Monday 20 June 2022

The Botanist by MW Craven @TheBotanist @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @BethWright26 #PoeandTilly #TheBotanist #BookReview


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 . . .

The Botanist by M W Craven was published in hardback on 2 June 2022 by Constable / Little Brown. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Well, welcome back Poe and Tilly, it's been a long year without you!  The Botanist is number five in the Washington Poe series. I have devoured every single one of this series, they get better and better. The Botanist is another gripping, darkly funny in places and tense crime thriller from one of the very best crime authors out there. The creation of the partnership between Washingto Poe and Tilly Bradshaw must surely be one of the best things ever to happen in crime ficton. 

Whilst you could, at a push, read this as a stand alone story, I'd really advise people to go back and start from the beginning of the series. That way, you get to see the characters grow and you'll realise just why they do the things that they do.

So, back to the plot of The Botanist. Once again Poe and Tilly find themselves at the centre of suspected serial killer case, but this time, they have more than one case on their hands. One of their team, Estelle Doyle, much respected pathologist has been arrested. Her father was found shot dead at his home and Estelle's hand are covered with firearms discharge residue. Poe is convinced that Estelle is innocent but the evidence is totally stacked against her. Meanwhile, in what appears to be a totally separate case, high profile celebrities are being slain, but these are people that the public love to hate. Misogynists, racists, cheats ... the serial killer dubbed The Botanist is beginning to get a cult following and whilst Poe may agree that the victims were not nice people, his job is to stop the killings. 

There's some really grim and warped events in this story which could make it too dark, however Mike Craven absolutely excels at the dark humour and some of the Tillyisms uttered throughout the story are laugh out loud hilarious. It's great touch and reveals the humanity of the police force and civilians who are immersed every single day in the horrors that humans can create. 

Myself and my husband both read The Botanist whilst on holiday in Corfu, we both chuckled in the same places, we both cringed and we both were left open mouthed by the intricate plotting and the total unexpected series of events that are so cleverly and masterfully outlined. 

Bring on the next instalment!

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.


Twitter: @MWCravenUK

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