Garden of Secrets Past: An English Garden Mystery (Hardcover)

An English Garden Mystery

By Anthony Eglin

Minotaur Books, 9780312648367, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 16, 2011



Can Lawrence Kingston unearth the key to a deadly secret hidden by a mysterious ancient garden inscription in the newest English Garden Mystery?

Codebreakers have tried for centuries to decipher the enigmatic inscription on a strange monument in the garden at Sturminster Hall, but no one has ever succeeded. When a murder occurs on the garden grounds, the intellectual puzzle becomes all too real, and Dr. Lawrence Kingston--retired professor of botany and reluctant sleuth--is called in to investigate.

Other than a scrap of paper bearing a random sequence of letters found on the victim, the police have no meaningful clues. Convinced that the crime must be linked to the seemingly unbreakable centuries-old code, Kingston begins hunting for clues that will help him unmask the murderer's identity as well as the arcane mystery of the monument. But he quickly finds himself swept along in the dangerous undertow of a centuries' old family conflict and a second murder, by poisoning. What could be so valuable, so important to justify such extreme measures and complex codes to keep sacrosanct for over two centuries?

To unlock the garden's dark secret, Kingston must delve into the brilliant minds of three famous men to fathom what part each may have played in masterminding the riddle: an Admiral hailed as father of Britain's navy, the author of England's most celebrated poem, and Great Britain's first Prime Minister. But as Kingston's investigation into an England's past leads him closer to a killer in the very dangerous present, his own prospects for survival start to look less and less assured.

About the Author

English-born ANTHONY EGLIN spent many years in advertising before defecting to indulge in his passion for gardening. In 1995 he started The Larkspur Company, co-producing a series of bestselling garden videotapes. The same year, he won "Garden Design" magazine's Gold Trowel Award for Best Rose Garden. Author of the internationally popular English Garden Mysteries, including "The Blue Rose," which won France's prestigious "Prix Arsene Lupin" for mystery novel of the year, Eglin is a member of the American Rose Society. Anthony lives with his wife Suzie and tabby cat, Pyewacket, in Sonoma, California."

Praise For Garden of Secrets Past: An English Garden Mystery

Praise for Garden of Secrets Past:

“Engaging… an intricate plot, colorful characters, and vivid descriptions of locales from London to small villages add up to an entertaining read.” –Publishers Weekly

"Lawrence Kingston [is] a bit of a garden-digging Hercule Poirot....  In Garden of Secrets Past, Eglin steps up the mystery several notches with the inclusion of even more shady characters, a secret code and a bit of a love interest for, no longer young, Kingston.... the mystery is top-notch." 

"The master of botanical mysteries."

"The fifth English Garden Mystery (see The Water Lily Cross and The Trial of the Wild Rose) is an entertaining whodunit as the past and the present converge during Kingston’s amateur sleuthing.  The cast is solid in support of the protagonist who is at his best working the enigmatic murder case.  The story line is fast-paced with a fascinating brief afterward explaining the code in further depth.  Gardens of Secret Past is wonderful mystery as events two centuries old still remain relevant."

"A charming English mystery that is well-written and entertaining. RECOMMENDED."

"The combination of gardening with mystery thrown in is a nice change of scenery and will appeal even to those who don’t have a green thumb." --British Weekly 

Praise for The Lost Gardens:

“His is a talent in full bloom.” --Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Lawrence Kingston once again mixes horticulture with crime solving in Eglin’s agreeable second cozy to feature the retired botany’s the plethora of gardening detail that makes this a memorable read.” --Publishers Weekly

“The primary appeal of the Kingston series is its detailed treatment of a subject dear to the hearts of many cozy fans: English gardens.” --Booklist  

Praise for The Blue Rose:

The Blue Rose is one of those amiable mysteries that seek to mildly educate as well as to entertain: Here readers learn something about the history of roses while watching the hero and heroine dodge bullets and pruning shears.” --The Washington Post

“In his excellent debut, Eglin combines just the right amount of horticultural detail with well-drawn characters and absorbing plot.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)