The Botanist – M W Craven (Washington Poe Book 5)

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 . . .

Book Information: Print Length: 496 pages. Publisher: Constable. Publication Date: 2 June 2022

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

My Review:

This is the latest in the incredible series featuring Poe and Tilly and if you follow my blog you will see that I read book 4 a few days ago and immediately started book 5 The Botanist which was read in under a day because it’s quite simply THAT BLOODY GOOD!

The Botanist is, in my humble opinion, the BEST book so far of this cracking series and I literally inhaled it from start to finish. Yes it can be read out of order, but I always recommend reading the books as the author intended and getting to know all the characters properly.

Once again Washington Poe and Matilda “Tilly” Bradshaw are facing a twisted and disturbed killer, called The Botanist, who is targetting high profile victims without leaving a trace. The fact that his victims are either corrupt, misogynistic or vile racists is appealling to the public and he is seen as a hero rather than a vicious serial killer.

Poe is also trying to deal with the arrest of pathologist, Estelle Doyle who has been charged with the murder of her own father and the evidence does not look good.

Juggling two high profile and confusing “locked room” cases has Poe and Tilly running backwards and forwards determined to stop anymore deaths and prove the innocence of Estelle.

I said it in my previous review on Dead Ground, but Poe and Tilly’s friendship is amazing, I was continuously laughing out loud at the exchanges between them. This book delves deeper into their personal lives and I absolutely LOVED it.

The Botanist is a book full of brilliant banter with highly original and complex cases and tea with breastmilk. What more can you ask for?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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