I am such a fan of Elaine Thomson’s books; I love this series featuring the enigmatic Jem Flockhart, I love her sidekick Will Quartermain, and most of all, I love her description and evocation of rotten, stinking yet oddly beautiful Victorian London.
Yet this latest adventure has its roots not in the capital but in a place even more dangerous and exotic than the poison plants that grow there – we are transported to India of the early 1900s. It’s not the genteel, colonial India of teas on the lawn and polo matches, but a feral, untamed one where people ingest experimental drugs, and madness and death ensue.
As well as being taken on a journey far away from our shores, the joy of this work is the loving detail given to these toxic blooms – so deadly, yet so beautiful! And as spring is now here, I feel this is a must for any keen gardener – or potential poisoner!
'Another gripping page-turner, add Nightshade to your reading list now.' Edinburgh Evening News
'Vivid, pungent and perilous' CHRIS BROOKMYRE on Beloved Poison
'Evocative...brilliant plotting' REBECCA GRIFFITHS on Beloved Poison
'A dark gripping atmospheric thriller' Dundee Courier on Nightshade
A gripping and darkly atmospheric thriller set in Victorian London, perfect for fans of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Strangers Diaries and The Silent Companions.
London, 1851. Restless and bored after a long hot summer, apothecary and poison expert Jem Flockhart decides to redesign her physic garden. But plans are thrown into confusion when a man's skeleton is unearthed from beneath the deadly nightshade, a smaller, child-like skeleton curled at its feet. The body bears evidence of knife wounds to its ribs and arms, and is accompanied by a collection of macabre objects: a brass bowl, a curious coin-like token, a set of tiny ivory sculls.
The police claim the victim is too long-buried for answers to be found, but for Jem, a corpse in her own garden is something that cannot be ignored. The plans to the garden, laid out some forty years earlier, reveal a list of five names. When Jem and Will start asking questions, the murders begin. Each victim has a past connection with the physic garden; each corpse is found with its jaw broken wide and its mouth stuffed with deadly nightshade.
As they move closer to uncovering the truth Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain encounter a dark world of addiction, madness, power and death that strikes at the very heart of Jem's own history. This time, the poison is personal. . .
Praise for E. S. Thomson's novels:
'Superb' Sunday Express
'Gothic. Gory. Glorious . . . E. S. Thompson's Jem Flockhart books are the best I've read in years. Jem is just my kind of heroine: scarred, smart, complex, and unapologetically queer' Kirsty Logan, author of The Gloaming
'Love evocative descriptions of Victorian London and brilliant plotting? Then grab a copy of this!' Rebecca Griffiths, author of The Primrose Path
'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' Evening Telegraph
'Jem Flockhart's London is vivid, pungent and perilous' Chris Brookmyre
'Complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable' Daily Express
'A marvellous, vivid book' Janet Ellis
'Jem Flockhart is a marvel . . . This vivid journey into the dark side of the human soul is a thoroughly engrossing tale' Mary Paulson Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker