2009: 32. Death in the Garden

“Today at half-past two in the afternoon I was acquitted of the murder of my husband.”

Death in the Garden, Elizabeth Ironside

What a great opening line! There are two stories in this mystery novel, one the story of Diana Pollexfen, the beautiful bohemian who, in 1925 was celebrating her 30th birthday when her husband is poisoned.  She is charged with murder (but acquitted - not a spoiler, since you find this out in the first two lines).  Great story.  The other part is set in the present day - it’s the story of Diana’s great niece, Helena, who inherits her estate and finds out this history for the first time (Diana had remarried her uncle, and no one in the family knew anything of this). The novel flips back and forth between the murder unfolding in 1925, and Helena slowly trying to solve the mystery of who really killed George Pollexfen. 

This is the second novel I’ve read by Pollexfen (which is a nom de plum, evidently of the wife of the British Ambassador, so practically a neighbor!) and I liked this much more than first.  First of all, any murder mystery set in 1920’s Britain is awesome.  Secondly the mystery was nice and clever - the characters felt real and three dimensional, and I liked the cutting back and forth between the present and past.  I had a couple of nits to pick - the subplot about Helena’s adulterous relationship added little, but other than that I enjoyed this quite a bit.  Manning has written at least one other mystery - I need to read that one too!

Date/Place Completed:  March 2009; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017