prove that her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is innocent of fatally poisoning a dinner guest. What Saffron lacks in wisdom, she makes up for in determination, as she meticulously employs her science-based research skills to ferret out every clue. She is joined by her colleague, Alexander Ashton, who appears to be helpful and bright, though unsettling rumors imply that he may not be all that he seems. Narrator Jodie Harris gives Saffron an inquisitive, determined voice that exudes authority when she speaks of botany and poison, but allows the perfect amount of uncertainty to creep in when she enters unfamiliar territory. Harris’s self-assured delivery inspires trust in Saffron’s skills and knowledge as she delivers fascinating details about 1920s scientific research methods and knowledge. Most importantly, once the culprit is revealed, the mystery proves to be cleverly conceived and satisfying.
VERDICT The mixture of niche mystery elements (cozy, historical, academic) combined with Harris’s appealing narration make this debut a must-buy for audio mystery collections.
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