Spotlight: Deadly Botanicals by John Pether

The horticultural market is overwhelmed with beautiful, cheap plants. The scent is strongly hallucinogenic, but genetically engineered to be toxic. Petra Wallace, a botanist, and Julian Bailey, a scientist, detect an extraordinary plot created by the Kingdom of Plants to eliminate mankind. They have to unravel the plot by all the means at their disposal.



Excerpt from the book:

“Deliberate poisoning is now rare, but having listened to Julian I would like to draw your attention to the considerable amount of cyanogenetic glucosides, indeed, hydrocyanic acid itself, that have been detected in many plants. Amygdalin, a potent source of cyanide, is found in bitter almonds from the original wild almond tree, from which a major mutation produced all our edible almonds.

It is also found in many fruit kernels; peach, plum, apricot, cherry, even apple pips. You would have to eat five pounds of apple pips to produce a detectable level of cyanide in the blood.” David obviously thought his last statistic was enormously funny but he only shrugged his shoulders when they failed to laugh. “In the tropics, quite substantial amounts of cyanide are found in cassava which is the sustaining carbohydrate for at least two hundred million people. If cassava is not cooked properly, as much as two hundred and fifty milligrams can be released from a hundred grams of fresh root. A fair number of deaths do sadly occur. And there is a curious paralytic disease of the nervous system that is the result of repeated sub-lethal doses of cyanide. In other words, it is better that you leave the top off the pot and don’t sniff the porridge.” David laughed at his little joke. A self-sufficient man immersed in his science. This time he did not expect his audience to respond.”


“Deadly Botanicals” is currently available in paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US.




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