Day of the Dandelion is journalist Peter Pringle’s first foray into fiction, and this horticulture whodunit has everything an eco-minded, mystery lover could want: murder, a pending agricultural crisis, and a dashing protagonist The world’s food supply is in danger, and scientist-cum–secret agent Arthur Hemmings is the only one who can protect it. Hemmings, a researcher at Kew Gardens and a spy for the British Secret Service, is called on to investigate a theft of maize seeds at an Oxford laboratory. The seeds are at the center of an international race to find and patent a supergene that controls reproduction in plants. The discovery would allow scientists to create perfect crops—ones that clone themselves and generate seeds that retain desired characteristics indefinitely.
The supergene is worth billions of dollars, and an unscrupulous biotech company races against the British and U.S. governments to locate the stolen research and claim ownership. It’s a deadly game that leaves one scientist drowned, another poisoned, and a third, a beautiful Russian woman, missing. The clever, dashing Hemmings relies on his espionage experience to stay one step ahead of his pursuers and to protect those who want the whole world to benefit from the discovery. The chase comes to a head at the World Patent Organization in Switzerland, where Hemmings’s actions determine who will win control of the research.
The first book of a planned series, Day of the Dandelion will leave readers eagerly awaiting another glimpse into this fictional world of international intrigue, romance, and science. Agent Hemmings is sure to cultivate a hearty group of fans — no genetic engineering required.
Story by Alisa Opar. This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2006. This story was added to MNN.com.