THE MANTRAP GARDEN by John Sherwood

THE MANTRAP GARDEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Pint-sized, silver-haired dynamo Celia Grant, nursery-owner/horticulturist sleuth (Green Trigger Fingers), is back with her unlikely Watson, incredibly handsome head-gardener Bill Wilkins. Persuaded by old friend, 80-ish Graham Harrison, to take his place on the board of trustees for the famous gardens at Monk's Mead, so that ""I can stop being wonderful for my age,"" Celia's first visit leaves her dismayed. The gardens are being vandalized; the gardeners are more like gangsters; owner Mary Lindsay, nee Mortlock, is neurotically disheveled; her bullying husband, Sir Julian Lindsay, strangely indifferent; and their radical daughter Tessa's friend Peter Barton, trying to research his thesis on Mary's brother Anthony, a poet-soldier who died in WW II, gets thrown out of Monk's Mead for his pains. Celia's painstaking research into Anthony's poetry and War Office records slowly uncovers a scandal reverberating into the present, resulting in two murders, an aborted hijacking and a ruinous fire before it's all over. Sherwood has overreached a bit this time out: there's a surfeit of plot that becomes less convincing as it thickens. But there's also suspense, humor, grace of style, and fun--so, all in all, a rich, high-spirited entertainment with extra manna for the gardening enthusiast.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1986
Publisher: Scribners