The Ladies of Garrison Gardens
By Louise Shaffer
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780812968835, 330pp.)
Publication Date: August 29, 2006
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Charles Valley’s legendary dowagers, the three Miss Margarets, have lost one of their own: Peggy Garrison, who married into a huge fortune but was constantly overshadowed by the legacy her husband’s first wife, the great Myrtis Garrison. When Peggy’s will is read, the news of who will take over the Garrison fortune shakes the town to its core. To everyone’s shock, Peggy has left all of the Garrison holdings–the world-famous botanical gardens, the massive resort, and the lovely Garrison “Cottage,” where FDR once visited–to the town’s down-and-out wild child, Laurel Selene McCready.
Laurel was like a daughter to Miss Peggy, but the last thing she wants to do is step into Miss Peggy’s shoes as the wealthiest, most powerful person in town, especially since the Garrison fortune never bought Peggy any happiness. On top of that, when Laurel reluctantly explores her hew home, the storied Garrison Cottage, she discovers that mysteries abound when it comes to the great Miss Myrtis. What clues are hidden in an old suitcase containing a child’s dress and sheet music dating back to the Southern Vaudeville circuit? Who is the elderly woman outside Atlanta who has been keeping track of the Garrison estate’s every development via the Charles Valley Gazette? And how will Laurel avoid the fate of her two predecessors whose secrets have far greater implications than Laurel could ever have imagined? Culminating in an unforgettable sleight of hand, proving that behind every great fortune there is a great crime, The Ladies of Garrison Gardens is as page-turning and irresistible as its predecessor.