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This is the fifth book in the series about Jem Flockhart, Apothecary.

 

E S Thomson is female - should anybody need to know that  - and is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. Jem Flockhart is female, has a mulberry wine birth mark on her face and is a lesbian.  She also lives her life dressed and behaving as a man.  Her father trained her to be an Apothocary and appearing male is the only way that this can be done (both of ther parents are now dead). Her partner in business and adventures is an architect called Will Quartermain whom she thinks doesn't know that she's female. The book is set in London in 1851 and Jem decides to redesign her physic garden, which is where she gets her herbs from, and in doing so unearths a 40 something year old skeleton. The police are not interested in this because it's so old but Jem has to find out and this leads to all sorts of adventures, murder and drug taking. The nightshade of the title is the so called deadly nightshade which is a very poisonous plant, Jem is an expert on poisons,

 

Love this series, I always learn something about medicine and the atmosphere of 19th century London and this was no exception. Poison was the main topic of conversation and it was fascinating. The characters are well drawn, the plot well planned and the prose well written.

 

I'm looking forward to finding out if there is going to be another in this series.

 

Recommended.

 

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