Monday, June 16, 2014

Poisonous Posies with Duffy Brown

Today we have a guest post from Duffy Brown, author of Pearls and Poison. She's here to tell us all about which of the beautiful flowers blooming in your garden right now are poisonous... Best not to put those in the salad. 

A title like Pearls and Poison doesn’t leave much to the imagination on the murder weapon of choice but the question is how to get the job done.

With a gun you pull the trigger and bam it’s over. With a knife it’s slash and dash, but with poison the possibilities are endless. The big question is, where do you get it? You just don’t walk into Walgreens and ask which aisle has the cyanide. How much do you need? Which ones work the best? What do you mix it in?

So, like I always do when I have a question, I hit the Google and there it was…plants! With Pearls and Poison set in Savannah there are lots and lots of plants year round. All I had to do was pick one, a not so healthy one. Decisions, decisions.


Everyone knows Poinsettia berries are a big no-no but I bet you didn’t know those lovely spring daffodils you adore can cause big problems. You may not die; you’ll just be so sick you wish you were dead. 

I have a whole hedge of oleander in my back yard and one plant could probably wipe out my neighborhood.  Good thing we never used the sticks to roast marshmallows! 


Rhododendron, jasmine azaleas and wisteria, foxglove and columbine are so beautiful, the are the focal point of spring gardens and toxic to extreme. The victim gets deathly ill then a coma and then he kisses his butt goodbye. ( I used one of these in Pearls and Poison)



You can eat dandelions but yew is fatal and has no symptoms you just keel right over. Up one minute dead the next. 

And then there’s Lantana, buttercups, periwinkle Vinci rose and hydrangeas. These are in every summer garden and pot and totally lethal. How can thing be so lovely and so deadly?
Never feed your dogs onions. Chokecherry is death to horses. 

I did a ton of research for Pearls and Poison to get the right poison and figure out how to get the victim…who deserves to die…to drink it. 

When doing this research I was invited to a dinner party and asked to bring ice cream instead of the salad. Gee, I wonder why? 

I had a cleaning lady. All my poisonous plant books along with Deadly Doses, Armed and Dangerous and Intent to Kill were on my desk. She never came back. Life is not easy for a mystery writer.
Angel Trumpet

I just planted an Angel Trumpet in my front yard. It’s one of the most deadly plants on earth but it’s so beautiful. Mine isn’t blooming yet but you can see how it’s going to turn out. Least the deer won’t eat this one.  

Have a wonderful summer, everything’s in bloom and remember to enjoy your flowers...just don’t eat them. 

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the upcoming CyclePath Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island. 


  1. Thanks so much for having me at Mystery Playground, Deb. Nothing more fun than chatting mystery, mayhem and dead bodies.

    1. Duffy - Thank you so much for the wonderful guest post. I love it. The photos are awesome. Of course, I just bought some Lantana for the back yard...

  2. This is so cool and interesting, thank you.

    1. It was fun research…don’t think my kids agree. Wouldn’t let me cook for weeks. ;-)
      Can’t figure if that’s a good thing or a bad one. LOL

  3. As a librarian, Duffy Brown now has a special place in my heart. She researches AND she shares -- what a gal! The book sounds so interesting I think I'll put it on my "to buy" list for the college library. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you soooo much, Pat for the kind words. I appreciate them more than you can imagine. The very best part of writing is the readers. I’ve met many good friends like you along the way. What fun!!

  4. Anyone who posted here and wants a Pearls and Poison tote and goodies, email me your mailing address and I’ll send it along. Thanks for chatting. Have a great weekend