The Botanist by M.W. Craven

Author M.W. Craven collecting the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, July 2023. Photo Credit: Richard Maude.

We are thrilled to share that 2023 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award winner The Botanist by M.W. Craven is our August pick for the HIF Book of the Month!

The Botanist, an instant Sunday Times bestseller, follows disgraced detective D.S. Washington Poe as he is tasked with catching a poisoner sending the nation’s most reviled people poems and pressed flowers, whilst his close friend, pathologist Estelle Doyle, seeks his help when she is arrested for the murder of her father.

M.W. Craven said on winning Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year: “This was genuinely the biggest shock of my life. It was a huge honour to be shortlisted among friends. I’m utterly thrilled, this is the biggest award for crime fiction.

Read on to find out more about the book, and the author, and get your copy of The Botanist…

‘Mesmerising, macabre and murderously funny. The Botanist is M.W. Craven at his sinister best. I couldn’t love this series more’ – Chris Whitaker

About the book:

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 insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. 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. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? 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 going in. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . .

About the author:

Multi-award-winning author M.W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at sixteen, leaving ten years later to complete a social work degree. Seventeen years after taking up a probation officer role in Cumbria, at the rank of assistant chief officer, he became a full-time author. He is an instant Sunday Times bestseller and, for his Cumbria-set Washington Poe series, a recipient of the 2019 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger, the 2022 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023. The series has now been translated into twenty-seven languages