Devil’s Breath by Jill Johnson – Book Review

Devil’s Breath by Jill Johnson – Book Review

Devils Breath by Jill Johnson

Devil’s Breath
Professor Eustacia Rose Mystery Book One

I received a free copy of this book.
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I’ve always been better with plants than people . . .

Eustacia Rose is a Professor of Botanical Toxicology who lives alone in London with only her extensive collection of poisonous plants for company. She tends to her garden with meticulous care. Her life is quiet. Her schedule never changes. Until the day she hears a scream and the temptation to investigate proves irresistible.

Through her telescope, Professor Rose is drawn into the life of an extraordinarily beautiful neighbour, Simone, and nicknames the men who visit her after poisonous plants according to the toxic effect they have on Simone. But who are these four men? And why does Eustacia Rose recognise one of them?

Just as she preserves her secret garden, she feels inexplicably compelled to protect her neighbour, but Eustacia soon finds herself entangled in a far more complicated web than she could ever have imagined. When her precious garden is vandalised and someone close to Simone is murdered with a toxin derived from a rare poisonous plant, Eustacia becomes implicated in the crime.

After all, no one knows toxic plants like she does . . .

Review by Stacey

Devil’s Breath is an enigmatic and suspenseful novel featuring a distinctive and eccentric Professor of Botanical Toxicology, Eustacia Rose, or Professor Rose as she likes to be called.

Professor Rose is a recluse by nature. She prefers her deadly plants which she grows on her rooftop garden in London to the people down below. That is until she spots her new neighbour, Simone, who is stunning but seems to like the company of multiple men.

The book takes a dark turn when Simone goes missing and Professor Rose’s rooftop garden is destroyed (plus a plant is stolen). Professor Rose is convinced of a correlation between the possible kidnapping of Simone and the vandalism. The police are no use so she takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery, though by doing so she inadvertently places herself in danger.

The plot is intriguing and mysterious. It has all the elements of an old-fashioned Whodunit with twists, turns, and red herrings galore, but set in modern-day London. Professor Rose is a quirky, charming character who you can’t help loving from the start. The plot is engaging and it captured my attention right from the beginning. The chapters seamlessly glided into one another and the storyline kept on giving right to the end.

As this is the start of a new series I eagerly away meeting Professor Rose again.

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Jill Johnson

Jill Johnson

Jill is a Māori writer based in the UK, having lived in south-east Asia, Europe and New Zealand. She moved to London when she was 18 and the following year opened Gosh! Comics. Alongside this, she and her partner launched a graphic novel publishing company and an editorial cartoon gallery.

While running her businesses and raising her three children, Jill obtained a BA Hons degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Design. In 2013, she submitted her writing to Faber and Faber, and was accepted into the Faber Academy. Her first novel The Time Before the Time to Come was published by OWN IT! in 2018. She now lives in Brighton.

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