#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022
My #bookvent selection for day twelve is part of a series that has stunned, amused and entertained me, and many others, from the very start. Dark, dangerous, and packed with humour, this particular book sees our favourite Detecting duo face racing to save one of their own and to prove the virtually impossible. The protagonists of this particular book are like chalk and cheese, if cheese spent all of their days trying to encourage chalk to live a much healthier lifestyle that is … My twelfth pick is …
The Botanist by M.W. Craven
This is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life…
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. Insanely brilliant, she’s a bit of a social hand grenade. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.
And then there’s Estelle Doyle. Dark and dangerous and sexy as hell. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street, but has she gone too far this time? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’
Meanwhile, a poisoner called the Botanist is sending the nation’s most reviled people poems and pressed flowers. Twisted and ingenious, he seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice given to his victims, and regardless of the security measures taken, he is able to kill with impunity.
Poe hates locked room mysteries and now he has two to solve. To unravel them he’s going to have to draw on every resource he has: Tilly Bradshaw, an organised crime boss, even an alcoholic ex-journalist. Because if he doesn’t, the bodies are going to keep piling up . . .
I bloody live this series. It’s hard not to. Not only do we have the kind of dark and deadly deeds being perpetrated that keep the tension high and regularly sees the action reach fever pitch, but we have two of the best characters in recent literary history with Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw. They shouldn’t work – they are polar opposites – and yet they undeniably do. I could never imagine one without the other and the series just wouldn’t be the same without Poe’s deadpan humour and Tilly’s innocent, and literal, interpretation of everything,. They made a formidable pair and when they are in town, the bad guys better watch out. Love ’em. This time around they are fighting to save one of their own, someone who has been accused of a crime we don’t believe they could have committed, but against whom there is overwhelming evidence to suggest they did. Add to that a killer who seems to be targeting the most objectionable ‘celebrities’ and societal figures (think GB News presenter types and you’ll not be far off the mark), leaving me with somewhat of a moral dilemma. There is something almost too satisfying in seeming them meet a sticky end. I can pass this off as just being fiction and obviously in real life I would never condone such actions, but still … 😏 It certainly makes you think. Thankfully, Poe can be relied on to do the right thing, especially with Jiminy Tilly on his shoulder acting as his conscience. the how of this case is ingenious, the method of dispatch simple and yet very effective.
Tense, dizzying, sometimes emotional and often infuriating, it’s mystery packed upon mystery, and every page turn was a real joy. How can you resist.
You can read my full review here.
Happy #bookvent reading all