Murder in the Secret Garden (A Book Retreat Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (August 2, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book – ASIN: B01839Q2M4
Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries…
There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett’s classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder.
With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the proper materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library…
I am so excited to be back in Storyton and to wander the beautiful gardens. No cell phones, no computers, no deadlines, a vacation from the rat race surrounded by books, books and more books.
The Medieval Herbalists are guests at Storyton Hall and when one their bodies is found floating down the river Jane and the Finns are on the case. The suspects are many but they are up to weeding out the murderer.
Ellery Adams continues to create stories that surpass the last. The mysteries of the secret garden at Storyton bring us straight back to the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It makes me want to find my old copy and reread it yet again because I am sure there are more correlations the author referenced that I have since forgotten.
We already know what an amazing place Storyton Hall is from the first two books in this series that now we travel the gardens and a very special garden makes the place even more idyllic. I particularly enjoyed the way Jane’s sons, Hemi and Fitz start out hating helping their mother weed the garden but soon become totally invested when a little cash is offered and they start to learn about the plants and get excited about the bounty the gardens produce. Being covered in dirt from head to toe and having so much fun.
In addition to the Steward family’s life at such a wonderful place Adams gives us a fantastic mystery to sink our teeth into. The suspect pool is pretty full but as each one is eliminated Jane feels she is missing something. The motive just doesn’t seem to be what it appears. She keeps digging until all the clues and secrets are revealed and even then she has a couple of loose ends. This was a tough one to figure out. I also still think there is more to the overall Book Retreat Mystery story. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but there is something there.
It is also interesting that Storyton Hall has its own set of investigators, The Finns, staff members who are more than who they appear to be to the guests. They “work” with the police in their own way but they always seek out answers most times before even alerting the authorities. This time part of the crimes happen out of the local jurisdiction and I was a bit surprised there was more fallout from their actions.
This is a series that needs to be read in order to fully enjoy each story. They are also stories to savor and not rush through because this author knows her stuff and drops hints than can appear to be insignificant at first but can be very important as the mystery continues.
I loved my latest retreat to Storyton. I anticipate some excellent visits in the future. I recommend you book your retreat to Storyton as soon as possible and enjoy your little break from the stress of every day life.
To find out more about Ellery and all her books visit her webpage here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”