In this lush, arcanely brainy literary thriller, American forensics photographer Claire Fleetwood inherits a crumbling, Gothic London estate from a distant English relative — and inherits the dangerous legacy of her mysterious family tree as well. First, Claire helplessly witnesses her friend and neighbor, Sally, being murdered. Then Claire’s long-lost cousin Jack, a coldly handsome biochemist, shows up, inviting her on a Himalayan quest for a fabled, cancer-curing green poppy. On her journey, a 19th-century diary she brings along — not to mention the heroin trade, Jack the Ripper, Victorian botany, and countless other eccentric topics — proves relevant to Sally’s murder. Though this complex, exotic narrative stew can become a bit too rich, Forbes’ dazzling second novel is always vibrant enough to savor.