The Sunday Times bestselling Carlisle author pens new book The Botanist

Carlisle author Mike Craven

A Carlisle author has penned his latest book, The Botanist.

Mike Craven, who goes by the pen name MW Craven, will launch the new book at the Old Fire Station in Carlisle on June 1, the venue’s first in-person launch since the pandemic.

The book will be available at Bookends, who will be seeing hardback copies of the thriller.

A book signing will take place at the launch.

The plot

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 of him, 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 de ella appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands de ella, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers de ella 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…


“Rattling along at breakneck speed, the latest Poe and Tilly outing sees the pair tackle not one but a sequence of baffling locked room mysteries. All the series hallmarks are here: a fiendish villain, a twisty chase, and, slap bang in the middle of it all, the monumental figure of Washington Poe, acerbic, unstoppable, and positively rubbing his hands with glee. A sinful treat,” Vaseem Khan, CWA Historical Dagger-winning author of Midnight at Malabar House.

“Mesmerizing, macabre and murderously funny. The Botanist is MW Craven at his sinister best of him. I couldn’t love this series more,” Chris Whitaker, multi-award-winning author of We Begin At The End.

Who is MW Craven?

Multi-award-winning author MW Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at 16, leaving 10 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.

The Puppet Show, the first book in his Cumbria-set Washington Poe series, was published by Little, Brown in 2018 and went on to win the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger in 2019. It has now been translated into 24 languages.

Black Summer, the second in the series, was longlisted for the 2020 Gold Dagger as was book three, The Curator. The fourth in the series, Dead Ground, was published in 2021 and became an instant Sunday Times bestseller.

Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start on June 1. There will be a full bar. Entry is free.

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