Black & White Publishing, part of Bonnier Books UK, has signed Devil’s Breath by Jill Johnson. 

Campbell Brown acquired World English rights for the first two titles in the series from Anna Soler-Pont at Pontas Literary and Film Agency. 

In the first book, Devil’s Breath, we meet Eustacia Rose, a reclusive professor of botanical toxicology living in London with only her extensive collection of poisonous plants for company. She keeps to herself, until the day she hears a scream across the street and cannot resist investigating.

Through her telescope, Eustacia is drawn into the life of her beautiful neighbour, Simone, and the men who visit her. Just as she preserves her secret garden, she feels inexplicably compelled to protect Simone. But when her precious garden is vandalized and someone close to Simone is murdered with a toxin derived from a rare poisonous plant, Eustacia finds herself implicated in the crime and pulled into a world where the people are as toxic as the plants she studies.

A darkly addictive character-driven mystery with a fascinating protagonist reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant, Devil’s Breath will draw you into a world of intrigue that slowly develops into the obsessive.  

Jill Johnson said: “I’m delighted and excited that the brilliant but awkward Professor Eustacia Rose will soon be introduced to the world. I really hope readers fall in love with this quirky character as much as I have and end up rooting for her in her quest to prove her innocence. Thank you Black and White for bringing Eustacia to life!”

Campbell Brown said: “Jill has a very distinct writing style that works so well for the genre. Featuring all the unsettling and enticing qualities for the perfect mystery, she draws us into her world of intrigue and captivating characters. We are thrilled to be adding Devil’s Breath to our fiction list and can’t wait to introduce the world to Professor Eustacia Rose.”

Jill Johnson is a Māori writer based in the U.K, having lived in Southeast Asia, Europe and New Zealand. She moved to London when she was eighteen and the following year opened Gosh! Comics. Alongside this, she and her husband launched a graphic novel publishing company, publishing, amongst others, the work of Alan Moore, Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. Whilst 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 in 2018. 

Devil’s Breath will be published 22 June 2023.