An overgrown English garden veils an ancient chapel hiding secrets of the past.
California winemaker Jamie Gibson has retained Dr. Lawrence Kingston (The Blue Rose, 2005, not reviewed) to restore the gardens at Wickersham Priory, an estate she’s unexpectedly inherited from Major Ryder, a complete stranger to her. Lawrence hires a crew to attack the rampant growth that years of neglect have imposed on the gardens’ original beauty. One of the first discoveries is the chapel, whose well contains some bones and several modern coins. A local historian hearing of the project brings Lawrence some books that trace the history of the family, the gardens and the estate. The house is built on the grounds of an old priory, and there are tales of a secret labyrinth below ground. Lawrence suspects the chapel must have a hidden underground entrance leading to the mansion, but his search yields no results. Jamie, meanwhile, makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with ancient history. But when she’s injured in a car crash, the project foreman is murdered, the books are stolen and a stranger turns up looking for missing paintings, Lawrence feels compelled to continue his research into the past. When he finally finds the entrance to a network of underground passages and rooms, the discovery almost costs him and Jamie their lives.
A clever plot spiced with gardening information and historical detail.