Monday, October 01, 2007


"The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills
Selection for Garden Blogger's Book Club

Join the August-September meeting at May Dreams Gardens.

Being a mystery buff and a gardener , it is not often that the two are combined. On occasion a novel is written that speaks to the language of garden design. "The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills is such a story.

Told in 1958 western Europe after the second world war. Think Tuscany,war damaged people and place, gardens,mystery,and a bit of romance.
Cambridge University Professor Crispin Leonard suggests to one of his students, Adam Strickland, that the university would pick up the tab for a summer in Tuscany.Adam would be researching the history of a 300 year old garden at the villa of a friend of the professor's. He could then use the research for his upcoming thesis.

The garden had been designed and the installation overseen by a sixteenth century nobleman in memory of his young wife. After Adam has seen the garden he begins to suspect that there was little grief in the story told by the mysterious placement of statues, grottoes, meandering rills and classical inscriptions within .
It is fun to follow the unraveling of the story of what may have been a double murder in the Docci family's past.Digging into family history Adam befriends Signora Docci, the villa's 70 year old current owner,and is invited to stay at the villa where he has access to the family library.What he uncovers raises suspicions that there are more current mysteries to solve.

I listened to this mystery on CD and I think I would have enjoyed it more with book in hand. So I may pick it up and reread so that the connections between the garden and Dante's Inferno may become more clear.The author makes sense but I can not always understand how Adam Strickland, the mystery solver, sees these things. So I would recommend this book but in hardcopy not audio unless you never have to reread a paragraph or two before you understand what is going on.


Blogger Carol Michel said...

Oh, I have re-read paragraphs to understand all the time, so I would definitely by the book. This one sounds interesting!

Thanks for joining us for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

1/10/07 6:23 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

This book sounds really interesting, Gloria - the author Mark Mills is a new one to me and the historical context is interesting.

Thank you for telling about the Savage Garden.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

2/10/07 8:26 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Annie wrote my thoughts exactly! I'll be seeking out this book soon.

2/10/07 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reviewing this. I stumbled across it on Amazon a few months ago and it perked my interest then but I wasn't sure how much "gardening" was in it. Either way, it sounds like one I should try.

3/10/07 10:28 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Carol, it is a pleasure to read a book then discuss it with others.
The opinions are as entertaining as the books themselves.

Annie, Marks Mills was a new author for me as well. I do not yet know what else he has written.

Entangled, please let me know if you do read this book. I would be interested in what you think. Have you read Helen Humphrey's 'Lost Garden'?

Phillip, Thank you so much for stopping by. What a wonderful garden. I loved the wall...
I have placed your website in my garden Library so that I may spend some time exploring later.

4/10/07 2:06 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

Great review! I'm going to try and get the book. I like older mysteries and the setting for this one sounds lovely. I am planning to read The Lost Garden next year as part of the Celebrate the Author challenge. I've owned it for a while and it looks very appealing.

6/10/07 2:06 PM  

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